Forum: Folk / Flamenco

Structure of a typical flamenco class?
By FireSwanmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri May 11, 2007 10:46 AM

I'm supposed to start flamenco classes at the end of this month, and I was just wondering what to expect in terms of class structure. In ballet, for example, we always start with barre then move on to milieu/center and then diagonale/across the floor. Is the structure of the typical intro flamenco class consistent/predictible?

I know this is a strange question, but I'm just one of those people who doesn't like to be surprised. I'm pretty shy and I find that I need to go into dance classes mentally prepared.

Thanks for any replies!

:)

Grace

6 Replies to Structure of a typical flamenco class?

re: Structure of a typical flamenco class?
By glitterfairyPremium member
On Sat May 12, 2007 12:43 AM
My flamenco classes normally start off with castanet exercises. They're reasonably easy with lots of repetitions, designed to build up the actual technique itself (so in this sense, not unlike barre). We'll then go over a series of short exercises and will generally end with a routine we're working on.
re: Structure of a typical flamenco class? (karma: 1)
By Cutesewer
On Sat May 12, 2007 09:03 AM
Edited by Cutesewer (176479) on 2007-05-12 09:04:45
Edited by Cutesewer (176479) on 2007-05-12 09:05:53
Fireswan, it will depend on your teacher. There is not specific curriculum that flamenco teachers follow. Some teacher emphasize footwork others posture, others arms, etc. You need a very open mind to be able to get the maximum benefit of the class. The emphasis will depend on the teachers background and training. To have the flamenco look you need to have good posture and flamenco arms. This will be a good place to start and you can build your style from there.
Cutesewer
re: Structure of a typical flamenco class?
By FireSwanmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat May 12, 2007 01:42 PM
Hmm. Ok, so not nearly as tight of a class stucture as some other dance forms, huh? Well, that'll be interesting!

glitterfairy, what are castanet exercises? Are castanets those little hand cymbals?

cutesewer, come to think of it, every dance form (to a certain extent) depends on what the teacher like to emphasize and their own training backgrounds. I'd never really thought about that too much, but right now I have one ballet teacher who studied the Vaganova (Russian) style, another who studied the Cecchetti (italian) method, and another who studied the Bournonville (Danish) style. All three emphasize different things in terms of technique, style, expression, ports de bras, etc.

Also, is good flamenco posture the same as good ballet posture?

Sorry for relating everything to ballet, but drawing these kinds of connections makes me less nervous about starting a new dance form!

Thanks again for the replies!

:)

Grace
re: Structure of a typical flamenco class? (karma: 1)
By Preludemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat May 12, 2007 03:20 PM
Edited by Prelude (173095) on 2007-05-12 15:23:04 typo
It really does depend on the teacher, all classes will be slightly different. When I took flamenco, we usually started with some slow music to do some arm, back, leg, and ankle stretches - then we would work on our technique and posture.
We would start by just making sure our allingment for raising our arms was correct, and then gradually add in floreo (hand movements), and taconeo (the footwork). After we had that going on, we would gradually raise the tempo to make it more challenging. That would be our 'warm-up', which I would consider to be similar to the barre work of ballet, like glitterfairy said.
After this, we would work on the choreography for our dance - first reviewing what we had done at the last lesson, then adding in the new parts, practicing, practicing, so much practicing, and then we would do the dance from the begining - stopping wherever needed to correct something.
We usually ended the class with an informal dance circle: we'd stand in a circle doing palmas, and someone would jump inside and do something neat for a bit, then we'd switch, etc. Lots of fun.

I would personally consider ballet and flamenco posture to be very different. Now, I've never actually taken ballet, but from what I used to hear my teacher talk about - they are very different. I find flamenco posture looks more...erm, not sure what word to use. Proud, or haughty, maybe? Very core strength, very torso-pulled up, arms behind ears, etc. I think it's one of those things that you need to observe to fully understand, so when you go to your first lesson, you'll probably get what they mean right away :)

Even though ballet and flamenco are different, you'll probably catch on quickly as you already have the dance background. Have fun!
re: Structure of a typical flamenco class? (karma: 1)
By glitterfairyPremium member
On Sun May 13, 2007 01:59 AM
FireSwan -

Actually, in my opinion Flamenco class structure is just as tight as any other danceform, although the structures themselves will differ from teacher to teacher ;)

Castanets are not hand symbals - those hand symbals are actually called 'zills', and are made of metal and used in Middle Eastern danceforms. Castanets are made of wood and kind look like clappers, and are worn on the thumbs.

Flamenco and Ballet posture are similar, and yet different. A lot of professional flamenco dancers have had extensive classical ballet training and this is evident in the stylistic changes over the last few decades, but there are still many big stylistic differences. Whilst there is still an emphasis on pulling "up" through the spine, the flamenco posture is more "arched" - however this is not an arch of the spine (ie pushing butt out) so much as an exaggerated pushing back of the shoulders. Similarly a lot of the arm movements require flexibility in the arm socket as instead of stopping at the 180 degrees like other dance forms, Flamenco arms will go quite far backwards - not just behind the head but even aiming for entirely between the body. It's quite a stretch, but it looks good ;) (if you've done swimming, it's kinda like the Butterfly stroke - the arms and shoulders go way behind).

In terms of legs, Flamenco has some turnout, and you MUST have bent knees because of the stamping.
re: Structure of a typical flamenco class?
By FireSwanmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun May 13, 2007 02:43 PM
All you ddners are such a pool of knowledge! Cutesewer, Prelude, and glitterfairy- thanks so much for helping me to prepare myself in terms of knowing a bit aboiut what to expect. I've watched youtube videos of famous flamenco dancers, but obvioulsy that just gives me an idea of the pinnacle of technique, not what a class is like, so it's great to get somesome "inside knowledge" from you guys :) I can't wait to start flamenco! Still a tad nervous, but incredibly excited, too! :)

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