In a quest to kill many birds with one stone, I had my first flamenco lesson last night. This helped me to:
- get some exercise;
- start my social life outside school;
- meet some new people;
- switch off completely from work;
- get intensive Polish listening practice;
- try something completely new.
I’d emailed the teacher beforehand to find out whether she thought I’d be able to manage in the class and to check whether she spoke any English. Between my pre-intermediate Czech/Russian and her pre-int Spanish/English, she thought it would be fine.
The class was in a beautiful ballroom, decorated by Mucha images. There were eight of us in the group, and I was pleased that she didn’t single me out too much, which I know it could be easy for a teacher to do if they’re not sure the student understands.
In general, the class was a great experience for a beginner. The teacher was patient, and included lots of variety. The lesson began by putting us all at our ease, and reassuring us about the kind of clothes and shoes we were wearing – nobody was quite sure what we needed for the first lesson.
We then focussed on one area at a time, with enough repetition and challenge to feel like you were learning, but not so much that it felt impossible. Everything was introduced in small steps, with a demonstration followed by a little practice, then a slightly harder version of the same thing. We worked with our arms first, learning various movements then putting it together to music. This was repeated with our hands, then with our feet. In between each set of movements, the teacher told us something about flamenco, covering types of flamenco and some of the history of the dance. Although I only caught snatches of it, it was interesting and a welcome break for our bodies.
Most importantly, she was very supportive when we made a mistake or couldn’t understand exactly what we were supposed to do. She was aware of all of her students and moved around the room constantly to ensure we could all see. She would also move us into the correct position and show us what to do repeatedly if necessary.
All in all, a great example of a lesson, and I’m looking forward to next week 🙂