Flamenco Dance Technique {Flamenco Body}

Flamenco body technique for absolute beginners | www.flamencobites.com
 

Today we are going to look at flamenco body technique for complete beginners. These are some of the basic principles you will need to study as a beginner flamenco dance student.

Engage your weight

The first thing to understand about using the body in flamenco is that you need to have a sense of the weight of your lower body and be able to engage it and let it drop down and build a connection with the floor. Then, in combination with that idea, lift your torso and upper body away from your hips.

This is the dichotomy that exists in the technique of the flamenco body. It is this that allows us to do stunning rhythmical footwork with beautiful upper body movement and expression.

Have a read of this article for more on this topic - Rudiments of flamenco dance {your weight and how to use it}

Posture

Having good posture is important for all dancers and non-dancers. It will allow you greater freedom of movement for the arms, head, torso (turns) and feet for your footwork. It will help to reduce your risk of injury and improve your confidence.

It is a common misconception that flamenco dancers need to dance with a permanent arch in their back. This is in fact very dangerous. There are various postures called 'quiebro' that work the torso in all directions but it is not the starting position.

Instead you should aim the support your upper body by lifting your torso out of your hips, keeping your rib cage closed in front and engaging the muscles of your back to lift your arms rather than using the shoulder and neck muscles. 

Aim to keep your shoulders over your hips (don't lean forward or back) and your neck long with your eyes level. Don't start out by looking down at the floor.

Arm movement

In flamenco dance the arms are always rounded with the elbows lifted.

Although many arm movements are possible, as a beginner you should concentrate on learning basic arm positions and how to maintain your posture and control of your upper body while moving them.

elbows lifted.jpg

Wrist movement

From there you can move on to learning the movement of the wrist. The wrist movements should always be isolated from the movement of the rest of the arm.

Try to make the circle of the wrist as big as you can. Your arm will move a little in response to the wrist circling but really try not to make it a big movement. Remember, keep your elbows lifted at all times. 

Marcaje

Once you have worked on your posture and arm technique you light like to try and move a little.

Marcaje is a basic flamenco movement that means marking the rhythm. Of course there is a lot more to it than that, this is where you really get to dance. 

Below you will see a video of José demonstrating marcaje for the palo of soleá. Pay close attention to the way that José holds his upper body and arms when he moves. You should see everything that we have spoken about until now.

Torso lifted, weight dropped into the ground, arms supported from underneath with elbows lifted, wrists circling independently of the arms.

But! Before you try to learn this marcaje por soleá, we recommend that you start with a marcaje for tangos, the rhythm is much easier for beginners and in this tutorial we have broken the step down for you so you can learn it step by step.

Turns

Flamenco also has a group of turns that require a strong technique. As well as being able to execute the turn you also need to be in compás when you do it. Complete beginners should concentrate on learning flamenco rhythms and building up the basic technique described above before attempting any turns. 

At the moment we don't have any tutorials to share for when you are ready but when we do we will post a note here.


Next up we will take a look at palmas.

Thanks for reading!

Renae & José