Jerez early this year – cold, unusually rainy, and even with disruptive floods. But the warmth was felt indoors, in the classes and in the theatre. Learning from our teachers and being inspired by the many artists we were privileged to watch on stage, all within one, two weeks of the Festival.
Maestro Manuel Betanzos taught two workshops – the Caracoles with fan and the Bamberas. We’ll be touring his Bamberas workshop to Taipei and Singapore (20 - 24 June schedule here) this year, as part of his Asia tour including Beijing, Hong Kong and cities in Japan, so let me share this video, which gives a glimpse of his teaching.
It’s always heartening to see the response of the students. Afterall, the workshop at the Festival is intense, with 2.5 hours daily over 7 days. So there is much to digest mentally, emotionally, and to work the body physically, especially with a maestro like Manuel.
In this video, we have a little glimpse of what the little town of Jerez looks like, before heading indoors to where the workshop is, in the quaint Calle Ponce street. The two wonderful artists accompanying maestro Manuel Betanzos here are singer Manuel Soto and guitarist Javier Ibañez. Both of whom also accompany the award-winning bailaor, Eduardo Guerrero in his shows at the festival. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to feel supported by such calibre of musicians.
The students are asked to do their own improvisation to the beautiful melodies of the guitarist. Moving on to a section where you can see Manuel explaining how he wants the students to do a marcaje (marking), making it normal and natural, without too much force. He demonstrates the material clearly and paces the class well to make sure students can follow.
Now the students have to dance it on their own, and the owners is on them to know their work. Here, Manuel sits with the singer and guitarist communicating with them and with the students. He can’t help but dance from his seat too!
Enjoy the video! It is but a glimpse and over these months, we’ll be sharing more.
Getting to know Manuel
A hallmark of this great maestro – he makes you aware of where you are at, how much you can, and therefore should, achieve. Not many may show you and enable you to go further, but Manuel is not a ‘general’ teacher standing at the front of the class. He is with the student, guiding each and giving personalised advice. And by his energy and charisma, uplifts everyone.
So it’s always amazing to me to see the contrast of Day 1 and the final day. For I know I would see transformations in progress, the maestro drawing out the best from students, students inspired to reach new heights, stronger for the challenges they faced, and joy and motivation to keep them going long after they return to their own countries.
Don’t forget what’s new to explore at this year’s Taipei and Singapore workshops. We’ll be aiming towards an overview of a full choreography, learning and exploring adaptations and possibilities of palo structures. Plus, all participants invited to join in the end-of-workshop showcase, Espacio Propio. Brave ones to present adaptations of Manuel’s original Bamberas and Tangos choreography!
Singapore Schedule (20 - 24 June) / Your Date with Manuel Betanzos, Excellence and Inspiration
Forthcoming Classes and Tours
Join Manuel Betanzos in any of these global workshops or in his Academy in Seville!
We had much fun with the Tangos at Manuel Betanzos’ flamenco master workshop in Singapore last year. Here’s a video glimpse of it. We worked on a choreography to the letra of the Tangos de Triana over the weekday evenings, and on a new one over the weekend.
Sensual, earthy, redondo (roundedness) – we explored what all this was to our body, how to work our physique to the style we searched for.
Technique – working our footwork to the rhythmic compás and remates.
Listening – hearing the live song and guitar, familiarising ourselves to the melody and responding to it, calling upon what we learnt technically.
Feelingly – because dance is about expression and flamenco, greatly about your own response.
Artistry – because that is the higher merit, going beyond steps and technique to cultivate your deeper essence.
Journeying with you – Along with learning the dance, students experience Manuel’s teaching style – a personal approach, where he ‘sees’ each student and with his great experience as well as instinct, he understands where the student is at.
Hands-on and on-the-spot, he corrects the student, explaining how to become better. All this, while keeping the rest of the class of the class going, either with his palmas keeping beat or vocalising his encouragement. It’s such amazing multi-tasking skills of the group and of the individual all at the same time!
The short, intensive and yet impactful five-day workshop gave us a charge of inspiration, further insight into learning and a sense of accomplishment of the steps of our individual growth.
AT THIS YEAR’S 2018 WORKSHOP:
Log in these dates into your calendar: Wed 20 – Sun 24 June!
Tangos (Style & Technique): We’ll be working on a different Tangos this year. Similar to last year, 3 weekdays (Part A) and over the weekend (Part B). Come for both, or either. The Tangos is always such a great and useful palo (flamenco style) – for all the above reasons I mentioned above! So let’s have a go at it!
Technique: 2 days of technique, working on a 12-beat rhythm. Yes, technique is much needed, constantly!
Bamberas (Choreography) – An intensive session of 2 daily hours. We aim to complete the choreography. So do join us fully if that is also your aim.
Espacio Propio/ My (Flamenco) Space – Ok, so this is the new one this year. All participants are welcomed to join this fin-de-curso (end-of-course) showcase. And those bold, brave ones, can work on adaptations.
For full info on the schedule, fees, venue as well as how to join Espacio Propio, click here.
Sample listen to Tangos. The great Carmen Linares sings here
Sample listen to a Bamberas song here too!
