"The novelty is the sensitivity of the artist." - Azorin
Spain is one of the most popular holidays destinations for Britons! Sun, sea, tapas but also flamenco: that's what you can expect in the land of the sun.
Here's an overview of this muy caliente dance!
What are the Styles of Spanish Dancing?
Spanish dances are renowned for the variety of styles that suit everyone's taste!
In general, dancers from Spain say that there isn't just one genre of Spanish dance, but rather a multitude of options. Regardless of the student's preferences, anyone can take part in this form of artistic expression which is so widely celebrated around the world.
Here is a short list of the most popular styles of Spanish dance:
- Paso doble,
The budding dancer can also learn traditional dances from specific regions of Spain: the Jota Aragonesa dance from northern Spain, Sevillana from the Seville region and the Zambra dance from Granada, Andalusia.
Be careful not to confuse Spanish dances and the Latin dances!
Indeed, Latin dances originate from Hispanic countries. For example, Cuban salsa or the Argentine tango is specific to those countries. Studying Spanish dance not only enables you to learn more about Mediterranean music, but also to integrate some dance steps from some Latin American dances.
Students, in order to choose the appropriate dance style, need to take into account their abilities as a dancer. While someone wanting to utilise their sensuality should opt for flamenco, someone longing to use their talents as a musician should go for castanet dance.
In short, when it comes to Spanish dances, you have a wide range to choose from!
In the US, you have country dance or Madison dance to choose from.
Choose a Spanish Dance According to the Region
Nation of art and culture, Spain, like the UK, is soaked in history!
A crucial element of studying Spanish dance is learning about the origins of this art form and, therefore, the history behind it. Some, more traditional, dances were and still are practised by very distinct social classes. Other, more popular, dances are aimed at all ages and all ranks.
It was in the 15th century that most Spanish regions began to create their own dances: at that time, there were more than 200 different types of dance in Catalonia!
In the 18th century, during the reign of the Bourbon kings, Spanish culture started to spread throughout the world and Spanish dancers were finally able to have their artistic talents recognised. Later, it was the gypsies who developed the most famous dance style in Spanish history: flamenco.
The evolution of Spanish dance, however, slowed down during Franco's dictatorship, who banned any expression of regional culture (music, dance, language, etc.). Fortunately, today, Spaniards are free to dance to whatever they please!
Spanish and Latin dances have seen a surge in popularity in the 21st century, thanks to the emergence of Latin pop. Before you develop into Latin pop, however, take a look at the origins and development of some Spanish dance styles to immerse yourself in Spanish culture!
African dance has an equally rich culture to offer.
Choose a Spanish Dance According to the Teaching Method
Spanish Dance Schools and Associations
To learn to dance like a Spaniard, nothing beats a professional dance class!
Through an accredited dance school, students can participate in classes supervised by qualified native teachers.
Students can also learn through a Spanish dance association!
In the spirit of good fun, associations welcome both children and adults, whatever their level: it is, therefore, the perfect way to learn dance with your partner or friends. Nevertheless, we recommend you have at least a beginner level for these classes, as associations typically focus on basic music courses.
Here are some schools and associations in the UK offering Spanish dance classes:
- Salsa Freedom, Manchester
- Ballet and Spanish Dance Academy, Leeds
- Flamenco Dance Classes with Debbie, Norwich
- Ilusion Flamenca,
- Spanish Dance Society, London,
- Flamenco Dance Classes, Cambridge
- Salsa Souls, Bristol
- Latin Roots, Edinburgh
- Salsa Buena Dance Classes, Cardiff
- Nu Salsa in Belfast, Northern Ireland
(Also see how to take salsa or flamenco dance lessons online from the comfort of your own home!)
Naturally, there are a number of Spanish dance schools and groups across the UK and Ireland thanks to the growing influence of Mediterranean culture in recent years. To find courses in school, it will also be necessary to live in a big metropolis.
Private Spanish Dance Lessons
Having a flamenco teacher just for you is the dream for dancing newbies!
To find a choreographer to master Spanish dance steps, generally, people use word-of-mouth or go through the classifieds of dance teachers from dance centres.
Nevertheless, it is still possible to find a choreographer tailored to your needs through online classifieds. Here, students can access a wide range of teachers and can even take an trial dance class to try out different Spanish styles. In addition, lovers of Spanish culture can take online dance lessons via Skype from their own living room.
With Superprof, a flamenco lesson costs on average £30 per hour!
Price, type, level: there are many criteria to consider when looking for a dance instructor on Superprof!
Whether it's Spanish or oriental dance, finding the right teacher is key.
Choose a Spanish Dance According to Your Taste in Music
Essentially a gypsy dance, flamenco illustrates its roots through its incredibly unique style of music. On the guitar, the flamenco musician plays to a fast and jerky beat that coincides with the performer's dance steps.
Have a listen to some of the most popular flamenco songs:
- "Para ayudarme a llorar" by Antonio Mairena,
- "Juncales" by Niño Ricardo,
- "Tanguillo" by El Niño de Almadén,
- "Que lastima de gitana" by Beni de Cadiz,
- "Tiene mi niña un balcon" by Manolos Vargas,
- "Sin cédula ni licencia" by Pericón De Cádiz,
- "Tientos" by Aurelio Sellés de Cádiz,
- "No hables mal de nadie" by Tio Gregorio el Borrico,
- "Alegria" by Ramón Montoya,
- "En un verde prado" by Rafael Romero,
- "Me valgo de mi saber" by La Perla de Cadiz.
And why not take flamenco guitar lessons to improve your music skills?
Paso Doble Music
A dance performed during bullfights, paso doble's music is particularly catchy and lively. Most of the time, dance teachers use recordings of popular songs, but it isn't unheard of for dance troupes, for example during a dance competition, use live orchestras.
Here are some legendary songs from the paso doble:
- "Marcha a la manoleria" by F.A. Barbieri,
- "Currito de la Macarena" by Fernandez,
- "La Belle Signorine" by Max Elloy,
- "Ole Torero" by Luis Mariano,
- "Montevideo" by Rina Ketty,
- "Muchacha" by Rose Avril,
- "Un Pasodoble por favor" by Mika Wolkan,
- "Brisas del Moncayo" by Abel Moreno,
- "En er mundo" by Juan Quintero Munoz,
- "Maestranza Sevillana" by Pedro Morales Munoz.
Why not introduce yourself to Spanish dance by having a little listen to some Spanish dance music. Indeed, the choice of music is crucial to successful dance classes: a good song tends to motivate the student and make them improve at a faster rate!
More of a fan of Irish music? Try your luck at Irish dancing.
What do You Need for Spanish Dance
Finally, the last criterion to bear in mind when making your decision: the gear requested by the teacher!
Spanish dance focuses on the beauty of the dancer's gestures and the aesthetics: unlike contemporary or modern dance, it is essential to acquire very specifically, and sometimes quite expensive, gear.
With regard to flamenco dancing, women have the option of wearing a full skirt, ornately decorated at the bottom, and a light top, often in lace, or alternatively full traditional Spanish costume. Colours are typically red and black and black shoes with a hard outer sole are worn.
Women can also wear accessories like sequinned flowers, shawls or fans!
For the paso doble, the clothes are quite similar. Men must wear a comfortable black suit and hard-soled shoes.
Dance schools may provide the necessary accessories themselves, but nothing beats your own gear to be able to practise between classes!
So, get out a red dress and some black shoes and awaken your Spanish sensuality with flamenco dance!
Just like Bollywood dance, certain accessories are integral to the dance.