I’ve just returned from Órgive in Granada, Spain where I was teaching an intensive Flamenco dance course. It was a magical week and I was so inspired by the students who accomplished so much in a relatively short time (approximately 16 hours). It made me realise just what students are capable of when they are away from all the stresses and strains of everyday life and how much more students can absorb when they are learning Flamenco in Spain.
They are drinking in the attitude of pride and confidance that is much more natural in Andalucía and feeling less self concious. The warmth of sunshine is loosening their limbs so that they are flexible and comfortable before they even start their flamenco class. (The Yoga and swimming in their free time was a real bonus on this trip!) They are listening to flamenco music virtually all day, humming it as they lie in the sun, playing palmas as they wait for their lunch, giving eachother flatterring ‘jaleos’ as they interact with eachother ‘¡Hola guapa! (‘Hello gorgeous’ in translation).
Interacting with the Andalucíans is a joy as they laugh together trying to practice steps and communicate through the language barriers and laughing all the way.
Recently, a student of mine in Brighton asked whether I would consider teaching a flamenco dance course in Wales and I could undertsand her reasoning, a beautiful, peaceful location, a spa hotel with delicious food. It really does sound idyllic but there is something about studying flamenco in Spain, particularly Andalucía, which just cannot be beat, especially for beginners. It is more of a flamenco experience than just intensive learning, breathing in the attitude, humour and coquetry with each breath. The feeling of senualtity and power seeping in with the scent of the orange blossom and each warm smile.
Speaking for myself as a teacher who works in the UK and in Spain, I believe every flamenco student should experience Spain at least once to really feel, first hand the essense of what is Flamenco. The exuberance, the emotion and drama, are traits synonimous with the Andalucían people and Flamenco itself, they are intertwined like lovers under moonlight.