Does the idea of performing scare you to pieces?
You’re not alone.
Here I explore some fear I’ve been experiencing around an upcoming performance and eight steps I’ve taken (that you can take too) to prepare for a show when you don’t have an opportunity to rehearse in advance.
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
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
Today a letra, a video of Rocío Molina dancing guajiras, and four things I do to prepare for a show.
Desde el tacón de la bota
hasta la raíz del pelo
tu figura es pa pintarla
con pinceles de terciopelo
porque viendo tu figura
ay hasta yo pintor me siento
I just returned home from Jerez, and naturally, I'm missing bulerías.
I have a letra to share with you today. It's one that David Lagos sang during our private show there, but before I do, I want to tell you a quick story.
It's one that Julie, a student on the Flamenco Tour, shared with me just before she departed Jerez.
On her last morning there, Julie took a final stroll around the city before she caught her train to Granada. On her way back to the apartments she found herself behind an older couple walking down the street. T
As I mentioned last week, we've been studying caña here in Jerez on the Flamenco Tour (along with bulerías por su puesto). We learned from Mercedes that la caña has six ays (iis) while el polo has five.
For baile, that is.
And there is a set of ays in the middle of the letra and at the end.
For cante, it's more open.
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 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.
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 ...
I told you that today I'd tell you about going to see Estrella Morente in Córdoba. So today I'll share a video of Estrella Morente and a song she sang at the show.
I want to tell you about the end of the show...
when she sang Volver as an encore.
A bit further down in the post you can see a video of her performing it and looking very beautiful.
She does it as a bulerías. I discovered that it was originally a tango, not the flamenco kind, the Argentinian kind, by Carlos Gardel and that the words were written by Alfredo Le Pera.
We'll get to the song in a moment,
But first, about the show in Córdoba.
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.
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...
Today, a bit about Ricardo López and a video of him performing with Compañia Rafaela Carrasco.
Cathy, who lives on the opposite coast, sent me a message. And I wanted to share it with you. It serves as a little reminder of
A couple of weeks ago we had a performance. Abby, Julie, and Kikuyo, three members of the PFE Performance Group took part and danced fabulously, absolutely fabulously. I was so happy to be on stage with them, dancing together, supporting one another. I loved seeing how they each embraced their performance selves because they really truly did. As you may know, I love to interview people, so I asked these lovely dancers some questions. And I thought you might want to hear what they said.
I have this thing in me that shows up a lot, Doubt, which I guess comes from Fear. It keeps me from doing all kinds of things, or has me do things kind-of-sort-of rather than completely. It bothers and annoys me, though I suppose it might have important things to tell me, perhaps it is there for a reason. I don’t usually know why or what it has to tell me, but I’d like to start paying more attention and perhaps find out.
This week, a sevillanas by Lorca.
And look, here's our favorite Ricardo dancing to this very song in a bata de cola in a video dancing with Compañia Rafaela Carrasco.