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How to Jalear

How to Jalear

Although at Ambiente Flamenco we firmly believe that you can dance, play or sing Flamenco no matter where you're from, the reticence that those of us born in non-Latin countries tend to have can sometimes be a hurdle which is difficult to overcome! We've been educated in a society that just doesn't support emotional expression in public... it's considered all just a bit embarrassing to be honest. Unfortunately you're going to have to get over your shyness, because it's SO important to jalear as part of your Flamenco performance ‑ shouting Olé!, Arza! or some such.

While studying in Spain I was preparing for a performance with a group of other dancers from all over the world - France, Israel, Japan, Argentina and of course, Spain. We did a run through in class and our teacher became utterly impatient with us because none of us were using jaleos - all sitting quietly and respectfully while the others danced. As our teacher could so clearly see, a hugely important part of our performance was missing - the interaction among performers. Jaleos are most often used among the artists themselves to encourage each other, to communicate or to pick up the pace. It's a way of showing support and keeping the energy high - the same way as you would cheer along your favorite sports team!

Performing in the UK it's what I missed most - neither my musicians, fellow dancers or audience tended to use jaleos. And to be honest it felt lonely. You're giving your all on stage and you're not getting anything back! It was always a good night when a favorite student of mine from Málaga came along to watch - she had the most upbeat jaleos and wasn't afraid to use them. And I swear I danced better whenever she was around!

The good news is that there is no wrong way to Jalear. Nobody cares what you say as long as it's positive! If you want to jalear in English or your native language, why not? But if you want to use Spanish remember you can visit our Jaleos page to learn about the Jaleos which are most commonly used. So no excuses, get shouting!