So what do palmas/hand claps, rhythm, singing and Michael Jackson have to do with Flamenco dance? Everything! (I’ll get to the MJ part soon, bare with me). Forgive me for the rhetorical question and if I’m preaching to the choir. In flamenco the instruments we have at our disposal are the guitar, the cante/voice, the palmas/hand claps our bodies and our shoes….ah yes and the cajon/percussive box, but that came way later. Sounds like a pretty minimalist set up right? It’s always amazed me how just with these elements we can make magic happen — How simple yet how powerful this all is. I’ve always been enamored by the cante, I’ve been singing since I was a little girl and the guitar is the most comforting instrument for me…my dad and all my uncles play the guitar and my mother sings. And rhythm, well I discovered I had that when Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” album came out and when I learned my feet were instruments in tap class and I danced with abandon to the big band song, 42nd street (to this day one of my favorites!)
For me, discovering flamenco was like finding the holy grail. It had all the things I liked put into one — the tap dancing, well kinda, the guitar, the singing and the rhythm of 100 Michael Jacksons.
Although all my classes are infused with these things I am now taking the plunge and opening a class exclusively dedicated to Palmas and Cante. I’m so excited to finally be doing this.
Playing the palmas is the number one way to participate in Flamenco and to support a dancer. Suffice it to say that the majority of the time I’m in stage, I’m not dancing but sitting in my chair playing palmas! In class, we’ll sit or stand in a circle, family/juerga style, and I’ll teach you how to clap out the different rhythms with confidence. You’ll learn the do’s and dont’s and the most popular letras/cantes for the different dance styles. Now you don’t need to be a singer or want to be one to learn this — If you are interested in the dance, this is reason enough to learn the songs because as dancers that’s the most important part! Also you’re not obligated to sing, you can listen, take notes and soak it all in…Flamenco happens through osmosis as well. I came into flamenco singing via dancing…now I’m singing my heart out for other dancers, and I even sang in Sevilla twice this past Spring? Who would’ve thought?? So really you never know where this will lead you. One things for certain, we’ll learn and have fun doing it!
This first session of this class starts on Saturday, August 4, at 3pm in LA. You don’t need any special attire or shoes, just bring yourself and come as you are. For the complete schedule, and how to sign up just email me here or go to my website: https://briseydazarateflamenco.wordpress.com/classes-workshops/
Yours in Flamenco,