This week’s post comes from guest blogger Cathy Miller, who is studying flamenco dancing in Sevilla
Catch her on Twitter @rdpolibrarian
One of the things I love about flamenco is that every dancer is different. There are common steps and sequences but it’s rare to see them performed in exactly the same way; every dancer has his or her own style.
Most of us start out in flamenco dancing by learning a complete choreography that we perform from start to end. So when you’re finding your feet, how do you put your own spin on things and find your style?
Some things just don’t look the same
Ever seen a teacher demonstrate a step and wonder why you seem to be doing the same thing but it just doesn’t look right in the mirror? Everyone has a different body shape and size, and different physical capabilities. Sometimes what looks good on one person just doesn’t work for the next. This is even more true when learning from someone of the opposite gender. Take the choreography home, pick it apart in front of a mirror, and work out what looks good on you.
Find inspiration around you
Not quite sure about how to move your hands or hold your line of sight? Seek inspiration from around you. I’ve been in classes where we’ve taken turns dancing solo or in groups, and I’ve learnt a lot from watching my fellow classmates perform the choreography. YouTube is also a great source of inspiration. Find artists you like and analyse how they move and what you can learn from them.
Change it up
When you’re dancing set choreographies all the time it’s not surprising that things can get a little rigid. If you have the chance, when you’re practising solo, try setting the steps to a different letra and see if it inspires anything new. Or go through the steps at a slower speed to concentrate more on stylistic body movements. Sometimes looking at choreographies through a new lens like this can help you to interpret steps in a new way.
I often catch myself saying, ‘I like her style’. But developing a style is an ongoing process. How you dance can change and reflect your evolution over time.
Have any Tips?
I’m still searching to define my style, so if you have any tips you can share with me, let me know!