Wednesday, 25 September 2013


So I have been in Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain, for seven days now and its been a hectic week already.

Though its been another positive day, I'm thinking that some obstacles to my progress are rearing its head. Firstly it was language, trying to get the heel and tips of my zapatos smoother, (so that they don't scratch the floor and also to make it less 'tacky' for me when I do the stamping), which was a fail first time around. Then, although I thought I had cracked the hand twisting movement - there was yet more to come, with a few more cheeky steps and movements (including the hand twists!) thrown in by Toni.

There was a choreography class before my lesson both today and Monday. The dancers were amazing. Obviously been dancing flamenco for years but still it looked like the choreography was stretching them too. What am I thinking doing this?

Then there was the positioning of the camera again (all wrong!) You would not think I come from a film background, but I think what happens is the pre-lesson nerves about what's going to be thrown in kick in big time and I just panic about the documentation bit. Back to flip-cam tomorrow me-thinks, as the 7D keeps switching off after a certain amount of time and its off-putting to the lesson to keep going back and forth. The perils of self-documentation. Perhaps a more lo-fi solution is the key?

Anyway, it was a great lesson today with two new moves. The hand twists as the arms circle around the outside, and the point to the corner with each foot on each side as the arms circle inside. Put that all together with what we had by Friday last week and it wasn't actually that bad because I was much more into it.

I still keep making the same errors of moving my body when it should be upright, straight ahead at all times, and although there is a beautiful flow to the arm movements, flamenco is a very rigid dance, particularly the male moves, but it makes you feel full of conviction. That, I'm liking. Its like you're raised up with a presence, though it is like preparing for some sort of battle. With me its the battle of getting into the right headspace to give in to the dance. Weirdly, once I relax, it all seems fine.

On the stamping, Toni pushed for me to have more force in each of the stamps - golpe, planta, tacon. The goal being to make my legs strong. I think its working.

But this rigidity, its like what is going on with this project, as I'm actually moving in and out of a rigid mindset and set of situations, and working within a very rigid discipline that also requires the time, effort and patience to achieve something, as much a more fluid art practice.

Whilst the flamenco seems rigid and I'm looking for a rigid routine, there's no getting away that, for the moment at least, I'm having to go with the Barca flow.

So good lesson was followed by next obstacle as I wasn't able to get access to the practice space today just because of timings and home is a bit too small and busy.

I decided to check out the Centre Civic in my local area to see if they hire out space to practice. It turns out they do, but in exchange for a performance or something similar. Now this may be a good thing as I need somewhere to film the final performance I want to do. Thing is, because flamenco is loud, the only places that they allow to use for this are the theatre spaces but they are always busy. I'll try them anyway as its an interesting idea and may be the way forward.

I'm just yearning for that routine where I can just practice somewhere all day without any disturbance. Its so important at this early stage.

So, no footage today but I'll leave you with a still of one of my smoother tipped shoes. The thing I was looking from the shoe repairers was 'Limar Clavos'. It seemed to be the right thing to ask for.

There's always a solution to the problem.

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