Time for your Flamenco breakthrough? Discover your spontaneity with POR FIESTA flamenco dances!

Spanish Dance Flamenco Singapore - Por Fiesta Flamenco Bulerias

Hola, my friend


Have you been at a flamenco party
where there is live song and music?


Dancers are taking their turns to come out
and do their little dance.

it’s fun, spontaneous,
we’re clapping the rhythm and we’re shouting
‘jaleos’ to encourage one another on!

Have you wanted to enjoy that sort of spontaneous flamenco fun,
get into that piece of action
but wondered ‘how can you do so?’

This is what we call ‘por fiesta’ flamenco


‘Fiesta’ literally means party in Spanish
and ‘por fiesta’ means in the style of a party.

Well, I have good news for you!


Now you can start to experience a little bit of this
at Manuel Betanzos’ workshop that I’m organising
very soon this 26 – 30 June 
because we’ll be learning the Bulerías por Fiesta

What is the Bulerías por Fiesta
and why should you do it?

the Bulerías is one of very popular
flamenco styles that you can dance at a party
and the other being the Tangos.

So you have Bulerías por Fiesta and Tangos por Fiesta.
As a dancer you would have learned these two ‘palos’
as steps in choreography or technique in the studio.

But now think of putting that into a party context.


So you can imagine what a party is, right?
it’s spontaneous
and we don’t always know what’s gonna happen
so it’s delightful to have surprises.


We just go with the flow of the guitarist and the singer
and this is where you can 
free yourself up from any memory work
you don’t have to think of your choreography

You start to let your spontaneity come out
and you start to experiment.


The singer is gonna sing you any Bulerías or Tangos
song or ‘letra’ as we call it
and you’re not gonna know 
what they’re gonna sing for you. 

So, you may ask: 
‘How to dance Bulerías or Tangos por Fiesta
if I don’t know what the singer is gonna sing for me?’


So here are a couple of tips 
that my Maestro Manuel Betanzos gives.
He says:


Take your time
listen to the song and let it fill you,
because it’s going to inspire you.

So don’t fill yourself up
with any preconceived notions of steps
and choreography.


Instead, just empty yourself, take your time
let the song fill you so that you can go with it


I thought that’s really useful.
Of course, it’s easier said than done
and that’s why we keep practicing it


I think it’s also helpful not to pre plan your steps
and memorise the way we would do so
sometimes to execute a choreography, right?
So it’s best to set that aside.

I know that requires a little bit of rewiring
because I went through that too
and when the temptation comes
for me to be thinking of a step
or pre planning it because I want it to be fancy, for example,
I literally tell myself: Halt, stop!
Prohibited, okay
and that is a bit of a hack.
So then I force myself to use my other senses
which is the sense of hearing.

I also think it’s really useful to get
to know some basic flamenco codes and communication
because these are ways we can interact
more spontaneously and wordlessly
with our guitarist and singer.


You can think of codes and communication as tools
or cues and body language
that you use as part of your dance
in order to to shape your moment
and tell the guitarist or singer
this is what what you want to happen.


So for example
after you’ve danced your dance and you want go off
you might do your ‘llamada’
and that signals to the guitarist and the singer
that you’re ready to go off
and that then tells them
to sing in a particular way for you
that sends you off and the guitarist is prepped to
accompany you until you go off.

One of my maestros Andrés Peña says something really lovely
he says:

At the point of dancing spontaneously
your Bulerías por Fiesta,
do what naturally comes to you and again


it sounds easy to to think about it and reflect on it
but it’s quite profound
because what comes naturally to you
is what you have most practised in the studio
or one that you have most danced,
all right? 

So this gives quite a bit of case to us
having to practise, internalise
get the ‘super basics’ in and by ‘super basics’


I mean get your technique and get your compás in
and that really goes without saying, right?
Work at your style, etc
So at the point of spontaneity
you’re not having to think
because that already doesn’t become spontaneous


At the point of dancing your Bulerías por Fiesta
just let whatever naturally is in you come out
naturally, steps that are familiar with you
moves that are familiar with you.


And then I think it becomes really you.
You are expressing YOU in the most natural way.
And you’re not giving yourself a hard time
by having to memorise all these scripted choreography.


And another tip that I have
based on my own experience
is that

it’s helpful to know a simple flamenco structure.


Flamenco structure can be a bit more lengthy 
for full structured dances like 
Bulerías por Soleá or the Alegrías.


But the great thing about a Por Fiesta dance
is that they’re all short ‘pataitas’
little little pieces of dance.

