Tapping to the Rhythm of Flamenco

Alycia Parker Arcadia in Granada, Spain


October 30, 2018

Before I arrived in Granada, I had heard from various people I talked to who had visited Andalucía, that flamenco was a unique dance form that had strong roots in the region. I wasn’t sure what flamenco was as a dance style, but I looked it up last spring when I decided that this was the program for me. As soon as I found a YouTube video of street performers dancing flamenco, I knew I had to take classes when I arrived in Granada because to me it seemed so similar to tap dancing. For most of my life, I have been a dancer, studying all styles of dance; however, my favorite style of dance is tap. In my opinion, tap and flamenco are cousins in terms of stylistic elements-- rhythmically driven and strongly dependent on the sounds that your feet make.

Once I decided that flamenco class was a must for the semester, the next step was figuring out how to get signed up for a class. My friend and I visited a studio that we had seen on a weekend exploration of the city, decided that it was conveniently located and more importantly, had a beginner flamenco class that we could sign up for. Signing up for the class was a task that like most things I do here in Granada, was made a little more difficult by the language barrier. However, the secretary at the dance studio is extremely nice and welcoming and with a little help from Google translate, we successfully registered for the class. We bought our flamenco shoes and flowing skirts and readied ourselves for our first class.

More than just the unique dance style, for me the class is a cultural experience in itself because it’s the first dance class I’ve ever taken that is not taught in English. Listening and trying to follow along while not understanding every word that the dance instructor is saying, is very different from my experience of dancing while I was growing up and listening to every single piece of feedback from my dance teacher so I could improve my dancing. I think that living in Granada and taking this class is teaching me that it’s okay to not do everything perfectly. Instead, it is more important to focus on making the most of the experience, living in the moment and forgetting judgments that can be passed on me. Because I am here only for the semester, it’s important to not take myself too seriously.

My friend and I have a blast in our class because we dance for fun, and do not focus on being perfect. My entire life, I have been focused so much on everything having to be perfect that I often take myself too seriously. I love taking this flamenco class because for me it is the perfect opportunity to keep my feet tapping to the beat without the pressure to make every sound perfectly.