‘Baile es Arte’

by leighcburrows

Flamenco class with Marta was my first dance class today and I felt as though I had a mini revelation. That may be a slight exaggeration but it just felt much more natural today and comfortable within my own body. My arms felt more fluid and I felt like I wasn’t trying so hard to work on the coordination of my arms and legs together – it just seemed less work. Marta was explaining ‘Baile es arte’ (Dance is Art) and whenever we perform to her in class we should perform with this passion and feeling that Flamenco requires. It is important to work on embodying these qualities in every class in order for the feeling to become natural and embedded in muscle memory.
Marta also spoke more about the style of Flamenco and how the body should be positioned. The torso remains quite upright with slight lateral bends but the majority of movement is with the arms and legs. Similarly, in recent research, I read that Flamenco is “Technique for all. Art from the waist up. Strength from the waist down” (ESPADA, Rocio, 1997. ‘La Danza Española su aprendizaje y conservación’. España. ISBN 84-85977-65-3. pp:292.)
This quote relates to what Marta says about how Flamenco is an art to be performed but that it requires the legs and trunk to remain strong, as this is the powerhouse for the footwork. She also spoke about the amount of space we use as dancers. It is important in Flamenco to keep steps controlled and within close proximity to you. This helps you to keep the power of the movement and also to have more control of it, rather than over stretching and throwing your movement away. We tried an exercise performing the whole ‘Alegría’ within a strip marked out on the floor to feel how it is to perform in limited space. I found it really useful as I have a tendency to travel my movement and overstep to use more space. I think I have this embedded in me from contemporary class as it is a constant comment for me to ‘travel more’, so I need to remember to change this thought process in Flamenco.