Overwhelm and frustration are common feelings among students of flamenco dance.
There is so much information to absorb.
Not only must you learn how to dance but you are also learning how to be a musician and to do it all with the confidence and swagger of [insert favourite flamenco dancer here].
So, once in a while when every time you try to nail a certain remate or marcaje you might just keep falling flat on your face.
Not literally of course. Although (this is Renae writing) that has happened to me more times than I can count.
There are days when everything is a dream, your body feels good, you are right on the rhythm, you can feel it all in the deepest parts of your body.
Then on other days, maybe you slept badly, or perhaps you’ve been carrying a heavy bag that throws off your posture or you know, no matter what you try it just doesn’t work.
You won’t be get it right every time you practice.
When you try to assimilate anything new your body needs to go through a process to learn the new movement or sensation.
The off days that you experience, the days when it feel like you will never get there, are just as important (if not more important) as the days when you can do everything like a star student.
It is your job as a dancer to give yourself every opportunity to learn and this means giving your brain the opportunity to do its job of creating new neuromuscular connections.
Every time you repeat a pattern of movement, every time you practice at the edge of your comfort zone, every time you realise a mistake you are making and correct yourself you strengthen these connections and lay the foundation for more improvement the next time you practice.
The most important thing to remember when you are feeling frustrated is not to give up.
When you start to feel overwhelmed this is what you should do...
If you are practicing alone, take a break or try a completely different exercise and then when you have forgotten why you were feeling frustrated come back and try again.
If you are in class, just breath and let whatever happens just be. Try not to become attached to the perfect outcome. Mistakes are a part of the process. If you don't get something in this class, you'll have more opportunities to learn and practice again in the future.
To know or gain knowledge of any kind of movement you need to move.
You need to experiment with your body and discover for yourself what you need in order to move in an efficient or in a particular way.
This takes time and patience.
You are not alone in your frustrations, it happens to all of us.
Don’t expect to know everything on the first day, or even after the first year.
Instead revel in the journey that you have embarked on, try everything and relax into knowing that your practice will guide you.
Most importantly don’t give up!
Everyday, as long as you keep working, you are making more progress than you know.