Barefoot Flamenco with Valerie Romanin ( A Londres)   Leave a comment

Barefoot Flamenco……..

It is exactly what is says on the tin!

It is a form of flamenco danced barefoot, as it would have been, danced originally by Gitano performers. Many dancers have in modern times, danced barefoot, and barefoot flamenco speaks, too of its origins with the Gitanos, whose ancestors migrated from North West India.  Kathak,a North Western Indian dance,  is perhaps the mother of Flamenco, with its footwork, torso work and stances. I have recently taken studies in Kathak dance. It is fascinating to see what  similarities that Kathak and Flamenco share, as well as the differences they have between them.

Valerie is both a Flamenco and Bellydancer, based in London, but originally from France. She has been a life-long dancer, clearly evident in her musicality, and understanding of weight and flow of dance movement. To boot, she is an excellent, enthusiastic and encouraging teacher, someone who can break down the hardest of all moves , to the point where you wonder, how on earth you found it difficult in the first place……

Valerie has monthly classes of Barefoot Flamenco, at the Red Door, 24a Lloyd Baker St, London, about 15 minute  or less, walking distance  from Kings’ Cross station. I travel to London, to catch her workshops, whenever I can. I have been doing this, since 2010.   In addition she does weekly bellydance/oriental, and barefoot flamenco classes.

Valerie’s barefoot workshops consist of working through the fundamentals of Flamenco: palmas (clapping) torso movement, floreos (wrist movements) braceos (arm movements) expression, posture, foot rhythms and zapateado ( footwork) with the shoes. Footwork without shoes, is indeed much harder, as you have to flex your arches higher. With shoes, you are already lifted off the ground. So, barefoot flamenco is more of a challenge in that respect, but I would also add, it is much more earthed, so you are connected to the ground or your base chakra, so to speak as you dance. In effect, it reminds me, then of Kathak, although footwork in this dance, has its own technique and differences.

One of Valerie’s strengths is her well-pace use of short choreography in the class. This helps reinforce linking movements, as well as capturing the essence of barefoot flamenco( with bellydance, or kalbelyia/Indian gypsy or tango , and so on)  Often,  she uses a combination of flamenco and bellydance moves to create a strong and free spirited fusion and choreography

. She  uses rhythms such as the malfuf (4/4) and the  sama’i (10/8) , to explore flamenco movement, and the movements and  rhythms fit like gloves: it is a matter of interweaving movement and rhythm.  She also uses bellydance movement to flamenco pieces (rumba and tangos rhythms for example)  and those work well too. Valerie’s extensive dance vocabulary includes ballet and she  has cleverly used a pas de valse as a linking step, in many of her drills/short choeros, for example.

All in all, very inventive and original. I attend a conventional and excellent Flamenco class, every week, and Valerie’s barefoot flamenco adds a lot of enrichment for my flamenco dance experience. It is like “thinking outside the box”. I recommend her workshops to other flamenco dancers, as well as bellydancers , interested in pursuing flamenco, as an additional dance style. So many of her dance students  are spreading the word, since she is the UK’s best kept secret!

Valerie’s  flamenco dance education has included extensive travelling to South America and Spain . A sense of msichief/sense of humour, delight,  sensitivity ,strength and skill infuse her performance, so she is equally skilled a performer, as a teacher.

Contact Valerie on info@flamencodescalzo.com. Her website is http://www.flamencodescalzo.com

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Posted May 8, 2011 by zoraidagitana1965 in Uncategorized

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