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tips from Ani

Bulerías Heart & Soul: An Interview With Ana María López

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Bulerías Heart & Soul: An Interview With Ana María López

What does it feel like to have been the first teacher to some of the most famous flamenco dancers from Jerez?

That's a question I asked Ana María López, one of the most influential flamenco instructors in Jerez, Spain, in the video interview you'll see below.

Sitting down with Ani . . . 

In the interview Ani, as she's affectionately known, talks about how she grew up surrounded by flamenco in the San Miguel neighborhood of Jerez, began studying dance as a little girl, and later grew into one of the most well-known bulerías instructors around. She has been the primary teacher to some of the greatest flamenco dancers working today such as Mercedes Ruíz, Patricia Ibañez, and Carmen Herrera. Naturally, we study bulerías with her during the Flamenco Tour to Jerez. Watch through to the end of the video where you'll see her in the studio demonstrating how to dance bulerías with the cante and feel the joyful essence of Jerez.

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What's a Cuplé? (Part 1) | The Weekly Letra

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What's a Cuplé? (Part 1) | The Weekly Letra

In the first installment of the flamenco cuplé series I'll explain what a cuplé is and show you a video example. But let's begin by looking at this one that Ani sang one day during bulerías class on the Flamenco Tour to Jerez. It was so pretty, so I asked her to tell me the words:

¿Quién se ha llevao mi amor?
¿Quién me ha dejao sin nada?
¿Quién se ha llevao todo el sol
que entraba por mi ventana?

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Quality Before Quantity | The Weekly Letra

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Quality Before Quantity | The Weekly Letra

Today I want to share a bulerías dancing tip with you along with a letra.

Let's start with the tip

When I'm in Jerez on the Flamenco Tours, Ani offers all kinds of quick and dirty tips.

Here's one:

Calidad antes que cantidad.

Quality before quantity

Sometimes it's so enticing. We're exposed to a bunch of cool steps. We can't stand to leave any of them out, so we try to squeeze them all into one pataita. 

And things get sloppy

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Two Take-Aways from Two Days of Class in Jerez

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Two Take-Aways from Two Days of Class in Jerez

I've got two flamenco learning tips to share with you today. One from Mercedes and one from Ani. We're on day two of Flamenco Tour classes, and the classes have been going like this:

Technique with Mercedes in the morning. Bulerías with Ani right after. Then choreography and castanets with Mercedes after lunch and siesta. 

Everybody loves Mercedes. Everybody loves Ani. All is well.

Class with Mercedes

The ladies go in and out of concentrating on the steps and being mesmerized by Mercedes and her magnificence.

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Part 2: How to Simplify Your Bulerías (And Your Life)

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Part 2: How to Simplify Your Bulerías (And Your Life)

This is a story about how doing less in bulerías can serve us well. It's the follow up to the previous post on observation. Read on, and find out how to simplify your bulerías and perhaps even your life a bit too.November 2013, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

She said she was going to show them how to dance on a losa.

Pequeña,

Y por fiesta.

Small,

And party style.

It was Ani who said that. Ana María López. She said it on a Monday morning in Jerez.

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Part 1: Four Dance Tips Learned from Monday Morning Observations

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Part 1: Four Dance Tips Learned from Monday Morning Observations

A story on the value of observation from a past Flamenco Tour (followed by four bulerías take-aways):

Sunday night I was writing

About flamenco and Jerez and what I'm doing here and what I want to learn here.

And I set some intentions for the week.

I had a few.

One was to Observe

To observe people dancing bulerías. Especially people whose dancing I liked. In class and out. Anywhere and everywhere.

To watch them, really watch them. And to notice what was happening.

To notice how they responded to the cante.

To notice how they danced with the compás.

To notice when they did what they did.

To notice the things I liked.

To notice the things that worked.

Maybe even to notice the things I didn't like.

And to notice the things that didn't work.

On Monday morning I went to bulerías class

That was the day Ani taught the ladies about dancing on a floor tile. I'll tell you about that in the next post.

It was also the day she read my mind.

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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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Bulerías de Jerez in Jerez

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Bulerías de Jerez in Jerez

Bulerías doesn’t exist anywhere as it does in Jerez.

It’s just its own thing there

And that's that.

That's why they call it Bulerías de Jerez.

I'm not saying you have to be in Jerez to do bulerías or anything like that.

Not at all.

You can find and do bulerías all over the place.

Nor am I saying you have to be from Jerez to do awesome bulerías.

Not at all.

(Many of you know how Ricardo first got me with his bulerías back in 2006. )

But, anyway, bulerías de Jerez, in Jerez

In Jerez you hear bulerías all over the place.

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How Understanding Green Bananas Will Help You Dance Bulerías

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How Understanding Green Bananas Will Help You Dance Bulerías

I want to tell you about green bananas. Because knowing about green bananas will help you when it's time to dance bulerías. (In Jerez or anywhere really).

And so, a short story from Jerez

Tú vas a comer un plátano verde?

This is what Ani asked Ana.

Ani is Ana María López, the bulerías teacher.

Ana is a student from Russia.

Un plátano verde is a green banana.

You don’t eat a green banana

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Intención

You've heard me talk about Ani and her bulerías class and about bits of wisdom I've learned from her. I want to share another bit today.

It's one of those things she said that sent me scurrying to my notebook.  I didn't think much about it when she said it.  I just knew it was importante and that I wanted to write it down.

Concepts

In bulerías class you learn steps.

But you don't have to do them.

You can.  Or you can do your own.  Or someone else’s.

So, yes, you learn steps.

But you're really there to learn concepts.

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A Green Banana

I told you I'd tell you about green bananas. And so, a short story from Jerez.  A story including yet another tip.

Tú vas a comer un plátano verde?

This is what Ani asked Ana.

Ani is Ana María López, the bulerías teacher.

Ana is a student from Russia.

Un plátano verde is a green banana.

You don’t eat a green banana.

That's what Ani told her.

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A Nod to Jerez, and Bulerías

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A Nod to Jerez, and Bulerías

I've been in Jerez for about a month now.  Kind of immersed in bulerías.  They're everywhere.  And I love them more and more each day.  Really.

So here begins a little series.  A nod to Jerez as I get ready to go.  I'm leaving for Madrid in a few hours...

Un saludo a Jerez como ya me voy.

Because bulerías doesn’t exist anywhere as it does here.  And if it did, it wouldn’t be what it is.

It’s just its own thing here.

And that's that.

I'm not saying you have to be in Jerez to do bulerías or anything like that.  No, no.  I’ll keep dancing them in Portland, of course, because there's no way I can stop.  And we have a lot of fun doing bulerías in Portland, even though it's not the same.  

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