5 ways you can practice flamenco dance at home today
Finding time to practice when we are all so busy can be pretty hard. If you are working, looking after a family or studying how do you fit in time to practice? It is enough just to find time to get to class sometimes.
We put our thinking caps on and came up with 5 ways you can practice at home today. You don't need to do all of them of course, pick and choose to suit the time and space you have available.
1. Hand/wrist movement
This is something you can practice anywhere. You should always be working to increase the range of motion of your wrist circles and separate all of your fingers. When ever you remember throughout the day do 5 wrist circles with a lightly clenched fist in each direction and then add the fingers and repeat. you get more points if you can practice with good alignment with arms in first position.
When you practice your arm movements you are not just learning how to move your arms. Think about the alignment of your whole body, from your feet up to your head. How do your arms feel when you move them? Are you holding your arms up from your shoulders or supporting them with your back from underneath? How does your head feel, does it float up above your shoulders or does it feel heavy? Pick some simple movements and check in with your whole body as you work.
Put some music on and practice accompanying with your palmas. This is a listening exercise as much as a palmas exercise, what do you hear when you listen to the song? The basic compás? Some contratiempo? Remates? Don't try to work on everything at once, tune in to one element and really connect with what you are listening to.
Have you ever tried to improvise? If you've ever turned on some music and just got up and danced then you have already started. Instead of jumping around the room like a crazy woman (just me? really?) try instead to improvise some flamenco movement. Not because you will one day walk out on a stage and improvise a whole dance, try it because at some point you will need to pull something out of the bag and it's better to have practiced pulling something out of the bag before you need to do it.
How do you improvise? Listen to the music and pay attention to what you naturally want to do, let your body move and see what happens. If it doesn't work it doesn't matter (it's just you remember!) if it doesn't work you won't do it again and if it does - great! - keep working on that step and see where you can take it.
5. Mark choreography
The 'mark' I'm referring to above is not marcaje (although that is also great to practice at home) but marking out any combinations you have learnt in class that you want to try and keep.
In dance we mark a step by repeating a combination of steps or movements in a simplified form. You are still moving but you might use your body in a slightly different way to represent a more complicated phrase. When dancers do this in class it is generally considered a way to practice while conserving energy however marking is also a useful tool to review a piece of dance without the complications of dancing the combination full out.
Spend some time in your house re-living some combinations that you would like to hold on to. Repeat them mentally as well as physically and once you have the coordination of the step figured out put it to a compás.
These are just 5 ways you can practice at home, there are many more - do you have any practice ideas to share? If so leave them in the comments below, we'd love to hear from you.