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Sorrow in My Soul | The Weekly Letra

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Sorrow in My Soul | The Weekly Letra

When we were in Jerez we spent a lot of time at Tabanco El Pasaje watching flamenco. You can see shows there just about every afternoon and night. Below you can see a video of Juan Loreto dancing soleá por bulerías.

Soleá por Bulerías
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Qué pena tengo en el alma
se murió la madre mía
cuando se anunciaba el alba

What sorrow I feel in my soul
my mother died
when dawn came

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

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Day 4: Dance As If You Were in Class with Mercedes Holiday Challenge

I did something in anticipation of the challenge upon arriving in San Diego,

I told my family about it

You could say it was for accountability, and that may have been part of it, but mainly I was feeling excited. So excited that I had to share.

Often I'll not share these kinds of things with my family or my non-flamenco friends because really, why would they care? 

That's what I'll often think.

But I've noticed something,

They do care.

Because they care about me.

I've noticed that when I'm excited about something they tend to get excited as well. And I've noticed that their excitement about my excitement makes my excitement grow.

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Day 2: Dance As If You Were in Class with Mercedes Holiday Challenge

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Day 2: Dance As If You Were in Class with Mercedes Holiday Challenge

My niece is participating in the challenge with me. In part.

She loves flamenco and started taking regular classes this spring after taking a class with Ricardo in Santa Barbara.

“Do you want to do some of Mercedes’s exercises with me?” I asked her on Christmas Day.

She did.

She knew what to expect as she had sat through her class in Jerez a coupe of times. (My nieces spent some time with me and the group in Spain last spring, and Margot happily, patiently, and voluntarily sat through hours of class with Mercedes.)

“Are we going to do the one with the hands?” she asked me as she stretched her arms out imitating the exercise, this exercise.

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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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An Interview with Marco Flores

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An Interview with Marco Flores

On the wall of her studio Mercedes has a photo of herself with Marco Flores when they were young.  I wish you could see it.   In the interview that follows Marco mentions how they danced together when they were starting out.  They still do.

You'll also find out about how Marco grew up with flamenco in his family, how he began his career, and about his process of creation.  He even shares some direct tips for us as students, though bits of advice can be found in all of his responses.

I originally posted it in 2011 and repost it today after watching snippets of his latest espectáculo from the 2014 Jerez Festival.  Oh how I want to see that show!  Further down you'll see a video of him dancing solo por siguiriyas.

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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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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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A Story about Akiko

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A Story about Akiko

I wrote and posted this story about two years ago.  I was so inspired by Akiko that I wanted to repost it today, with a few adjustments. Today when I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed out about all kinds of things.

Today when I am feeling shut down and scared to perform this weekend, as I so often get.

Today when I need grounding and inspiration.

Today I need to remember Akiko in the springtime in Sanlúcar...

Allow me to tell you a bit about Akiko, one of the many inspiring people I've met during my time here in Jerez.

Not too long ago Akiko began taking classes in Japan from Harumi, an incredibly graceful flamenco dancer from Osaka who básicamente seems to have mastered las bulerías de Jerez.  She even co-teaches with Ana María López at la Peña los Cernícalos when she is in town.

But back to Akiko.  

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Viernes con una Letra | Tarantos

Tonight I heard Felipa la del Moreno sing accompanied by Manuel Valencia on guitar. Wow.

They were at the peña Tío José de Paula in el Barrio Santiago.  This was the second of the three flamenco shows I went to tonight.  So much going on here.  All on the same night.  And kind of all at the same time.  But somehow we still managed to get to all three...

Below is a tarantos she sang tonight.

Tarantos.

Since I was just telling you about how Manuel Liñan danced por tarantos on Wednesday.

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I've Already Learned Something...and I wasn't expecting this

Some good things have happened since my trip began.  And I've already learned something very important. A story and a video of Manuel Liñan dancing.

On Monday I went to the Portland airport.

I befriended the woman standing behind me in the security line who, as it turns out, I already knew.  We talked and I told her about my trip.  She told me it was going to be great even though I was scared that everything would fall apart.  She also told me I would definitely organize more...

On Tuesday I arrived in Madrid.

It was sunny and the sky was blue.  I was in Spain and happy.

Now I am in Jerez.  It is rainy and the sky is grey.  I am still in Spain.  I am still happy.

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Things to Remember Before a Performance

It's almost time to perform, and I'm worrying.  I've felt this way before... But I guess I needn't worry so much.  At least I don't have to get up in front of the whole audience to talk and start crying instead.

Anyway, so I decided to take myself for a walk to the farmer's market to get some fresh flowers.  Only there was no farmer's market because it's Saturday, not Sunday.  Oh yeah.  But it got me out walking.  And a walk is always good for me.   I walked and went through some steps in my head.

Now I'm giving myself encouragement.  I'll be there sharing the stage with people who are wonderful and supportive!

And I'm writing myself some notes, some reminders for tonight and tomorrow.

Here are some things to remember before (and during) a show...

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