“Estas cociendo”

by leighcburrows

Yesterday morning I had my first Flamenco class of the week. We revised our phrases and spoke more about the qualities of Flamenco. The movement is sharp and happens at the very last minute of the count which adds to the performance. It is important not to preempt what is next as this would cause you to speed up and become out of time with the music. It is also important to perform with feeling and from your ‘alma’ (soul) because Flamenco is such a passionate and emotional dance. Marta was asking us to imagine that we were always dressed for a performance and that what we were wearing made us feel pretty. This was to help us feel confident and perform with more feeling and assurance, so I will try to hold this image in my head and embody this feeling a little more.
Marta also used more imagery to help us to incorporate the arms with the legs and one that I found really helpful was the imagine of cooking. She was saying that your elbows need to be lifted and the movement is at the wrists as though you are adding ingredients. Your arms never stray to far away from the rest of your body but stay within comfortable range as you don’t want to overstretch when ‘cooking’. It really clicked when Marta was explaining and demonstrating it and it makes my arms feel more natural when moving them now.

In class tonight we worked on the counts in Flamenco. As I mentioned in my first Flamenco post 1 compas (1 bar/phrase) is the counts 1-12. Marta was trying to get us to start listening to the music more and singing the counts, rather than overthinking them and distracting ourselves from the movement. It is important to be able to trust your subconscious and knowing the music and counts can allow us to think less. We use the rhythm ‘Tee Toh Tah’ with the toe coming down on the first ‘Tee’. We practised singing this rhythm to the music with the counts:
1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 6

On the bold numbers you change ‘Teetohtah’ for ‘TahTah’ which is two golpe’s (Stamps of the whole foot) so the movement goes:
Tee        Toh                     Tah
Toe        Heel Down      Other Heel down

It is a little difficult to understand on a written explanation such as this, but when I started to hear the compas in the music and sing the rhythm it helped me to stop concentrating on counts so much and think more about the music. I could hear a rhythm in the music which became clearer the more I listened and became familiar with the tune. It felt like a sudden realisation that helped me to understand counts a lot easier in that moment and I hope to be able to work with singing much more in future lessons.