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workshops

Seven Essential Flamenco Dance Lessons From Jesús Carmona

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Seven Essential Flamenco Dance Lessons From Jesús Carmona

Read on for my seven biggest takeaways from this month's workshops with flamenco maestro Jesús Carmona followed by a challenge for you.

Jesús is all about working hard, breaking things down, and holding high expectations all while having fun. A true master teacher. He sees everybody and expects maximum effort from all. He worked us HARD during the workshops in Portland. It was truly satisfying to see and feel the progress that we made in just four days. How can something be semi-torturous yet completely wonderful at the same time?

Here are seven pieces of advice from Jesús that will help you become a better flamenco dancer.

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I Don't Want You To Talk To Anybody | The Weekly Letra

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I Don't Want You To Talk To Anybody | The Weekly Letra

Last week we were blown away by Jesús Carmona here in Portland. He gave workshops and put on a last-minute show, Ensayo de Una Vida, which he created and debuted right here in town! I'll tell you more about that later. For now, here's a letra and a video of Jesús dancing at Corral de la Moreria. (Below the video you can see some pictures from our workshops last week.)

Soleá
Popular

No quiero que hables con nadie
Sólo con tu confesor
con tu padre
con tu madre

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How To Get The Most Out of A Flamenco Dance Workshop

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How To Get The Most Out of A Flamenco Dance Workshop

Does the thought of taking a flamenco workshop with a master artist from Spain fill you with excitement or fear? 

If you're anything like me you feel a little bit of both.

Here are some steps you can take before, during, and after a workshop to help manage any overwhelm that comes up:

Before the workshop

1. Decide what you want to get out of it

Set a workshop goal.

Do you want to master the choreography? Improve upon a specific technique? Get inspired? Become a better learner? Implement the teacher's personal styling? Simply have a fun experience?

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How To Learn From A Mistake

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How To Learn From A Mistake

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.

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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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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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I Have Been Going Crazy All This Time... Impressions of a Workshop

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I Have Been Going Crazy All This Time... Impressions of a Workshop

We had FUN with Ricardo.  (If you missed him this time, don't cry, he'll be back...)

What one student had to say

(It really moved me...)

"Thank YOU so much!  I had an amazing time this weekend with you, Ricardo, and everyone at your studio.  I am really just blown away, in so many ways.

Laura I have not danced in at least 4 years.  No exercise, no dancing, nada.  I have been going crazy all this time, with this love inside me, trying to channel it through cante occasionally but most of the time having no outlet.

I have been scared I couldn't make it,

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How to Survive a Flamenco Festival

As most of you know I went to Albuquerque earlier this month to Flamenco Festival Internacional.  Festivals are intense.  Intense can be good, but it can also be, well, fuerte.  Preparation can help. So...

1. Choose a festival hosting artists you want to see and learn from.

Artists I admire = inspiration and motivation.  Sure, I get a bit nervous at the thought of studying with these most amazing artists, but it usually goes away after awhile.

2. Go with a group of people.

You may know them before.  You may not.  You may travel with them.  You may meet up there.  Either way, having a small community within the bigger festival community offers support.  Plus it's just so much more fun with other people.  Think laughter, lots of laughter, therapeutic laughter.

3. Choose your learning tools.

There are many available.... An audio recording device to help you recall the sounds. A notebook for notes and reflections on class. Going over the choreography or tricky steps with another student after or before class. Getting centered and staying present.

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4 Simple Tips to Becoming Better at Flamenco

Ricardo was here this spring...in case you hadn't heard.  He was constantly giving us tips during the workshops.  Many great tips.  I've shared some of them and I'll surely share more.

But perhaps just as helpful were the little phrases I heard him say over and over again.

He didn't really intend them as tips.  They were not things that he carefully considered before sharing with us.  They were more just reactions, spoken in the moment.

And, oh, these little comments had a lot to tell me.

So I want to keep hearing them.

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Before, During, and After

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Before, During, and After

A lot of things go through my head around workshop time, which can drive me kind of crazy. So, to help deal with overwhelm that comes about before, during & after a workshop with a fabulously amazing artist I try to remember that there are certain things I can do to make it easier...

Antes

Think about what I want to get from it.

Remind myself that the teacher is just a regular person, and, if it's someone I'm bringing, that this person is nice. Being nice...a requirement for giving a workshop here. Phew.

Remind myself that this is an amazing and once in a lifetime experience.

Get in flamenco form. [Go to class, practice, stuff like that...]

Durante

Focus on what I'm doing, instead of on how fast others are getting it.

Be there, as fully as I possibly can.

Go through parts that I remember in some way after class. [In my mind, actually doing it, just marking the steps, going over it with a friend...]

