The Flamenco dance classes we've seen so far have tended to be on the small side. This is great for the enthusiastic learner. You'll learn quickly and get lots of individual attention from your teacher.
Your teacher will probably aim to build a short, simple but effective routine out of basic steps for you to dance to music.
A lot of the atmosphere of Flamenco relies on the tap or stamp of the feet and the faster the better.
But since true Flamenco is so fast, it is important that your teacher breaks down each step into its most basic parts – into each individual tap.
In good Flamenco dance classes, the teacher will show you the very
basic footwork and get you to practise it over and over again, perhaps
slightly increasing the speed each time.
It may seem to be going too slowly at first, but if you don't get these basics right, once the routine speeds up, your dancing will be a mess.
So be patient and concentrate on each individual movement.
And a good teacher will be giving Spanish translations too, which nicely completes the picture.
You'll have to think a great deal in Flamenco dance – there's a lot to learn here.
This isn't a dance that you just follow along with your brain switched off.
Its roots are in authentic and improvised movements, shapes and expressions that just can't be copied effectively if you are mentally planning what to have for dinner.
To get the most out of this sensuous dance, you must give it your all.
Once you start learning a routine, for example, there'll be more to think about than just doing all the individual steps in order.
You'll have to be aware that you may not be repeating exactly what you do on one foot with the other – there is not a great deal of symmetry in this dance, it is more flowing than that.
The music is counted in six beats which takes a little getting used to if you've done other dance classes which are generally counted in eight beats.
There will be a variety of counting patterns and beats to learn in your Flamenco dance classes. Do be sure to know which one your teacher is using.
The music is fabulous though – loud, jangly, hand clapping, toe tapping stuff.
this point, you'll probably add some hand claps to your routine when
you first dance it to music – it'll all come together very effectively
if the teacher has kept the routine simple enough.
Another trick of good Flamenco dance classes is to learn a variety of speeds within a routine – some fast and others slow.
The slow sections act as a little rest for your brain and feet.
Once you've danced the routine with the feet steps and by hand clapping, you add in the arm movements.
These are big sweeping circles and add the final authenticity to the routine.
It always looks great when this happens and delights beginners who can feel that they have achieved an amazing look.
In some classes, once you are dancing the routine with feet and arm movements, the teacher will split everybody off into pairs so you can dance the routine with one of your class mates.
It's so much more fun dancing
with someone else. And it encourages you to dance to your very best when
you know the person next to you is watching you carefully.
You'll finish your class with a beautiful curtsey, which is a thank you to your teacher.
Flamenco dance classes are energizing and invigorating. You'll feel fantastic.
Next, a few pointers on the steps and moves you might learn...