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Who did this?

2012-07-29


WHO DID THIS?

 
Due to flamenco being a difficult art to teach and to learn I was not willing to give a few hours of classes for starters. I used to say "what can you learn in an hour about flamenco?". 
 
But in 2006 a very good and creative friend of mine convinced me to do so. 
I was going to give a one hour introduction class to a group of 40 participants, aged between 10 and 70!  I asked them to form a circle and i stood in the middle telling them a brief history of flamenco. Then I said I was going to show them a short choreography and that first we had to study its rhythm. Since the students were already quiet shy and generally embarrassed, I did not tend to count already complicated rhythm. Just not to scare them. So I was saying "ta ti ti, ta ti ti, ta ti, ta ti, ta ti" in order to explain the 12 count rhythm in flamenco. But suddenly I had an idea and said "ta-til mi, ta-til mi? Ta-til, ta-til, ta-til"( translated: "Is it vacation, Is it vacation? Yes its, yes it is, yes it is"). There we were! Suddenly EVERYBODY in the class, from the old gentleman to that little boy, everybody had the rhythm in a matter of seconds!!! We were clapping our hands, hitting our feet on the floor to give the accents, singing the "song" and more importantly, smiling! In that short class I could teach the students soleà marcajes and a llamada. I was really amazed.
 
This experience taught me that the best way to teach a new thing is to go through something we already know. It is as if we get a new information using familiar tools, we can learn new and complicated things much faster than we can imagine. I believe the reverse is also true.
 
One year after the above experience, I was preparing my classes in Seville, Spain. I was planning to teach 'Bulerias' to my new students. I again decided to explain the rhythm through a song, this time of course in spanish and this sentence came to my mind: "qué quieres, qué quieres? Nada, nada, nada" (what do you want, what do you want? Nothing, nothing, nothing"). The first half of the Bulerias compas seems as if it's a question and the second half is a response, resolving the first part which stays in the air. That's why I was paying attention that the sentence was a question and response sequence. The class consisted of spanish, italian, swedish, french and british students. Again, ALL the students got the rhythm very fast, and at the end of the three month course period all my students were able to dance the choreography on their own, starting on the correct moment! The only thing is that they wanted me to change the nada (nothing) part to todo (everything) :)
 
Last year I had to give a rhythm class in The Netherlands. This time half of the students are musicians, some are guitarists, some are percussionists. This time I told them the "song" in english : "who did this, who did this, I did, I did, I did". But a strange thing occurred in this class: the non-musician students got the rhythm right away, but the musicians struggled more! I was very surprised at the beginning. I think they put a lot of pressure on themselves knowing they are musicians, so they started to think, instead of feeling the rhythm. I saw the power our mind has on our action once again. Also I believe if we have a lot of theoretical knowledge in a subject, we tend to learn new practical things slower. It's as if thinking too much blocks us.
 
I wish you all beautiful flamenco days!
 
Till next blog next week! Besos  


Technique

2012-07-22


 

TECHNIQUES IN FLAMENCO DANCE
 
In the past the word "technique" in flamenco reminded me of "coldness" or "lack of emotions". But by time I've started to understand that this is not the case.
I believe we may look "cold" in flamenco if we are "thinking" rather than "feeling" while we are performing. And this has nothing to do with our technical level.
 
My knowledge about technique at this moment makes me separate it into two parts:
physical
mental
 
Improving our technique means making our bodies more flexible, our muscles stronger, our footwork faster, our balance better, etc. The technical work is a physical training, where we look at our body in the mirror and correct it in the way we believe it has to behave.
 
But there is another aspect which I call "mental". Because it's about our thinking and the effect our "inner voice" has on us. We call that voice our "chatterbox". This chatterbox is CONSTANTLY at work and unfortunately it is, most of the time, telling us negative things about us. While we dance, when we practice, when we look at ourselves in the mirror, it says things like "I look so fat", "I'm too old for flamenco", "my mother was always saying I don't know how to move my body" and thousands of other phrases like that (or should I say millions?). And we are conditioned to listen to our inner voice and make its sayings real. This is how our mind works.
 
So what I recommend is to be AWARE of this voice and OBSERVE what it is telling you. But don't judge it. Just say "here is my chatterbox again, hello". The most important thing is to observe this voice, be aware of it, because then YOU become the observer and thus you separate yourself from that voice. You are NOT your chatterbox, it is not part of you, it is even not about you. Your inner voice tells you things you've been hearing from your parents, teachers, sybillings, etc in your early childhood. But it only reflects their thoughts and it is not about you at all.
 
I can assure you that just by being aware of your inner voice and your negative thoughts about yourself in flamenco, you already can improve your dancing, you can let your best come out. 
 
Let's dance and let's keep our flamenco passion, thus our life passion, ole!!
 
P.S.: I dedicate this text to my students who complain saying that flamenco is not an art they can practice at home :)
 
Besos a tod@s and see you soon!                                                                                                    


Welcome!

2012-06-25


Hello Dear Flamencos, welcome to my blog! 

In this page i will share with you my adventures, opinions, memories, etc about flamenco. I hope you'll enjoy and benefit from it!

i wish you all beautiful flamenco days, ole!

Asime