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Be Yourself

Be Yourself

What is your Flamenco style? Eva la Yerbabuena? Sara Baras? Farruquito? We all have our favorite dancers, and we've all thought at one time or other I wish I could dance like him/her. This is a vital part of learning - copying different dancers' styles is extremely important in developing technique and expanding our physical vocabulary.

But don't get carried away... if your only goal is to dance just like somebody else I'm afraid that you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Our bodies are all slightly different and our experiences have all affected us in a myriad of different ways. The moment I first realized this was years ago, the first time I ever did a course with the wonderful Mercedes Ruíz. Physically we couldn't be more different - she is tiny and delicately boned, while I am 6 foot tall and have never considered myself delicate! At the time I'm afraid I wasted the opportunity... I tried to copy her moves, but only succeeded in feeling ungainly and, frankly, silly - it just didn't fit with my body. It wasn't until years later that I noticed that some of those things that I picked up in class with her would come out in my choreographies, unexpectedly, like old friends.

But what had changed? Well, my dancing had matured after years of working with many different teachers, each with a different dance style and way of teaching. Perhaps I had, over the years, become more comfortable in my own skin. The moves that didn't suit me years before suddenly felt right. Why? Because I was dancing them from my own experience and my own physical presence, rather than trying to be a carbon copy of someone so very different from me.

The moment I realized this was the moment that I realized the true depth of Flamenco. It is perhaps unique in that it gives you the opportunity to express yourself, completely and fully, in your own way - but the only way to achieve this is to Be Yourself. Really and truly. Watch yourself in the mirror - do you recognize the dancer you see? Search for your own style and work on it, develop it, perfect it. Borrow from others, feel inspired, but in Flamenco as with everything in life - make every step your own.