I've managed to survive about 1.5 flamenco classes now without stepping on myself or anyone else. It's going... well, I think? The teacher says I'm doing "excellently", but Maestra is also Japanese, to the point where I have had to dust off my ability to Japanese-agree with something that is not a 'no' but also bears little resemblance to the thing I suggested, so who knows.

[Side note: The heel thwack in flamenco is called "tacón". Maestra speaks perfectly fluent Spanish -- I can understand a fair amount of it -- but has a middling-heavy accent in both Spanish and English. "Tacón" comes out sounding like タコン, which sounds like it would be a Japanese onomatopoeia word for "the sound made by an octopus banging, or being banged onto, a hard surface". Very distracting.]

Flamenco requires a serious gear shift. There are at least two other styles of dance trying to occupy the same space in my brain.

The song we're using for the performance is a rumba. Usually when I encounter a rumba (song) it's because I'm trying to do the rumba (dance), with another person on a ballroom floor. So far as I know, ballroom dancers are not supposed to make noise with their shoes; there may be an exception out there, as I definitely do not know everything about the topic, but the last time I tried to do a demo, Ye Ballroom Instructor had to tell me to quit clicking my heels. (Well, he told the room. I don't know if he knew it was me.) I'm using character shoes with a Latin heel for the class instead of real (read: expensive) flamenco shoes, and I have to fight the urge to always set my feet down quietly.

I also learned to tap dance as a kid, and the timing is utterly different. Usually in tap, when you stomp on a foot, you also step on it -- you shift your weight like that because you can't really put a tap shoe down quietly, so you might as well make a show of it. In flamenco, you frequently stomp ("a golpe") and then pick the foot right back up again to do something else. So I'm always on the wrong foot, yet again.

Argh. Maybe if I get this, cha-cha will suddenly make sense.

Step one is resisting the urge to start doing Shirley Temples every time I put on those shoes, which happen to have the same kind of heel I used to use for tap dance. It's been over two decades, but my last set of tap shoes were bought when my feet hit that border between girls' and womens' shoe sizes. They were out of my size in the black patent Mary Jane flats, so it was either some weird color, or the heeled ones. I personally find tapping easier in a pair of Latin heels, because the separation between the toe and heel plates is more defined, but I get strange looks for saying that.


Popular posts from this blog

State of the Blogger