Learning and Experiencing Flamenco

Going to see, experience, and learn Flamenco in Madrid, Spain is one of the most surreal opportunities to have. For once, the idea of moving in a lively way with the beats in the music led to a completely different adventure, in comparison to any of the other tours and trips we have had. We may have not moved a lot globally around the map, but we moved the most in one area, the dance studio. All the group meetups felt spiritual in some way as it was a chance to connect with a different culture, Spanish culture, it was magical walking into every experience expecting to be amused and impressed. Each somehow getting more and more exciting as the days went by. However, today is, in my biased opinion, the most fun and spiritual day had to be this Flamenco class. In the other trips, it was mostly on the student to actively listen to a tour guide explain the area or topic, but in Flamenco it was our duty to act within the Spanish culture. Which is, for me, easier than actively listening. In comparison to the other places, dancing Flamenco felt more like an experience than movement like walking or listening, as Flamenco made me move, listen, and then act putting together everything to show myself and others that I understood or actually tried to be in Spanish culture. Walking into the dance studio felt at home, as the place used to be an old stale apartment that became somewhere with life in dance and music. The Flamenco dance teacher was extremely skillful, having forty years of dance under her belt, to the point that watching her dance made you feel entranced by the Flamenco feeling and experience. She truly made it feel more like hearing music and moving to it. The Flamenco dance lesson was also a great way to break past our insecurities about our knowledge about Spain’s culture. As it was easier to feel involved in its culture by listening and moving as Spaniards would move in Flamenco. Even when it felt embarrassing or scary to feel like we were misrepresenting Flamenco, it was so comforting for the Flamenco teacher to not judge us or make fun of us. This just made being a part of this aspect of Spanish culture so much easier and less stressful. The Flamenco lesson we were all taking made it so that we had to learn some basic moves like the one, two, three, and four stomps or the two, three, and four steps or other moves like moving crossed palms into our chest and then over our heads. Then with those moves the students were all expected to apply them in an improvised “dance battle” between two groups. The Flamenco dance instructor encouraged us to act out our most intimidating looks and dance moves, as well as at the end making it so that even if two groups are “feuding” we would all in the end come back together and have a good time dancing or being with each other at peace. It was extremely fun, especially when at one point in the “scenario” we were dancing out, that we made a circle with everyone and had all of us do some sort of dance of any style in the middle of the circle. This lets everyone build on the Spanish culture in Flamenco, adding our little spin to their traditional dance that also does not erase what we had culture wise. Then afterwards a group of students and I decided to travel around to eat at a cafe then to Campo del Moro, the not so visited royal garden or park as we had heard of peacocks there. However, when we got there I asked around to find them and found that Spaniards were so helpful and kind to aid us in our quest, but then they had to give us the news that there was sadly no peacocks at that park. I appreciate their honesty with us and their sympathy as it was a part of the Spanish hospitality. The LGBT streeted named Chueca. Although, on the way there our group decided to go on the metro and what we had realized that we were going on the wrong subway and going the wrong way. This was all because of a courteous citizen who overheard us talking in English about where we wanted to go and helped us by telling us what lines to take and when to take them. It was again so nice to witness the warmth of Spaniards.

        The Comfy Dance Studio