Often after the Flamenco Tour I travel here and there. To explore, to scout things out for future tours, to visit friends, to see more flamenco... A couple of years ago after the trip ended I headed to Prado del Rey in the Sierra de Cádiz for a few days.
I did not rent a car and instead chose a home base with plenty of trails and places to explore on foot nearby. I spent a lot of time getting lost then finding myself in unintended places. While I look forward to hiking and discovering more of the sierra in the future, I'm very happy with my decision to travel sin coche this time around.
Some people considered the overall experience I had there (and my persistence in certain situations which you'll read about below) to be quite flamenca which makes me want to share this account of my adventures there with you:
Mistakes are an inevitable part of learning and provide us with opportunities to grow. An absence of mistakes means we are not trying. However, repeating the same mistake means we are choosing not to improve.
Today we’ll look at how to learn from a mistake.
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:
I want to share a story with you about how I messed up dancing bulerías last weekend, how it left me feeling not so happy about my dancing, eight important lessons about flamenco (and life) I learned in the process, and how those lessons served me when I applied them to a sticky situation in my life.
So last weekend I took a workshop with Alfonso Cid. He shared bunches of bulerías letras with us (you'll find one below) and gave a very informative introduction to flamenco, with a focus on cante. He had us all singing and doing palmas and even got some of us up dancing.
Toward the end of the workshop someone asked Alfonso to address how to dance bulerías por fiesta, how to dance to the cante. (As you know, this is one of my favorite things.)
Yay! (and Olé).
Some people got up to dance, mess up or not mess up, and learn along the way.
I was one of those people.
And here is what I learned:
Me and the bata de cola.
You could say that there’s really no excuse for me not being able to dance well with the bata.
Because I’ve had several experiences, various opportunities to learn.
I'll tell you about a one of my favorites today, and after the story, I'll tell you why you should study the bata even if you don't ever want to dance with it, and I'll share with you another bata need-to-know.
A [very] brief history of my bata experiences
You know about the first,
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.
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.
I know that workshops can seem overwhelming at times,
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.
~ ¿Por qué? Muchas razónes... body mind challenge, growth, because I can, because I have to for sanity and so much more ~
To connect To challenge To remember To create To shift To celebrate"
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!"
what my body is capable of"
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.