You’re not there to do a whole dance at all. 
You’re in fact encouraged to do something 
short and sweet, with your personality
and then go off, because it’s a party
you gonna hand it off to somebody else
you’re not gonna hog the limelight, okay

So getting to know a simple
flamenco structure is useful.

I like to think of it,
and I focus my mind on just three simple parts
one of which is what I call 
self presentation (‘Salida’)
I’m coming out and I’m doing a little presentation
I’m warming up to what the singer is singing for me
And the second part for me
is the development of my little short dance
that’s when I develop it, 
I’m still listening to the singer
And then the final part is that
I’m going to go off.
So I’m gonna signal I’m going off and
then get ready to do it. The singer and guitarist
are going to company me until I go off
So that to me is like the simplest three parts.

Obviously, there is a lot more terminology 
than what I’m telling you right now
but I just wanted you to have an overview of it
and to think as simply as you can
so that we’re not too intimidated by the idea.
Everything’s in the clouds
if we think too much about things
 So think about these three parts as a starter,
as an introduction to your first foray.

I know for some of you
this may not be your first foray
but it’s a great chance
always to be doing and honing our
por fiesta dances because it hones our instincts 
to listen and respond to the song
and it hones our instincts to to improvise too, right?


We can never get enough of this!
If you imagine that our maestros
would have spent decades in the ‘tablaos’
honing their instincts and improvisational skills
then us doing it for, I don’t know, 3, 4 days
5 days, even a month
that is just nothing, 
for the skills that we have to master.

So why learn Bulerías or Tangos por Fiesta?


I think this is
gonna follow you in your entire flamenco life
because these are really two common and basic ‘palos’
you can use in your pre planned dances
but also always in a fiesta moment,
flamenco gathering with your friends.

Plus, let’s say you have a flamenco performance
and you want to do an encore
So you can do a Por Fiesta dance as part of your encore.
We call it ‘Fin de Fiesta’ (end of the party)


We do our little short dance
that wraps up our performance encore and go off.
Everybody loves it because typically
the guitarist and singer who don’t dance
usually come up to dance.
And I think they steal the thunder, okay
The audience loves that

Is this THE time to get your flamenco breakthrough?


The Bulerías or Tangos por Fiesta
is a great way to have a flamenco breakthrough!

By that I mean if you have been 

learning flamenco in a linear way,
linear way as you’re following 

that scripted pre planned, pre staged choreography,
then a Por Fiesta dance actually scrambles it all off!

It makes you deconstruct your choreography
and to think of flamenco as material that you’ve internalised.

So that way of thinking is a whole rewiring, a huge paradigm shift. 

That’s what I mean that it’s a great way of having your flamenco breakthrough.

So this is the best way – through a very short dance, to totally learn and approach your flamenco differently.

Cultivate another aspect of yourself!

When you do Por Fiesta dances,
you get very rapid insights into
flamenco codes and communication.

These are skills that you master over time.
So you’re gonna experience all these ‘skilling up’.

And then you can apply that to the rest of your flamenco,
your structured dances too. 
Because even the structured dances have improvising.

Think of the ‘tablaos’ – 
these are the ‘universities of improvisation’

So whatever you get from your Por Fiesta experience
you can quickly then experiment with your own structured dances.

The other skill that you’re gonna have obviously
is listening skills

Because you’re ditching aside
your pre planned choreography
and focusing on what’s being sung to you.

That’s so so totally useful
to acquire the sense of hearing
and to understand what you’re listening out for,
getting used to that.

And once again, you’re gonna apply that
to the rest of your flamenco.

So all these are the reasons
why you should learn a Por Fiesta dance!

Bulerias por Fiesta Workshop by Manuel Betanzos this June (26 – 30th)

Manuel Betanzos’ workshop is coming soon

Get into the action. Don’t miss it!

Because for every single five days of the workshop,
we’re going to have a guitarist and singer.

Which means every single five days
you’re gonna get material from Manuel
In the first part of the class.
And then in the second part of the class,
we’re going to have our little party.

We’ll enact a little party
and we’ll get little rounds
each person taking turns
to just experiment with it.

Great! So I hope you do join and don’t miss out
Let’s get together in our little flamenco gathering,
in a party, support one another,
cheer one another on and have a whopping fun time!

Warmest regards,

Tania

Flamenco Singapore Manuel Betanzos 2024
Spanish Dance Flamenco Singapore Workshops
Singapore Flamenco class Manuel Betanzos workshop 2024

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