Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Flamenco Diaries: Week 6- Vueltas

I thought flamenco class was cancelled today. I walked up to the studio and discovered that it was locked. The lights were off and nobody was there. I was not thrilled at all as I had to travel into the city to get here and it was a complete waste of my time. If class were cancelled, the teacher would have emailed us. I checked my email, and no email from teacher.

I decided to walk out to the corner on market street and wait. About 20 minutes later, I saw my teacher leave a cafe nearby walking to the studio. Phew! Class is not cancelled. I followed her. She too discovered the door was locked and she didn't have the access code. She called the studio owner for the code, all she got was a voicemail.

More students were showing up as we were waiting for the call back. The teacher jokingly said (or maybe not jokingly), "If we can't get in, we'll just have class outside. The concrete will do wonders for our knees."

The owner finally called and we were able to get in the studio.

There are some days when you are having an "on" day. You're in the zone and everything just clicks for you. Today wasn't one of those days. Talk about being humbled. I felt like a downright idiot. The teacher introduced us to vueltas (turning). She broke down the turn for us and showed us how to spot. Spotting is where you focus on a "spot" in front of you and when you whip your head around you go back looking at that same spot. This prevents you from getting dizzy and from being off balance.

I hate turning. Turns are my major downfall. Even back then when I was taking flamenco 5 days a week, I still had trouble with turns and would get intimidated when we had to do them in choreography.

So she made us travel across the floor doing vueltas, switching sides after a set. I don't know if I was psyching myself out or what, I just couldn't do them. And these beginners who've NEVER taken flamenco before could do them. This makes me lead to believe, either I've picked up a bad habit or it's a mental thing.

My teacher approached me after class and said, "I notice when you are turning you are using your head as momentum to get around. You need to use your core." I told her that turns were my weakness and the other teachers I took classes from never bothered to break it down. They just had me do them without proper technique. She goes on to explain that some of her advanced students don't even know how to do turns for this very reason. And she said my spotting is perfect and to stop psyching myself out. I'm guessing she saw my frustration and felt the need to approach me after class.

After class, I wanted to kick myself. I hate it when I don't get something. Anyways, now I know what I'm doing wrong. It took years for someone to point this out to me and I'm so thankful for it. Every week my teacher proves to me that she is an amazing teacher. Most flamenco teachers can't be bothered.

I vow to practice every day until it becomes second nature. I'm going to get it, hopefully by next week when she makes us go across the floor again.

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