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flamenco dancing

Today I Want To See You | The Weekly Letra

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Today I Want To See You | The Weekly Letra

Today a bulerías by Luis de la Pica along with a video and a rhythm and coordination activity for you to do from home.

Bulerías                
Luis de la Pica

Hoy tengo ganas de verte   
echo de menos tus labios                            
del color del pino verde

Today I want to see you
I miss your lips                 
the color of green pine

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Four Ways To Improve Your Flamenco Class Experience

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Four Ways To Improve Your Flamenco Class Experience

There's going to class. And then there's going to class and getting the most out of it. Today I'm going to talk about the latter, about how to get the most out of your flamenco class (or workshop) experience.

Ricardo López is constantly giving us tips when he comes in town for workshops. Perhaps just as helpful are little phrases I hear him say over and over again in class. He doesn't really intend them as tips. They are reactions, spoken in the moment. But, oh, these little comments have a lot to tell us.

So, here you go, four comments from Ricardo and four pieces of advice gleaned from them:

ONE

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How to Dance to the Cante

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How to Dance to the Cante

Dancing to the cante. It is what every dancer from Jerez does, professional or non.

It is the dancer conversing with the singer.

In order to dance to the cante,

You must become familiar with the letras (song verses) and engage with the singer when dancing.

To gain familiarity with the letras:

1. Listen a lot.

2. Take a cante class, and study the letras.

To engage with the singer when dancing:

1. Observe what other good dancers do. (Hint: Notice the way Carmen responds to José in the video.)

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Day 3: How to Up Your Flamenco Game From the Comfort of Your Own Home

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Day 3: How to Up Your Flamenco Game From the Comfort of Your Own Home

Woo-hoo, you’ve made it to day three of the Dancing with David Even Though We’re Not With David Challenge! Today's task won't take long, so read on to find a new exercise to help you become a better dancer from home . . .

Learning by observation is one of my favorite ways to learn, and I've learned quite a bit from observing David Romero, noticing both how he dances and how he approaches dancing and teaching.

Today we're going to focus on the approach.

Presence

David gives 100% (if not more) when teaching.

He, the teacher, is there with you, the student, completely.

Which inspires you to be there with him. And to give all that you have to give during those moments.

Sooooo, when you’re in the studio,

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Day 2: Improve Your Dancing From Home With the Dancing With David Mini-Challenge

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Day 2: Improve Your Dancing From Home With the Dancing With David Mini-Challenge

Today I'm going to share with you a fun exercise (one of my personal favorites) that will help you to become a better dancer from the comfort of your own home. Yesterday we addressed the idea of looking in the mirror and how we need to look at what’s being reflected back to us in order to know what to change.

Today we’re going to go deeper,

Today we’re going micro,

Today we’re going to talk details

But before we do, I want you to take a moment to remember your why.

Got it in your cabeza?

Good.

Now, no matter what your purpose,

Details matter.

Flamenco has a certain aesthetic, and although there is plenty of room for personal style and preference, we must strive to remain true to the aesthetic of this art form.

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How to Keep the Challenge Going in the New Year

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How to Keep the Challenge Going in the New Year

I enjoyed spending the last week of the year with you during the Dance as if You Were in Class With Mercedes Holiday Challenge. Today I share with you one small way you can keep the challenge going (along with a video of Mercedes Ruíz) ...

Great artists tell me

that they spend enormous amounts of time watching those they admire.

Studying their every move and learning by observation.

So, I invite you to enjoy some time observing one of your favorite artists this week.

And since we've been focusing on Mercedes:

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Day 5: Dance As If You Were in Class with Mercedes Holiday Challenge

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Day 5: Dance As If You Were in Class with Mercedes Holiday Challenge

Only two days left of the challenge? I kind of can't believe how quickly it's going by...

Squeezing it in

I mentioned yesterday that I had an idea for squeezing in an exercise when you're feeling that there is no time.

Because there is time.

Let me tell you about how I brush my teeth.

Normally I do tree pose without arms when brushing my teeth. I did yoga long before I started flamenco, and tree pose has always been a favorite of mine.

But sometimes I’ll substitute a flamenco exercise, a marcaje or something for the hips.

During the challenge I’ve been doing an exercise from Mercedes when it's time to brush my teeth.

In the morning, at night, and during any brushings in-between.

That's more than four minutes of exercise time right there.

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Day 1 of the Dance As If You Were in Class with Mercedes Holiday Challenge

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Day 1 of the Dance As If You Were in Class with Mercedes Holiday Challenge

Day one has arrived, and the Holiday Challenge begins!

What it consists of

Each day for the next seven days I plan to:

  1. Do a few of my favorite Mercedes body technique exercises.
  2. Run one of her choreographies.
  3. Imagine Mercedes talking, giving me feedback.

If you’ve never studied with Mercedes, sin problema. No problem. You can still participate in the challenge. Just substitute another teacher for Mercedes, and do same three tasks using material from that teacher.

Make it work for you.

Now let’s get more specific about the daily activities

There are basically two “tasks.”

