Bata de Cola
To dance well with a bata de cola (dress with a train) requires strength and skill. Each class focuses on the techniques involved in working with the bata de cola as well as strengthening the specific parts of the body that are required for smooth maneuverability. Introduction of either a mantón or abanico solidifies the lines, balance, coordination, etc. A bata de cola is required for the class.
The bulerías occupy a special and supreme position in the world of flamenco, constantly undergoing change and wide open to spontaneity. The course focuses on dancing to the cante, finding an individual style and building confidence as well as mastering the cues to the guitarist and singer for smooth transition into various segments of the dance with some improvisation.
The cante classes are designed to help students understand the basic structures of various cante forms and to sing them. Singing is a very useful tool for the dancer to understand how to dance to the cante verses. With handouts of verses, discussions and practical exercises, dancers and non-dancers develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the cante's importance in flamenco. Basic knowledge of flamenco dance and Spanish language is an asset.
The castanets are a percussive instrument whose origins date back to the Phoenicians (1000 B.C.). The conservation and development of their use during the XVII century in Spain has made them an essential instrument for Clásico Español. Known as palillos in Andalucía, the castanet course is a pre-requisite for beginner Spanish Classical Dance. A pair of castanets is required for the class.
Spanish Classical Dance involves the use of castanets and is based upon principles of classical ballet imbued with the Iberian temperament making it unique to Spain. Positioning, balance and coordination are strongly emphasized. Spanish Classical Dance ranges from a very balletic style known as escuela bolera danced in soft shoe to a more contemporary style danced in flamenco shoes.
Flamenco year-long classes explore the basic techniques of footwork, arm and hand movements, as well as the cante, rhythm and structure for choreography. A complete choreography is obtained to one palo (rhythm) before exploring another. The Introduction courses introduce several palos to give the student a sampling of flamenco's variety. Various sequences are introduced, but no complete choreography.
Sevillanas is a well-known dance with a set choreography, extremely popular in all of Andalucía, and danced with a partner. Level I introduces the four verses that comprise the dance and level II takes the dancers further in polishing the style and develops more intricate partnering patterns involving more dancers.
Tangos por Fiesta
As in the bulerías class, the objective is to understand the tangos dance form and the interplay between dancer, singer, guitarist and palmas and to improvise using simple steps to build confidence.
Technique classes are ongoing and can be used as drop-in classes. Various techniques used in flamenco dance are examined and strengthened such as turns, footwork, braceo and palmas. Precision and clarity are emphasized.