Flamenco Dance Steps

Flamenco dancer

Some beginners find picking up Flamenco dance steps easy – others struggle at first.

Don't worry if it doesn't all fall into place the first time – keep trying and soon it will.

Flamenco dance steps are done necessarily fast in order to get that distinctive Spanish sound.

So they need to be broken down as far as they will go – into individual taps of the foot – before you ever have a chance of doing them quickly.

Make sure you're taught and understand the individual components of each dance before trying them out at speed – and don't despair if it doesn't sound like Flamenco straight away.

Far better to be able to do the dance accurately and slowly than get carried away and end up stomping your way through, out of sync with your fellow dancers.

Yep, it's a dance, like tap dancing, where your mistakes won't just be seen, they'll be heard.

So take it slowly to begin with.

Stamp and Tap

Firstly, you'll learn how to do the most important Flamenco dance steps; the stamp and tap.

You'll have to get used to stamping when you are supposed to, but planting the foot to tap it.

That means that a stamp (correctly known as a 'flat') is where you quickly bring the foot down in contact with the floor, with the heel and toe landing on the floor at the same time to create one single loud stamping noise.

To plant a tap, you bring the either the heel or the toe down to the floor to make the sound but do not lift it again – it remains in contact with the floor.

With Flamenco dance steps at the beginner level you'll generally always tap down with the toe first, rather than the heel.

So a basic tap of the foot would be toe-heel, not heel-toe.

You'll also have to differentiate between putting the two different parts of the foot down independently.

That's the heel and the toe (in fact 'toe' usually means the whole ball of the foot in any dancing where tapping is involved).

To help you do this, always keep your weight firmly over your hips so you can really get that contact with the floor.

And make sure that your knees are soft – not 'locked' straight or you'll jar your lower back and legs.

Stitching detail from Flamenco dance skirt

Try out a Beginners Flamenco Step

Using the information above, try to see if you can figure out how to do this very simple, traditional foot step:-

Toe - heel - heel - toe - flat

Did you get it? You should have made a sequence of five sounds.

  • Toe taps down and stays on the ground.
  • Heel taps down.
  • Heel is lifted to tap down again and stays on the floor.
  • Toe (which has remained in contact with the floor during the heel taps) is tapped down and stays down.
  • Whole foot is now in contact with floor, raise, and strike the ground with a flat.

See? Easy.

Flamenco dress detail

Finishing Touches

Once you've been introduced to Flamenco dance steps for the feet, you will also start to add in beautiful, slow hand and arm movements.

These tend to be wide, fluid circles.

And then your teacher will perhaps complete the look of the routine with advice on simple head movements and positions.

Although you do need to concentrate, you'll probably be surprised at how quickly the simple steps that you began with can be woven into a lovely evocative routine that will include variations in tempo, stamps, taps, a simple turn and all the finishing touches with hands, arms and head.

Even at the very early beginners level, learning Flamenco dance steps is an exhilarating experience.

Now you've read our guide to Flamenco dance for beginners, you're ready to join your local class.  Happy dancing!

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