Run the steps right before class begins with a friend of by myself.  [All, tricky ones, whichever ones I/we can recall]

Jot down notes to help me during the workshop or to serve as reminders afterit is over. [using words, pictures, numbers]

When I get frustrated, remind myself of why I am doing this.  And that it is about having fun.

Laugh.  

And Breathe.

Y Después

Reflect on what I learned & notice how I grew, what I got from it.

Hold on to what I want to... [The choreography, the essence, one specific move.]

Practice with a friend.

Practice on my own, perhaps with a video.

Palmas workshop with Ricardo López

Palmas workshop with Ricardo López

I don't necessarily do all of the above.  But I know that there are ways to ease the situation.  I know that I have options.  I know that I can pick and choose.

And you, how do you prepare for a workshop?  What do you do afterward?  Let's discuss this, leave a comment.

And, speaking of workshops, Emilio is on his way.  Oléeeee!  And there is still a spot for YOU!

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A Show That Isn't a Show

As you know, one of my most favorite things when taking a workshop is the energy it provides.  It is what led me to start this business.

But the watching is wonderful too.

Because sure, as students we dance, (A LOT, I know, that's what we're there to do) but we are given little private performances as well.  I used to consider these performances a bonus, but now I realize they are part of the deal.

Sometimes I space out.  I get caught up watching and forget that I am in class and am supposed to be participating.  Because there is this incredible dancer right in front of me doing the most amazing things.  Giving mini-performances.  Many of them.  Like these...

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What do you want from it?

Today's post is about flamenco workshops, the different types and the different skills you can gain from different types.

My friend Shyiang from Vancouver has taken LOTS of workshops (even some here in Portland, from Ricardo López)  She told me once that she would usually just learn the choreographies and then let them go.  Her friends would wonder what was wrong with her.  They would ask her how she could justify spending the money without even bothering to remember the choreography, without actually using it later.

The thing is, the experience itself was enough for her.

The experience itself made it worth it.

When attending a workshop, you, the student, get to choose.  You may choose to go home with a funky new piece, or you may just focus on being there, on the dancing and the learning and the soaking up of that flamenco essence in the moment.

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Ricardo's Take

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Ricardo's Take

Today, find out how Ricardo López approaches a flamenco workshop.

As you know, Ricardo is coming, so I thought you might like to get his take on the student's role in a workshop.  And, yes, he himself still enjoys taking workshops. And why wouldn't he?

They are incredibly fun

They provide a chance to study with someone new

And a format for learning new things

No matter your level.

I know that workshops can seem overwhelming at times...

and hard, difícil!  

He knows this too.

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Some things About Ricardo

I want to tell you a good story about Ricardo, in honor of the fact that the schedule for the Immersion is up.  , it's up!

There are many stories running through my brain

But I don't feel like writing any of them right now.

So, I'll just tell you some of the things I enjoy about him being here:

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Festival de Jerez 2011 - Week Two

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Festival de Jerez 2011 - Week Two

March 6 Sunday There is a different energy this week compared to last week.  Is it due to the rain?  - actually closer to the way I remember spring weather in Spain -  Or perhaps it is that some of the excitement has worn off?  Or is it that I am taking classes by myself this week, without any of my compañeras from home.  I was only signed up for one festival course, so I decided to take a tangos workshop from Tatiana Ruíz, the daughter of Chiqui de Jerez.  The girl ought to be a sergeant in the US Army, though I suppose she talks too much for that.  In any case, she worked us hard today and clearly took great pleasure in doing so.  My brain quickly went into overload as I tried to execute the steps at a seemingly impossible pace while at the same time struggling to understand how in the world Tatiana moved her body as she did.  Later that afternoon I headed to my bata de cola class with Alicia Márquez.  It moved slowly, so I was able to get things, but still, how ever do I get this awkward train to cooperate and do what Alicia's does?!  As I walked down the halls of the bodega after class, I poked my head in the various rooms and fantasized that it was my home.

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Festival de Jerez 2011 - Week One

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Festival de Jerez 2011 - Week One

February 26 Saturday Our first day of classes...Nervous as ever to go to Manuel Liñan's class, and I think my nerves were contagious. Sorry, Heather. We were like eager kindergartners on the first day of school arriving 20 minutes early, the first ones there, I don't know if I've ever been the first to arrive. Actually, Manolillo was there and even said hi - we soooo enjoyed class. Went to find the supermarket afterward, and on the way (I hadn't put my jacket on yet; it was warm and we'd just worked hard!) I pass an older woman on the street. Without making eye contact she looks at my clothes and says, "Hija, hace calor pero tampoco para irte así" Haha, I love Spain! Went home to make lunch, rest a bit and review what we'd learned in class. Then off to afternoon class with Marco Flores. Was wonderful to see him again and to thank him in person for the letter of invitation he wrote me to come to the festival. 

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