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juerga

Deepen Your Understanding of Bulerías

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Deepen Your Understanding of Bulerías

You asked me to analyze more videos around here to better understand how flamenco dance works, so today I will deconstruct another bulerías of Pastora Galván. So here is a video (that you’re going to LOVE) followed by a breakdown of each component of the dance and when it happens:

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How To Dance to a Cuplé (Part 5) | The Weekly Letra

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How To Dance to a Cuplé (Part 5) | The Weekly Letra

You've heard many examples of different artists singing cuplés in the previous four posts. Now it's time to see how one dances to a cuplé, and I've got one of the best possible examples for you, Carmen Herrera. Following the video I'll talk about how to dance bulerías to a cuplé then share one of the songs you'll hear and its translation.

Let's begin by watching Carmen as she dances to the singing of father and sons Alfonso Carpio "Mijita," Alfonso Carpio "Mijita Hijo," and José Carpio "Mijita." They are at a juerga at Peña de la Bulería in Jerez. The video is queued to begin where Carmen starts dancing at 4 minutes 30 seconds (though I'm pretty sure you'll want to go back and watch the whole thing at some point.) Today's song begins about five minutes in. The guys share in the singing, and it's kind of impossible not to get excited watching the interplay between them. 

While you watch, notice how Carmen's dancing changes as the song progresses. Notice how she reacts to her three singers and where she puts her remates. Notice when she brings the energy up ...

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The Juerga Cuplé (Part 4) | The Weekly Letra

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The Juerga Cuplé (Part 4) | The Weekly Letra

Today I share with you a video of Manuel Lombo doing his thing at a juerga in Spain. While the previous posts in the flamenco cuplé series have featured more polished videos, this one is completely raw. Not only in its quality but in the nature of the singing. It takes place at a juerga, spontaneous and natural. Manuel begins singing letras then moves to cuplés, with plenty of dancing in-between. He is backed by a chorus of jaleos and palmas that help us to feel the energy in the room. 

But before we watch anything, here are the words to the final song, written by Mexican composer and songwriter Álvaro Carrillo. I love the part of the video where Manuel sings this song. From the collective olés upon hearing his first line, to the crowd joining him in singing at the end to the part where he dances himself off ... 

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How to Improvise in Por Fiesta Flamenco Dances

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How to Improvise in Por Fiesta Flamenco Dances

Improvisation in flamenco. It's not as tricky as you may think.

Today I explain how to improvise in fiesta style flamenco dances.

The truth is, if you follow certain principles, you can improvise no matter what your level. So if you think you're not ready to do this, think again, and read on to find out how.

Improvisation Por Fiesta

In order to 'improvise' when dancing bulerías and tangos, you must understand the structure. And in order to truly have a conversation with the singer and the other musicians, you need to do a bit of improvising. Since flamenco is a conversation between the singer, dancer, guitarist, and palmeros, improvisation is an important skill to develop.

(Plus it's fun.)

But don’t worry,

Improvising por fiesta is not making up a dance from scratch as you go.

It is not coming up with brand new moves in the moment.

It’s actually much easier than that (as long as you know the structure).

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Be Careful With That Cat | Viernes con una Letra

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Be Careful With That Cat | Viernes con una Letra

This is a letra that Zorri sang the other night.

Watching Zorri laugh after singing it was the best, and then hearing him laugh because, well, if you've ever heard his laugh,

It's a laugh that makes you laugh. That on top of the meaning of the letra, let's just say it made for a good laughing session.

Bulerías 
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Ten cuidao con ese gato
que se coma una a una
las sardinitas del plato

Be careful with that cat
because one by one it eats
the little sardines from the plate

We were supposed to go to a tablao that night, but that didn't happen.

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Lessons from First Graders y Más

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Lessons from First Graders y Más

k, so I'm not in Flamenco Land anymore, but here is más o menos what I've been up to in Portland flamenco-wise during the month of June, followed by a little taste of what my friends were busy with in Jerez.

Getting Back to Regular Classes I was beyond excited to begin teaching again, inspired by my time in España and ready to share new insights and material.  And I still feel this way, motivated just being at the studio with friends and students.  There were many cookies in class to celebrate during those first couple of weeks and even fake cava.  Actually, the cookies continued showing up throughout the month.  And about the classes, hmm, Palmas has possibly been my favorite thus far providing the most unsolicited laughter.  We played around with many funky patterns and got into some nice grooves.  I love the collective energy we generate doing this; it just feels so good, and therapeutic.  

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