Body percussion for flamenco dance

 Body percussion for Flamenco Dance |

Something that we thought would be fun to take a look at is how flamenco uses the body as a percussive instrument.

José says that body percussion used to be something that only men used in flamenco but in these modern times both men and women use these techniques. 

Most importantly it is lots of fun and can be a great introduction to working with rhythm if you are new to the idea.  

Before we get started a quick health and safety warning. You don't need to hit yourself so hard that you inflict damage but you do need to make a sound. It is best to ease yourself in and not to too much in one day.

I had a class yesterday with José where we worked on one patada por bulerías that was pretty much all percussion and I have the bruises on my legs to show for it so please be careful and don't go overboard.

Today we are going to introduce you to two different patterns and then next week we'll show you how you can incorporate them into a llamada. 

Both of these will seem simple I'm sure but when you start dancing them por bulerías you'll change your mind very quickly!

We are going to start slow and pattern the movements in your body so that they come easier to you when you speed them up later on. 

Both of these patterns are for a rhythmic cycle of three beats.

Pattern 1

We start with one clap (palmas abiertas) on count '1', then to beats on the chest, first with the right hand then with the left hand on counts 'and 2' Then we bring the hands down and beat the right hand on the front of the right leg and then the left hand on the left thigh for counts 'and 3'.

So the rhythm could be counted as '1 and 2 and 3'. Hopefully you recognise this as double time or doble tiempo.

 Flamenco body percussion pattern 1 |

Apologies for the goofy look on my face.

It is important to try and keep the rhythm as even as possible when you practice. 

Also when you do the two beats on your chest, a note for the ladies, make sure you are hitting yourself on your breast bone above your breasts. Any lower will cause some damage which we definitely do not want. 

Here is a video of this pattern. I do it first to the right and then to the left. I find the left side quite challenging being a right handed individual. Which ever side you find challenging make sure you try working on both. 


Pattern 2

This pattern builds on the first one by adding in a extra beat with a golpe. 

Up to count 2 everything is the same and then we have the two beats on our legs followed by a golpe on count three which would be counted as 'and a 3'. Now we are using triple time. 

Now the entire pattern would be counted as '1 and 2 and a 3'.

 Flamenco body percussion pattern 2 |

When you practice see if you can make the 'and a 3' as even as you can.

Here is a video of this pattern. I'm only demonstrating here on the right side but you can practice this on left as well.


Have some fun playing with these and we'll be back next week with a llamada for you!

Renae and José