The A to Z's of Flamenco Dance: A is for Attitude
It is said attitude is everything. Well its true, especially in Flamenco. The right (or wrong) attitude can get you anywhere (or nowhere). Lets discuss attitude ABOUT Flamenco dance and attitude IN Flamenco dance.
Having the right attitude ABOUT Flamenco dance is really an underrated skill. Dancers that approach Flamenco dance from a position of I am going to be the best Flamenco dancer in [insert city, state or country], or I am going to make career out of Flamenco dance, are starting out on the wrong foot (pun intended). Flamenco is ABOUT the journey, it is not something tangible that you can collect or a skill that you can master and then go on to master other skills. Remember, Flamenco is not a dance; it is a cultural art form of which dance is only one part. So developing an attitude of becoming a dancer can be limiting. Its not about the dance; its about the art of the dance. Work on the dance but embrace the art. Practice your technique but dance from your heart.
The right attitude IN Flamenco dance can make the difference between an average Flamenco dancer and a great Flamenco dancer. Flamenco dance is a very passionate art form. There is a difference between passion and sexiness. A Flamenco dancer that conveys authentic passion, a.k.a. emotion from his or her heart while dancing can move into the realm of a great Flamenco dancer. Flamenco dancers that dance conveying sexiness risk disrespecting themselves and the art form and are not destined for greatness.
And authentic emotion does not mean making exaggerated facial expressions at the audience. Too often in an attempt to give the appearance of passion, some dancers can been seen scowling at the audience, or angrily staring at the audience, or acting as if they were in excruciating pain. These are affectations (or at least I hope they are anyone that angry or in that much pain should be at the doctors office, not on stage!). Your facial expressions should be a natural extension of what you are feeling while you are interacting with a certain rhythm. Sad rhythms should make you feel sad (no pasted-on smiles here) and happy rhythms should make you feel happy (no scowls or knitted brows here, please). Flamenco dancers who dance from their heart will automatically have the right expression, compliments of the heart, with no additional help from the dancer needed.
Attitude IN Flamenco dance also is about how you treat your fellow artists. Even if you are a highly paid performer with hundreds of fans waiting back stage for an autograph, Flamenco is not about you. It is about the art form. Respect for yourself and other artists (even if they forget this point) makes a difference between an average dancer and a great artist. If the guitarist misses one of your signals, it is not necessary to throw a public hissy-fit on stage. If another dancer takes too long of a solo and you are left without one, shooting daggers at him or her during the performance is not something the audience should see. Professional performance attitude must be practiced by all dancers all of the time.
So, get your Flamenco attitude on and just take the journey you may surprise yourself along the way!