Tips for learn to dance flamenco

 In Flamenco Courses

Flamenco is an intangible art that, although associated with Andalusia, everyone can enjoy, appreciate and learn to dance flamenco.

For many, the feelings and passion that this artistic discipline gives off make them wonder if they really managed to learn to dance flamenco, but do you know that there are a series of steps and movements that are repeated in almost all the styles of flamenco?

This does not mean that it is simple, but with time, patience and perseverance, it is possible to master some of the techniques of the great artists.

The next question is where do I start? The best way to learn to dance flamenco is to start by “listening” to the rhythms, although the most common and complicated in this art form is the 12-beat rhythm. The compás is the one that will determine the flamenco dance and it is nothing more than the division of the beats, made up of accents (more pronounced pulses) and other weaker ones. The artists usually identify the compás almost at the moment they start to hear the guitar or hear the singer’s tone, but you can always help yourself with the palmas (rhythmic clapping) to know which style of flamenco you are going to find.

You can make a simpler sound, marking the accent with a stronger palmada, or dare to use the palmas repiqueteadas, in whose execution two or more people take part and coordinate, each one carrying their own rhythm and forming a compass and a curious sound that is very characteristic of flamenco.

Hence the importance of the figure of the palmero, who usually appears in the flamenco groups and marks the dance with his rhythm, as well as being part of the setting.

You already control the rhythm and the clapping? Perfect! Let’s go with the following elements.

flamenco dance
Antonio Corral, flamenco dancer. Photo: César Jiménez.

Learn to dance flamenco like a professional

Thanks to our online flamenco courses, one of ‘Rumba Flamenca’ and one of ‘Initiation to the Sevillanas’, you will be able to learn to dance flamenco at your own pace and stopping at every step until you perfect it. Our teacher and dancer Marisa Risu, will give you the keys to understand the rhythms, perform the movements and place the feet and hands; everything you need to be able to perform a complete choreography on your own at the end of the video.

Before starting the course, we recommend these tips to learn to dance flamenco like a professional:

  • The braceo: the movement of the arms is one of the most colourful parts and brings fluidity and character to flamenco dance. In each flamenco palo it is performed in one way, but it always follows the same technique: from top to bottom, with circular movements of the wrist and moving the fingers, stretching them.

If you are able to accompany the braceo with the sound of castanets, you are already a professional! Although it is more difficult than it seems, as it requires great coordination.

  • Marking: marking is the movements and steps that the flamenco dancer makes during the singing or while the flamenco guitar is playing. Also known as “dancing the lyrics”, they are usually performed at a specific point, that is, on the spot, without moving. When there is displacement it is known as “paseíllos” or flamenco steps.

During the marking, the strongest rhythms (i.e. accents) are emphasized, following the rhythm that marks the singing, playing or clapping and including braceo, turns and hip movements.

dancing flamenco like a professional
Detail of feet during flamenco show. Photo: César Jiménez
  • Zapateado or zapateo: this is one of the most eagerly awaited parts of a flamenco show. They are based on movements with the feet that, thanks to the heels and the wood, a material that is usually used on flamenco stages, sound percussive, being a part with its own personality within the flamenco dance.

It can be done in certain parts during the performance: for example, in the sevillanas it is done in the third one, in the bulería they are more common, due to the rhythmic and festive character of this one. They can be short moments or be part of a longer combination, which is then called “escobilla.

These are the three most important elements to learn how to dance flamenco, although there are several things to take into account:

  • Get yourself some kind of skirt with flight and/or ruffles. It will give more movement to the dance and you will feel like a real artist.
  • Warm up before you start, stretch your muscles and do some basic exercises. In flamenco dance the whole body is used, so you will feel like you have just taken a training class.
  • Get a good list of flamenco songs that cover different flamenco palos. You will gradually become familiar with the different rhythms and once you have mastered a particular dance, you will be able to dance the entire piece to your favourite song.

And, of course, you must not forget that these techniques are the basis. In order to learn to dance flamenco you have to let yourself be carried away by the beat, feel the music, live this art. Improvisation is one of the most important parts and, once you let go, you start to bring out the flamenco duende inside you.

tips for dancing flamenco
Marisa Risu, flamenco dancer. Photo: César Jiménez .

If you want to learn to dance a complete sequence of a good rumba flamenca or the first of the four parts of the sevillanas, take a look at our online flamenco courses and learn from any corner of the world from the hand of an authentic flamenco dancer. Olé!

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