A'lante

Flamenco Dance

Stephanie Keeton: Flamenco Challenge

Posted By on October 7, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Stephanie Keeton: Flamenco Challenge

Photo: Foto-Eek.com

As a dancer of Latin genres and being trained in Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary, transitioning to Flamenco was quite a challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a challenge in dance, but with Flamenco it was different. I almost felt vulnerable and felt like I was starting all over again. I even remember talking to one of my close “dancer” friends and her telling me, “wow, to step into a whole new genre of dance says a lot about who you are.” That really helped me to continue this new avenue of my dance career and pursue what I have wanted to do for a while, Flamenco.

Picking up choreography and foot work has always been one of my strongest assets as a dancer, but the counting and all the different styles in Flamenco were definitely a challenge. I realized quickly that what I had thought to be Flamenco, (taught to me when I was younger) was just the tip of the iceberg. Now that I have been studying for a year and have become more familiar with the different styles, what I was learning back then was a “Rumba” and a very “Classical” style of Flamenco. Starting Flamenco again several years later, I found that it had drastically changed into a more contemporary style of Flamenco and I love it!

Coming from being classically trained for a number of years, using 8 counts was a very typical thing, so transitioning into Flamenco and having to count 12 counts was very different for me. I had been in a dance company for years, where listening to the music (which is usually in 8 counts) is how we choreographed and danced everything. I also teach a Salsa Aerobics class, which I have the liberty of doing what I want, so hips, shoulders and lots of body movement is required for my class. But now, I find my self in Flamenco and dancing to other rules. No hip shaking, keep your shoulders down, body needs to be steady and of course 12 counts. So naturally being the dance “nerd” I am (or so my husband calls me), I do nothing but think about Flamenco steps, counts, styles and music all the time, for the next however long it takes me to get this down!

Photo: Barbara Garza

At work, at home, in the shower, going to sleep and in Flamenco class, I have submerged myself in it. Even when I felt unsure, I got out there and tackled it like I knew what I was doing. And that is one thing I have learned about Flamenco, you have to be confident and take the bull by the horns! Now being with A’lante for a year now, I feel much more secure in what I should be doing and what I am doing, but I have always felt as a dancer there is always room to grow and challenge yourself. A’lante gives me new challenges as well as all the other dance challenges that come with the territory of training, preparing and performing in a dance company. ALL the things in dance that make me feel right at home. Ole’!

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