Wednesday, June 02, 2010
June 2010 Activity -- Flamenco Dancing
Flamenco Dancing (with castanets!)
Born 2 Dance Studio
Monday, June 14, 2010
I'll be honest with you -- the studio name was almost a deal breaker for me, being no fan of text message-ese. (Truly, seeing someone write "R U" in lieu of "are you" causes me physical pain.)
Getting past that, I was very excited to try flamenco and get back to my Spanish roots. (You know, since my husband's grandfather came straight from the Old Country I am now Spanish-by-association and am launching a campaign to get the tilde back in our last name. Let's all say it together: Can-YAY-doh.)
Walking into the Andalusia ballroom (that the man who checked me in pronounced as "An-da-loo-SEE-ah" -- god, I love that accent) in the Born 2 Dance Studio, we saw about 10 other women of all ages ready to flamenco. We found out that most had just begun taking lessons, yet most already had their own castanets and special dance shoes. With our castanets borrowed from the teacher, we began a series of warm up exercises that included a lot of wrist movement and hand positioning. Then, we spent a lot of time on castanets...putting them on and clacking out different beat patterns. Castanets rock.
We learned that flamenco music styles are called palos and songs are classified into palos based on a rhythmic pattern. (Our instructor, in her ever-cheerful way, explained that the palos we'd be dancing to had a 12-beat and that we'd be counting by fives on the 12-beat. We quickly realized that 12 is not evenly divisible by five and therefore, were immediately overwhelmed by counting, castanet-ing and stomping all at once.)
She further complicated this by introducing a compas (the rhythmic cycle of a palo) and at first having us stomp on the beat, and then on the contra beat. (It was enough to make our heads feel like they were gonna 'splode, Loo-see.)
Other than a little stomping, we didn't do any actual dancing...it was more about the upper body posture and arm position and castanets. Have I mentioned that castanets rock?
After class, we walked over to Amphora for some food and cervezas. Muy bien!