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Fifty Life Lessons from Flamenco

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Fifty Life Lessons from Flamenco

During last weekend's Flamenco Retreat at the Oregon Coast (which I'm still on a high from by the way and which you can see pictures of below) we all agreed that flamenco teaches us about life and about ourselves

So, today I share with you fifty life lessons I've gleaned from flamenco.

Fifty Lessons:

(This list is full of links in case you'd like to dive deeper into some of the lessons.)

  1. Listen to your intuition, and trust your instincts.
  2. Express your true feelings
  3. Be present.
  4. Stand beautifully in your power.
  5. Prepare. (Really prepare.)
  6. Take risks.
  7. Focus.
  8. Act with intention.
  9. The answers are in the mirror, so look.
  10. Show up.

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How This Mom Finds Time for Flamenco

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How This Mom Finds Time for Flamenco

Today I'm going to share with you one mom's strategy for improving her dancing from home. It's something you can employ as well. (And trust me, if this busy mom can do it, so can you.) I lay out a simple 4-step process for you at the end of this post, but first, I want to introduce you to Katerina ...

I have a new student.

Her name is Katerina. Katerina had been wanting to learn flamenco for a long time. A few weeks ago she decided it was finally time and signed up for private lessons. 

During Katerina's second class I was impressed with how much she'd improved from her first session. The moves she'd been so unsure about before she now danced in sequence with no help from me.

That's when she told me about her routine...

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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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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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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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11 Things I Accidentally Learned during rehearsal. Again

I was rehearsing with Kuma the other day  when I accidentally learned a bunch of lessons. All lessons that I'd learned before, as so often is the case.

He was playing cajón.  I was dancing.  And not long into things, the re-noticings started coming.  One after another.  I had to keep running over to my phone to write them down. Because I was so excited.  And because I didn't want to forget.

After awhile, on account of one of the noticings, I realized it was time to stop running away from our practice to write them down.

This was important.  

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How to turn the Wrong Class into the Right Class

Ok, so here's the part two to yesterday's post that I promised you.  Where I tell you how to turn any class into an ideal class for you. Because 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.

Basically there are two main concepts we need to understand, one to make class harder and another to make it easier.  But before we get to those, some specific ideas on how to make the most out of whatever class you find yourself in.

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The Discovery

The other day I made a great discovery.  (I'll tell you about it in a minute.) But first I want to talk about noticing, something I did a lot of last year.  It helps me to focus.  It teaches me all kinds of things.  And I intend to keep it up.

At times I record the noticings in little books.  At times I share them with others, like you.  At times they just stay in my cabeza.  Other times in my cuerpo.

Noticing is good.

It shows me stuff.  Like tendencies to rush, to stop listening, to leave my body.

It tells me what I need to work on.

It points out when I’m enjoying myself and when I’m not, to what factors into that, and how certain things feel.

It teaches me about how I like to create, about environments I work best in, about how I like to dance, why I like to dance, and who I like to dance with.

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Intuition and How Flamenco Makes it Stronger

I've told you before about how much I learn from flamenco. And I don't mean how much I learn about flamenco. Naturally I learn a lot about flamenco. But I'm talking about other things. Flamenco has kind of become one of my mentors.

Sí, un mentor para mí.

Trust

I have some issues when it comes to following my intuition.

I want to hear it. I want to trust it. I want to act on it.

If only it were that easy.

Fortunately flamenco has a lot to tell me about that.

Bulerías especially. Because with bulerías there are certain things I need to do. And as it turns out, these things also assist me in going with my gut.

Be there completely

Focus and attune to what is happening with the palmas, guitar, cante, jaleos. Be there, truly be there.

Be Present

Listen a lot

To the compás. To the guitar. To the palmas. To the cante. When I'm dancing and when I'm not. Listen and really get to know it.

Listen

Allow what needs to happen to happen

I must let myself feel the music. And let myself feel whatever I'm feeling.

Allow

Respond to what I hear in a way that feels right to me

Follow what's happening with the music. Respond to the signals I pick up on. When the singer resolves, let my body reflect that.

Act

Flamenco requires trust. If I don't trust while dancing, well, then, I’m only kind of sort of doing it.  And, by the way, I still find myself there often. But, it's okay. Because each time I do and notice and reflect on it, I learn something about myself.

Your thoughts? I'd love to hear them. You can leave a comment.

The next bulerías series begins this Saturday.  All of the info is here.

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We Notice and We Practice

And we notice while practicing.  I know that in order to improve, practice is necessary, but paying attention and noticing are equally importante.  The importance of focus, something I'm not always so good at doing... So everybody is talking about New Year's resolutions right now.  I don't really remember having made any for the past several years.  Perhaps this is because I haven't followed through and have forgotten them.  Perhaps it is because I have in the past made big huge resolutions without keeping them.  Perhaps it is because I'm so busy making little resolutions all year-round.   No importa.  This year I actually decided upon a New Year's resolution back in September or October or something.  I didn't really mean to.  It just came to me.  Something I wanted to do...but didn't feel quite ready for.

Since then I have declared my resolution to certain people and have been preparing for it.  And now I feel ready to commit.

Because I've given myself some time to practice.

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