Clap your hands! That is, if you can…

A few thoughts after tonight’s class …

Flamenco has a way of making you painfully aware of the rhythmic deficiencies you didn’t know you had. For instance, I thought I knew how to count to 12 and clap my hands. Apparently I don’t.

But I’m not whining or throwing in my sweaty towel. The Thursday night cuadro skills class is perfect for me. In addition to the advanced technique I’m learning, it’s just the ass-kicking I need to overcome my insecurities and that little bit of shyness, and learn to command the stage and support everyone in the cuadro. I’ve learned that flamenco is never a solo gig. When the spotlight isn’t on you, your job is to play palmas and give jaleo and continue to engage in the performance.

Tonight I also learned that banging your left and right hands together repeatedly does not necessarily create a proper clap. When my teacher attempted to correct my form, I tried unsuccessfully to cup or flatten my palms to make the right sounds. It was like my hands had momentarily turned into floppy oven mitts. I can’t even clap? Really?!

And the footwork. Ugh. Let’s just say my build-up needs building up. I know the step, I can do it OK if we all do it together, and then the minute I try to do it alone, I trip myself up. Gradually increasing the speed at which your feet are moving takes control, yes, but I think I still get spooked by the sound. As my feet get louder, I suddenly get scared that I’m going to lose the beat — and then, of course, I do.

And the quebrada turns … let’s not even go there. That’s a whole nother post. Oh, the shame.

So I left class feeling uncoordinated. I’ve been feeling like that a lot lately but I think it’s partly because I’m in a weird transitional phase and trying to reach the next level. But I don’t feel defeated. I feel motivated. I can’t wait till next Thursday!


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