frequently asked questions on flamenco, faqs

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Frequently asked questions

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frequently asked questions on flamenco faqs

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flamenco dance, guitar and song

1. Can anyone learn?

 

Yes, no matter what age, though harder physically when older.

 

2. How long does it take to learn?

 

 

Depends on your ability and dedication. If you start dance from scratch, then several weeks to get an idea, but several years of study and practice to produce a meaningful dance. Guitar is just as hard and the song almost impossible to imitate with authenticity without living a long time in Andalucia from an early age.

 

3. What do I wear?

 

 

For dance, women wear a loose flowing skirt and firm shoes with cuban heels. And guess what - men wear trousers and boots with cuban heels. When you get serious you need to buy the right gear, but you should have say a polka dot scarf or gypsy shirt just to be cool in class.

 

4. Where do I buy the dancewear, shoes, tops, castanets, flamenco guitars...?

 

Many shops specialise in Flamenco, so try your nearest city! Otherwise email flamencoshop.com online service.

 

5. Do I need a guitarist and singer in order to dance Flamenco?

 

 

This is the traditional way to perform, but some flamenco dance is solo, some with singer alone or just guitarist. You can try practising to a cassette or cd to get into the rhythm, but if you get serious go to Spain. Try the summer course in Spain or some private classes.

 

6. What is the distinction between Alegrias and Sevillanas and other rhythms?

 

 

The rhythmic structures and verses are different. Alegrias follows the 12 beat structure but can be full of counter beats to put you off! Sevillanas has a set pattern as a folk dance in 3/4 time. You need a lot of experience to recognise differences. Just try to learn one rhythm and you will find that others have similarities yet differences! Sorry this is hard work, but you can't be cool without trying it out.


7. What is compás?

 

 

The rhythmic structure and a basic requirement of all cool and uncool flamenco. Palmas or handclapping help keep time, but it takes practice.


8. How do you play castanets?

more info: click here

 

The cords tie over the thumbs and the fingers roll against the outer shell...there are two shells (halves) to a pair of castanets for each hand. Usually there are notches in the top to tell you which is higher toned and therefore played in the right hand (if right handed). Complicated eh?! The Spanish call them male and female castanets macho y hembra... (the femaile is higher pitched and does all the work...)

 

9. What is flamenco?

more info: click here

I discuss this elsewhere on this web site. Name dropping is not cool unless you know enough, but since nobody can agree on what flamenco is you might as well bluff away.

 

10. Are the gypsies the true owners of flamenco?

 

Yes and no, depending on how you favour their case. Flamenco is an amalgam of gypsy rhythms and folklore as well as other influences. Try to be vague! Nobody can say for certain, but everyone loves to argue about it.

 

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