Forum: Folk / Flamenco

Flamenco
Building up palmas stamina...
By glitterfairyPremium member Comments: 12135, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Sat Nov 03, 2007 06:55 AM

Yeah, so I figured oriflamenca shouldn't be the only one working to keep this forum alive ;)

Like many dancers, I have a relatively weak upper body (except for abdominal muscles). Occasionally whilst giving palmas my upper arms will start to cramp up, which is fine in class but NOT fine for performances where I have to grit my teeth and keep on clapping!

I don't know whether it's a muscle issue (it doesn't happen consistently) or whether I need to stretch my arms out more before dancing. Or maybe I'm tensing my arms up too much?

9 Replies to Building up palmas stamina...

re: Building up palmas stamina...
By oriflamenca Comments: 176, member since Fri Oct 05, 2007
On Mon Nov 05, 2007 07:00 PM
Thanks for helping with my mission to keep the Flamenco forum alive!
As far as the palmas stamina, I am not so sure...
Stretching might help, depending on how much you do normally, you could do more upper body stretches. We normally just do about five minutes upper and five lower warm up in class. I think If you feel yourself tensing up you arms, try to relax and just keep your left arm firm enough so that it dosnt move while doing palmas. If you dont get alot of practice time in with the palmas (like me ;) ) I would recommend that you start practicing a little bit every day. I think that is really the only way to slowly build up your stamina so that you dont have that problem while performing.
re: Building up palmas stamina...
By glitterfairyPremium member Comments: 12135, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Tue Nov 06, 2007 05:23 AM
See, that's the thing that confuses me.

I do practice palmas a lot... perhaps not every day, but several times a week. I teach dance (tap and hiphop) and most of this year have been taking the opportunity to practice my palmas to keep time instead of shouting out the counts of the music.

I can go for a long time doing palmas with no worries. Even in class, I'm fine. Most performances, fine. But the odd performance, everything just freezes up, and I don't understand why. Is it because I'm trying to get more volume? (we perform in a HUGE stadium, and I basically can't hear myself because it's so big, and even though I'm mic-ed up there's no feedback to the performers)

I also wonder whether the performance conditions do something to make me tense up. Normally with palmas I keep my arms 'placed' but still a bit on the softer side to focus on the palmas. When I'm on stage I tend to switch into dancer mode, and tense all arm muscles as tight as they will go. This probably isn't too good for palmas!!!
re: Building up palmas stamina...
By vanitas Comments: 110, member since Sun Nov 25, 2007
On Wed Dec 05, 2007 06:54 AM
Edited by vanitas (188603) on 2007-12-05 06:56:30
Usually when you do palmas during the dance or in the class, just for practice you have different position of arms than palmeros during some performance, becase during the performance the sond is more important than the position of arms
as you can see here, the man in the back, white shirt
www.cestopisy.com . . .

the other thing that might help you is simple excercise... first start in this position (without turnout) www.dkimages.com . . . and do circles, por fuera, following your small finger (repeat for example ten times or more)
www.dkimages.com . . .
than in this position, but keep your legs and feet where they were - together
www.dkimages.com . . .
and finally in this one, again there´s no need to turnout or cross your legs...
and the other way round again... :) down, side, up, side, down... ;)

this is very useful for whole flamenco, but I think that it might help for keeping palmas as well :)
re: Building up palmas stamina...
By LadyKnightPremium member Comments: 60, member since Mon May 30, 2005
On Fri Dec 28, 2007 07:24 AM
when you are performing in a stadium - try using a cajon to maintain the compas for the dancers. It echoes very nicely. (2) One of the dancers here in San Antoniuo, uses a stick to keep compas. It is a specialty number. The stick is like a ballet barre thickness and about 6' tall. (3)also, you may need your own set of small speakers that face the dancers. (4)Another thing you may want to try, if the palmas is to help the other dancers, is to do a basic zapateado with that compas. I hope these ideas help. :)
re: Building up palmas stamina...
By glitterfairyPremium member Comments: 12135, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Fri Dec 28, 2007 07:35 AM
vanitas wrote:

Usually when you do palmas during the dance or in the class, just for practice you have different position of arms than palmeros during some performance, becase during the performance the sond is more important than the position of arms
as you can see here, the man in the back, white shirt
www.cestopisy.com . . .

That's interesting. My flamenco teacher is pretty strict about the placement of the arms during palmas! Although she has encouraged us to do a kind of 'shrugging' thing to loosen up the arm muscles, and that has been helping.

Ladyknight, unfortunately I don't have much of a choice about location/instruments used, but thank you for the advice anyway - I am sure it will come in handy one day! :)
re: Building up palmas stamina...
By vanitas Comments: 110, member since Sun Nov 25, 2007
On Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:14 AM
I think that what is esential is position of hands and fingers when doing palmas, your arms should feel as comfortable as possible because otherwise they´ll hurt like hell after ten minutes. As well they should be relaxed, no stress, the only part that is working are hands. And last thing that is connected to flamenco itself, for example when you´re accompanying some slower dance, on the accents you can (and should) kind of relax your hands to accent the movement and the music, it´s hard to explain but simply watch some real flamenco group and I guess you´ll catch it.

This excercices I suggested is to strenghten your muscles and it will hurt at first :-X but I think it will certainly help...

PS: And the microphone for your hands is qite useful when you want to be heard...
re: Building up palmas stamina...
By glitterfairyPremium member Comments: 12135, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:21 PM
I just had a thought.

I have REALLY small hands (I was small to begin with - then I stopped growing at the age of 12), and it takes quite a bit of effort to make *a* sound let alone a good sound. For example, my teacher uses 3 hands to clap in the 'clara' style, but I need to use 4. It takes a fair bit of effort to emphasise the dominant beats... maybe that's another reason why my arms begin to hurt so early! (don't suppose there are any cures for this though?)
re: Building up palmas stamina...
By vanitas Comments: 110, member since Sun Nov 25, 2007
On Sun Dec 30, 2007 09:50 AM
Well, this could be a problem, but I´m sure that there are many dancers who have small hands like you do... Everything is about practice and strengthening your wrists... Like in irish you have to strengthen your ankles before going en pointe (not really similar, but kind of...)

Good luck with your flamenco and palmas :)
re: Building up palmas stamina...
By glitterfairyPremium member Comments: 12135, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Sun Dec 30, 2007 10:31 AM
True true. I know I need to focus on 'cupping' my hands more to get a more resonant sound. Palmas certainly hurts less now than it did before :)

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