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Accompanying dance classes - how do you start?   You are logged in as Guest
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silddx

Posts: 606
Joined: May 8 2012
From: London

Accompanying dance classes - how do ... 

I've been learning Flamenco guitar for a couple of years, and starting to get a feel for it and can play a few things. However, as Orson pointed out in my video thread, I need to practice more compas and fewer falsettos. I have been doing the Flamenco Explained Siguiriyas Baile accompaniment course which I found excellent and very enjoyable.

So I am thinking, should I find a friendly amateur dance class and hang out for a bit if they are willing? I'd be nervous as hell playing if they gave me the opportunity. What would be the most common palos I should bone up on before considering approaching a class. What would their expectations likely to be? etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam ...

What are your thoughts please?

Thank you in advance,
Nigel
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2023 7:58:48
 
xirdneH_imiJ

Posts: 1907
Joined: Dec. 2 2006
From: Budapest, now in Southampton

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to silddx

Not sure if it's a typical story, but when I started, we had regular flamenco gatherings in my home town and got to know a few people before I actually asked one of the friendlier dancers if I could go and sit in her classes. I accompanied her (and several others) for the next decade. Dancers are usually happy to offer you the opportunity as there aren't many guitarists around willing (or able) to do that. All you need is the basics, know the compás and change chords at the right time, be able to keep tempo. Typically in certain classes they'll only teach the same palo for months and months which can get tiresome for any guitarist, but it gives you an opportunity to experiment and try variations on basically anything.

Most dancers will be used to teaching from recorded material so you might have to learn a piece or two, but they should tell you that in advance. They will usually teach the "usual" palos: at beginners' classes you will often see sevillanas, tangos, rumbas, alegrías; at intermediates' soleares (and soleá por bulerías), more alegrías, seguiriya, and with advanced dancers whatever they feel like - the most complicated things I'd done were tarantos, cañas (basically soleá), some advanced seguiriyas.

Playing guitar is the lesser challenge when accompanying dance, it's reading the dancer's movements and anticipating the next moves (and consequently what you're going to play) which is the difficult, but also the most fun bit. Eventually if you spend enough time doing it, you should be able to accompany anyone anywhere without much rehearsing. Be sure you speak the "lingo" (such as letras, remates, escobillas etc) and use falsetas that you're comfortable with. It's fine to experiment in classes but whenever they take you to a performance, choose one you will be able to play even with shaky hands. Overplaying and playing difficult and unsuitable falsetas is a big fault with many players these days.

Can't think of anything else now, but go for it and it should do wonders for your social life as well in the long run :) If you have any questions feel free to ask, even in private.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2023 10:41:33
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14995
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to silddx

If the dance instructor is not very well skilled it can potentially be a miserable experience for all parties. Make sure the dancer knows you are a novice who wants to learn. More advanced teachers can take advantage of training you, however, not at the expense of the class (if there is something you can’t get). And remember you WANT to have the goal to play for the more advanced classes so you can learn more. You don’t want to be in the “blind leading the blind” situation, or where you end up helping a class along, learning nothing yourself. The best idea I can give is to figure this all out in advance of a class setting, by getting together with ONLY the teacher alone so you can try out what works, what doesn’t, and perhaps prepare for what the class requires. If it goes well, you can probably only have to do that once, so you continue learning “on the job”. I can tell from your video you have the tools, it is just application. Always practice at home with metronome.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2023 11:52:39
 
JasonM

Posts: 2082
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to silddx

Yeah go for it. palos: a lot of the beginner classes that I went to, the teachers would do sevillanas and foot work drills, or maybe an escobilla. For the advanced classes with real palos, it was helpful to have an experienced guitarist to observe once in a while, but I felt it more important for me to be on my own as the only guitarist in the class
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2023 16:11:19
 
Stu

Posts: 2618
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to JasonM

Remember the dancers are learning too. So depending on the level you may find yourself playing the same bit of music over and over and over.

Accompanied some guajiras classes recently with a guest Spanish dancer..I was a little worried cos I don't have a great deal of guajiras variations. Blah blah.

Played a small intro and barely played more than about 5/6 compases the whole time cos every time you get so far. They have to go back and practice again from the start etc

Be honest about your level and as long as you know some basics you'll be fine.

Like Ricardo says too. Careful you don't get a lame teacher. I played for a dancer for years and I was improving and she and the class wasn't. One day I realised I was kind of leading the class and had probably wasted a lot of time. 😔

Trying to find time to get back to playing myself.

Nigel where do you live man?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2023 16:50:55
 
silddx

Posts: 606
Joined: May 8 2012
From: London

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to Stu

This is all super helpful, gents, thank you!

Stu, I'm in Ealing, West London.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2023 17:46:56
 
Stu

Posts: 2618
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to silddx

Ah ok. So do you have some teachers/dance class in mind?

Sorry, think you answered the 'where do you live question' before. And I forgot
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2023 18:16:06
 
silddx

Posts: 606
Joined: May 8 2012
From: London

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to Stu

Not yet, I wanted more of an idea of what to expect, which you have all helped with greatly. I will resume lessons with Ramon to prepare, and I am sure he can point me in the direction of suitable classes when he feels I am ready.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2023 20:33:25
 
orsonw

Posts: 1958
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to silddx

quote:

I'm in Ealing, West London.


Have you asked Ramon? I remember playing for Anita's classes in West London, but that was 15 years ago.

There is a list here, not sure how up to date it is.
https://flamencoinlondon.com/classes/

EDIT simultaneous post, I see you have just replied to Stu.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2023 20:37:12
 
silddx

Posts: 606
Joined: May 8 2012
From: London

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to orsonw

Oh brilliant! Yes I have met Anita a few times. I go to the Fiesta Flamenca nights in Chiswick regularly.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fiesta-flamenca-tickets-707391576247?utm_campaign=post_publish&utm_medium=email&utm_source=eventbrite&utm_content=shortLinkNewEmail

Thanks for that link, Orson.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2023 20:43:04
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14995
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to silddx

Watch this video with Jason McGuire:

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=317280&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=jason%2Ccount&tmode=&smode=&s=#317368

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2023 11:51:14
 
silddx

Posts: 606
Joined: May 8 2012
From: London

RE: Accompanying dance classes - how... (in reply to Ricardo

Thanks Ricardo. I’ve seen it a couple of times actually. It’s a real insight!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2023 16:14:54
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