Flamenco dance is fiery, exciting, loud, passionate and sensual. It is also incredibly atmospheric – even in a class setting.
It is an ancient art form, borne of traditional music and song, which inspired an improvised dance.
To this day, lots of parts of it are improvised, although set routines now figure more and can therefore be learnt in a class, one step at a time.
And the great news is you don't have to be fit or flexible to hugely enjoy Flamenco dance at a beginners level.
We've seen all ages, shapes and sizes of women do Flamenco dance very effectively – there are no barriers here.
Although, if you have two left feet, you might want to try improving your co-ordination in another dance class first.
a lot to think about in Flamenco dance – including some complex
counting patterns – and someone who is totally new to any type of dance
may find all this a bit too hard.
Apart from that, it is suitable for any women who wants to dance a sensual, evocative, traditional dance.
And as long as you can co-ordinate your feet, the simple fandango routines you'll learn at this level, if they are well taught, can come together very well and have real mood to them.
Even at the very early beginner stages, it's incredibly rewarding – and uplifting.
Clothes for the beginner in a Flamenco dance class don't matter too much, but here are a couple of guidelines.
Try to wear a top that gives your arms plenty of unrestricted movement.
And don't wear trousers that are very long in the leg as a tap or stamp on the floor needs to sound 'clean' and you can't achieve this if you are treading on your hem.
Do give what you wear on your feet a bit of thought though, as sneakers aren't great for this.
Certainly they will protect your feet and legs when you are doing the stamping. But you won't be able to make that distinctive tap noise that is so satisfying.
That noise is so much a part of what you are doing that it is almost pointless doing it without.
The other drawback of sneakers is that you are able to get away with too many mistakes because the teacher can't hear a clear tap from them.
So try to wear solid-soled shoes (not rubber) that produce some sound when you walk on them. It doesn't have to be deafening, just enough for you to hear it clearly.
And smooth soles with enable you to turn easily too.
You'll probably only ever enjoy this class with the right shoes on.
If you really get into your Flamenco dance and want to go to your classes properly kitted out, then a pair of Character Shoes is what you're after.
They look a little like tap shoes, only without the metal tap plates on the toe and heel.
But at the very early stages of learning Flamenco dance, just a good dress shoe is fine.
The Flamenco dance teachers we've found are some of the most patient teachers ever.
As mentioned above, the counting patterns can get complex so it's vital to get yourself a teacher who has patience in abundance.
The Flamenco style is hot and fiery all on its own. If you added to that a shouting, short-tempered teacher, it'd all just be too much.
So look for someone whose explanations you can easily understand and follow.
Most Flamenco teachers we know really do appreciate that you are
going to have to work your head as hard as your body to dance Flamenco
well, so they've usually got clever ways of making the dance moves seem simple and straightforward for the beginner.
As for the other pupils you're likely to see in a Flamenco class?
of all shapes, sizes and ages. This dance does have a very broad
appeal given its traditional roots and also the ability to improvise and
interpret as you wish.
So it's a great class for all women.
And it's especially good at stress-busting.
If a dance studio and all its dances styles were a gymnasium, the Flamenco dance would be the punch bag.
It's fantastic. Colorful, passionate, haughty and strong.
Mastering Flamenco can make you feel as though you can take on the world.
Next, read about Flamenco classes...