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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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Three Things to Remember When Dancing Bulerías

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Three Things to Remember When Dancing Bulerías

I have some more bulerías advice from Ani for you about feeling good today. But first,

Let's talk briefly about steps

Because you learn a lot of steps in in bulerías class.

You could say they are just steps.

To play with.

To practice.

To try out.

To hold on to. (Or to let go of.)

They can even be thought of as tools for understanding how the conversation works.

But going back to the liking them thing...

One day in Jerez

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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 Went to Therapy

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I Went to Therapy

This is about getting therapy accidentally.

Accidentally and without a lot of work.

It's something you can try too.

Here's how it happened for me once...

An excerpt from something I wrote last summer:

Thursday was tough. For various unforeseen reasons. I wanted to just stay home and feel sorry for myself.

But, I didn't.

Well, I did for a bit, but then I made myself go to class with Danica.  

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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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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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It's my Language ~ Perico Navarro, one more interview

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It's my Language ~ Perico Navarro, one more interview

It's the final installment of the interview series with Perico Navarro.  Today he shares some advice for all students, talks about what inspires him, talks about the role of cajón in Jerez, and tells us how he feels about audiences in Jerez and beyond.  You'll also see a video with Mercedes Ruíz dancing to Paco Cepero's guitar with Pedro accompanying.

Inspiration

¿Qué te inspira? Yo como percusionista flamenco siempre voy acompañando algún artista. 

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This One Big Thing

Ok, so there is this one thing I've noticed that really, really, really has a BIG effect on my dancing.  Is it the biggest effect?  I don't know.

But it's big

I know how important it is, yet I still refuse to consistently give it the credit it deserves.

I want to remember to do it.  Or no, not remember, I want to do it even if I don't want to.

You know how much I like stories, so let us begin with a story.

Un cuento

It was a Wednesday much like today, sunny and hot that is.  I was in Jerez.  It was the spring of 2011...

The rest of the story comes in the form of but another excerpt from my journal.

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Congelada

The following post is about fear, about overwhelm, perhaps about stage fright. About Ricardo López's dancing and reaching my lack of motivation.

We've had all week to work on the show.

But I've felt FROZEN.

Congelada.  I've found any excuse not to practice, not to get the help I wanted from Ricardo…  At first I didn't know why.  I just decided I was lazy.

I only went through things in my head.  I know, I know, that's an important way of practicing.

Ricardo is sharp.  He is fast.  He is precise.  He is intense.   He sweats.  He puts it all out there.  I don't understand how he does this.  I don't do this.

And I feel lazy.

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And Then, the Smiles

In the past weeks I've noticed something.  For those of you who've been reading, you know that I am trying to make this year all about noticing.

Anyway, in class I've seen people coming in with all kinds of expressions.

Many people wearing the kind of day, or week, they've had on their faces. Class gets going, and there are concentrated looks, which is exciting.

And then, the smiles.

I've been seeing lots of smiles!  

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Mensajes de Músicos - Messages from Musicians

So Toshi keeps asking me to do these shows with him.  I am considering myself to be very lucky.  And I am considering the rehearsals to be like free concerts, free concerts for meeee! Then today during our rehearsal for Sunday's show at Tupai, I realized the musicians were sending me messages.  Many many messages.  Although I know they weren't meaning to send me messages nor were they aware that they were doing so. Pero los músicos me mandaban mensajes, hoy en el ensayo, muchos mensajes sin saberlo.

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How Bulerías Helps Me Learn How to Learn

So, I've been talking a lot about bulerías over the past several days.  I guess because there is a lot to say, and today shall be no different. For me, doing bulerías is kind of like taking a happy pill.  Simply put, it makes me feel good.  Even when I do it for just five seconds, a quick remate out of the blue, a moment of palmas, stuff like that.

Playfulness.  Perhaps this has something to do with my obsession.  Bulerías is about having a good time.  Who doesn't want this?  And let’s face it, it’s much more fun to watch someone dancing who is having a good time with it.  The energy is contagious, if we’re open to it.  I wonder, if we aren’t enjoying ourselves, are we even really doing bulerías?

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