Letra (Of the Tangos we danced to)
Que bonita esta Triana
Cuando le ponen al puente
La banderita gitana
How pretty Triana is
When upon the bridge
They place the gypsy flag
(My informal translation)
These recent weeks have been filled with much inspiration watching the great flamenco maestro Manuel Betanzos teach at the workshops of the prestigious Festival de Jerez in Southern Spain. Two full-house workshops featured his beautiful and vibrant choreographies of the Caracoles and the Bamberas, accompanied by an amazing singer, Manuel Soto and an equally amazing guitarist, Javier Ibañez. It has been greatly heartwarming to see how much the international students accomplished within one week of daily 2-hour intensive studies.
It is also with great honour that we welcome him back to Singapore, as the maestro who has journeyed much with us over the years, with constancy. Make a date with him from Wed 20 June - Sun 24 June 2018. Make your date too with true excellence and experience in teaching and look forward to uplifting, challenging and greatly inspiring times.
Here's the schedule!
WHAT'S NEW THIS YEAR!
ESPACIO PROPIO (MY SPACE) - AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PUTTING YOUR LEARNING INTO PERFORMANCE PRACTICE: The inspiration comes from what we are currently doing in Manuel's Academy in Sevilla, where at the end of their course, students put their learning into practice, collaborating and communicating with the musicians their choreographic intent.
Likewise, on the last day of the Singapore workshop, we will organise an informal showcase. The programme seeks to include:
a. Workshop Showcase - All workshop students can participate in this showcase of the original choreography of Tangos and Bamberas. No worries, enjoy the experience, as Manuel will be dancing with us and guiding us, just as he does in class.
Working towards the showcase therefore, one key area of this year's workshop is the focus on building and completing a choreography. Students should be prepared to commit to the full 5 days (particularly for the Bamberas of 10 hours), in order to reap the maximum, should they wish to join the showcase.
b. Adaptations - Manuel would like to encourage participants to experiment and adapt the original choreographic material of the Tangos and Bamberas themselves, and to collaborate with the musicians. Participants will have opportunities to seek Manuel's guidance and consultation for their ideas, in the days leading up to the showcase.
c. Participants' Showcase - Additionally, workshop participants may also present their own dance items that they would like to perform at this showcase.
HOW TO JOIN ESPACIO PROPIO
Those interested in the Adaptations and Participants Showcase should submit their interest to Tania in advance, so that a selection of participants, levels, a curation of dance items and overall programme duration may be done. (Therefore, kindly understand that not all submissions of interest may be able to be accommodated). Participants will be supported by the provision of singer and guitarist for this performance day.
If you need further info or would like to sound out any aspect, please be most welcomed to chat to Tania any time ;)
SCHEDULE, FEES & REGISTRATION
A. Bamberas (Choreography)
The Bamberas is a wonderful 12-beat flamenco style with a strong captivating song. We are continuing to work on the Bamberas from last year. Students who did last year's workshop can join Tania's Saturday class on Sat 2 June and Sat 9 June (3.00-4.00pm), on a FREE basis. We will revise the falsetta and one letra from the 2017 workshop.
Students new to the Bamberas this year need not worry, as you can learn the new parts of the choreography from this year; alternatively you can join Tania's Saturday Bamberas class to catch up any Saturday, from now onwards. A class is $25/h. Please refer to our website for the schedule/location.
(Do note that as the Bamberas is a choreography class, the maestro will not be stopping as frequently for personalised corrections, as he would always do in the Style and Technique classes (such as the Tangos)
Bamberas workshops are accompanied by guitarist and singer on the last 3 workshop days, from 22-24 June.
b. Tangos (Style & Technique)
This class will focus on the style and technique of the Tangos. Manuel will be giving generous tips on how to work this style, how to use your body and giving you lots of personal corrections. What a benefit to receive such detailed teaching!
The Tangos is a fun, enjoyable dance with a 4-beat rhythm. Manuel's Tangos is sensual, with earthly flamenco flavour and style. He encourages us to explore our feelings ('sentimiento') and 'give it your personality'. While last year's workshop also featured the Tangos, most of us know that the Tangos is such an essential and great style to work on, consistently. In the Tangos por fiesta, you'll be training to listen to and interact with the song ('cante').
Tangos workshops are accompanied by guitarist and singer on the last 3 workshop days, from 22-24 June
The 2 days of technique classes will be based on a 12-beat rhythm. This will be useful when working any 12-beat dance including the Bamberas, Alegrias etc. So participants of the Bamberas are greatly encouraged to take this up. Those doing the Tangos can also join in, to gain familiarity and foundation in this rhythm.
The courses will be taught for 5 consecutive days, similar to the intensity of classes at the Academy in Spain, to maximise students' focussed learning. Those who, due to time, are unable to take the full course, may opt to do either the weekday course or the weekend course,, where different parts of the choreography will be taught respectively. Those who attend the full course will have fuller material and experience of the Flamenco palos (styles).
Workshop Venue: Dance on Us, 8 Claymore Hill
Espacio Propio Venue: To be confirmed
Payment can be made via bank transfer. Please contact Tania for the bank details.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / (+65) 97377703)
NEXT BLOG POST
A video glimpse of Tangos. Reliving Fun Flamenco Learning and a Heart of Enthusiasm for the Next Experience
Hola Amigos, I'm Tania, aficionado of Spanish Dance, dancer, teacher and producer. Sharing news of Spanish Dance and Spain, and the art wherever we take it to globally!