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How I Disappointed Ricardo + Three Important Dance Tips from Him

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How I Disappointed Ricardo + Three Important Dance Tips from Him

Ricardo is here, and I’m already disappointing him. He arrived on Tuesday, and it didn’t take long.

I’ll tell you about the desilusión and share three dance tips (Ricardo López) from his class last night. Three tips that are important to keep in mind at all times.

First, the disappointment

There’s really a lot of me feeling disappointed with myself going on.

Why didn’t I study before he came?

Why didn’t I make it a point to remember things he’d taught me in the past?

Why don’t I just pick things up quickly and do them well right away?

Why haven’t I been working on my technique more?

It started on Tuesday when he arrived.

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Matilde Coral and My First Experience with a Bata de Cola (& a very important Tip)

People are often asking me about my how I got started with flamenco, about my first experiences.  And awhile back I told you I’d tell you some stories from that first year in Spain. So I’m going to tell you a story from that time today.  At the end of the story you’ll find a tip on dancing with the bata de cola, it's an essential, and you can work on it anywhere, in the bathroom, in the bedroom ...

But first, Spain

Telling you about my first year in Spain means I have to talk about Matilde Coral.

Porque es una figura.

I didn’t know it then, but my exposure to Matilde and her way of dancing would end up being kind of huge for me.  Yesterday I had a big realization about the significance of her academy having been the first flamenco school I was sent to in Sevilla.

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Why She Starts Class in the Back of the Room

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Why She Starts Class in the Back of the Room

Evelyn likes being in the back of the room. In the back where she thinks she can hide.

In the back where it feels safe.

Evelyn is a student and a reader here.  I wish you could meet her.

She sent us an email, Evelyn did.  She wrote it in response to this.

I wanted to share it with you immediately upon reading it.

She talked about wanting to hide in the back of the class.  Even wanting to leave.  About feeling stupid.  And about feeling afraid.

I knew these thoughts she spoke of

As a fellow fearful stay-in-the-back-of-the-classer, I knew these thoughts.

I figured you might know them too, so I asked her if I could share her words with you.  And she said yes.

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Part 1: How to Make Class (& Life) Easier When You Feel Like You Have No Idea What You're Doing

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Part 1: How to Make Class (& Life) Easier When You Feel Like You Have No Idea What You're Doing

Sometimes class feels too easy.  And other times it feels too hard.

I've been in both situations.

And here's what I've discovered

When class feels too easy, it's usually because I've got my lazy pants on. No seas floja, Laura.

When class feels too difficult, it's usually because hard-on-myself me has taken over. Tranquila, Chiquilla. 

We can get a lot or a little out of class

And it's really up to us.

I mean it.

There is basically one main concept to understand to help us get the most of any class.

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How I Overcame my Fear of Bulerías (and why I used to hate this dance)

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How I Overcame my Fear of Bulerías (and why I used to hate this dance)

My main obstacle to bulerías has always been fear.

Not trusting my instincts.

It's no different from my main obstacle in life

I know indecision well. 

No wonder bulerías has always been so hard for me,

Not enough trust.

In a moment I'll tell you how I've let go of a lot of my bulerías fears (and how you can do the same).

Because the truth is, now I kind of can't get enough of bulerías.

It is not that the fear has been eradicated, it's that the excitement and fun usually slide it over to the side now.  Gracias excitement and fun.

But before I get into any fear eradication techniques, let me give you a bit of background:

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Nine Things To Do Before You Perform

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Nine Things To Do Before You Perform

People are feeling nervous.

Nervous and anxious about the Student Showcase on Saturday.

I know this feeling.  Well.

So I thought I'd repost these tips today, performance tips.

Whether you're performing in front of your friends in class,

at a show in front of the public,

or even just in your own bedroom in front of your cat,

There are things we can do to ease our nerves ...

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Three Ways to Find Success in a Flamenco Workshop

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Three Ways to Find Success in a Flamenco Workshop

I know that workshops can seem overwhelming at times,

and hard.

Difícil.  

Ricardo López, one of my favorite guys ever, knows this too.

And yes, even though he is a professional dancer who travels the world performing with people like Rafaela Carrasco, he still enjoys studying and taking cursillos.

So I want to share with you three suggestions from Ricardo that we can use in class.  

And after that I'll talk about how his tips can help us outside of the studio as well.

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Figure it Out ... ( figuridout )

"I'll figure it out." Ricardo hears that a lot when he comes to Portland.

Over and over again he hears it.  Namely in rehearsals.

Probably because there is always A LOT to figure out.

MUCHO.

"We'll figure it out."

He became kind of obsessed with the phrase on a past visit.  I said it many times.  Perhaps because I felt so overwhelmed.

When I wasn't saying it he'd ask me to remind him how to say it.

And then one night he asked how to spell it,

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I wondered why

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I wondered why

¿Por qué?  Muchas razónes... body mind challenge, growth, because I can, because I have to for sanity and so much more ~

"Why?

To connect To challenge To remember To create To shift To celebrate"

"Flamenco

asks me again and again to look inward. Through messing up, experimenting, and figuring out THAT step or THAT turn, I learn new things about myself.  It's visceral.  AND it's fun!"

"To see

what my body is capable of"

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