IN ASSOCIATION WITH BRITISH AIRWAYS

Flamenco: Dancing to a different tune

Carmen is used to explaining what she wants in simple language. She knows that most of her students don't speak enough Spanish to understand everything she says, but by speaking slowly and demonstrating what she means, she manages to get her points across.

She is the teacher of level 0 - in other words, the seven of us that face her on Monday morning for our first two-hour flamenco dancing session are complete beginners. Most of us don't even have the right footwear - we need comfortable high heels, if such a thing exists - preferably with taps on the heels. But in the beginners' class, we can even dance in bare feet.

We start off with some gentle warm-up exercises, trying to copy everything Carmen does. Then we start on some arm movements, rotating our hands inward and outwards. After that, we add some footwork, tapping our heels and toes, then stamping enthusiastically in a sequence of different rhythms. About an hour of this, we start on a simple dance routine: the faster the music, the smaller the steps. Stamp, slide the foot, stamp, slide the foot, stamp, move one foot backwards and stamp the other in front. Or something like that. With a bit of practise it seems easy enough, until we put the feet and arms together. Then suddenly the music gets faster and we all realise flamenco is more complicated than it looks.

Taller Flamenco, whose classes we have joined, is a dance school just north of the centre of Seville. It was set up a decade ago by Eukene Izagirre to cater for the growing enthusiasm for flamenco dance across Europe and Japan. She tells me that most students spend anything between a week and a month at the school, often combining dance lessons with a Spanish language course. But Eukene assures me that for flamenco what you really need to understand is rhythm.

We have all joined Carmen's class for different reasons. Tomoko is a classical dancer with a part in Don Quixote, who wants to bring a bit of Spanish authenticity to her role. Mathilde saw the world-famous Joaquin Cortes in Paris and thought he danced so beautifully that she had to try, too - "although I'm not very co-ordinated", she said.

Jennifer is an American teacher working in Budapest. "I just wanted to do something for me," she told me. I asked Eukene whether we would be experts by the end of the week-long course. "No," was her reply. "You can't learn flamenco in a short time, any more than a language. It is an art - there is no end to what there is to learn." Carmen admitted that she doesn't know everything, even though she has been dancing for 20 years. But even after two hours, most of us were talking about finding a flamenco class back home where we could show off our new skills.

Taller Flamenco: Calle Peral 49, Seville (00 34 954 564 234; www.tallerflamenco.com). Week-long beginners' courses cost €240 (£171), with accommodation available for €105 (£75) for six nights

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Investigo: IT Auditor

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: A global leading travel busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

    Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
    The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

    The young are the new poor

    Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
    Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

    Greens on the march

    ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

    Through the stories of his accusers
    Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

    The Meaning of Mongol

    Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible