Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone learn Flamenco?

Yes, no matter what age, if your feelings are stirred and it reaches your heart, then you can learn Flamenco. There are many styles of Flamenco to explore, from the artful simplicity of the party styles, to technical virtuosity of footwork, to the use of visual props, castanets and more. After learning the basics, you will have the opportunity to specialize in the areas of Flamenco that you  are most drawn to.

How long does it take to learn?
This depends on your consistency and dedication. In short, the more frequently you attend classes, listen to Flamenco music, see Flamenco shows and immerse yourself in the art form the faster you will progress.  Previous dance background in another dance form helps but is certainly not required. Just like any complex art form, Flamenco is a lifetime pursuit. Usually it takes between several weeks or months to get the idea, and several years of study and practice to begin to feel fluent in Flamenco. 
What do I wear?

Dancers can wear comfortable clothes like sweats or leggings, shirt or leotard, a loose flowing skirt and firm shoes or boots with sturdy heels. Flamenco shoes are ideal but if you don’t have any yet choose a shoe or boot with a low sturdy heel and ideally a smooth sole like a dress shoe.

Where do I buy Flamenco dance wear, shoes, etc?
Students may purchase flamenco practice skirts and “amateur” flamenco shoes locally or online. We have limited pre-owned sizes available at the studio available through Espacio de Arte, our local Flamenco non-profit. 

Once a student has made the commitment to Flamenco dance, they will want to invest in “professional” flamenco shoes from a flamenco source which your instructor will recommend. 

We also recommend Fabrica Flamenca (a Spanish store that sells online) for costumes, shoes, and batas de cola.

How do I register for classes?

If you’re interested in taking classes, you will need to register before your first lesson. You can register by clicking the REGISTER / LOG IN button on top of the website.
1) Make an account at MindBody.
2) Decide how many classes per week you wish to attend.
3) Purchase your Intro Special, Drop In, or Membership (cheapest option per class).
4) Purchase your registration fee (does not apply to students on an Intro Special).
5) Sign up for your classes!
You may make a recurring reservation for the same time each week by choosing ‘make a recurring reservation’ and using the ‘Register Unpaid’ button. Your available classes will be applied at the time of class. Or, you can select an individual class on one date by making a single reservation.
6) Manage your account through our student portal to view or change your schedule, manage your account trough our student portal (REGISTER / LOG IN button).

Where are classes held?
Group classes are held at Flamenco Haven 4000 Factoria Boulevard SE, Bellevue Wa. 98006.  The studio is located in the corner between AT&T and La Vie En Rose Nail Salon.
What is the distinction between the different flamenco forms called palos?
Each of the palos reflects a different song form of Flamenco, with distinct tonalities, melodies, rhythmic structures and verses. Some palos follow the 12 beat structure, and can be full of counter beats. Sevillanas has a set pattern as a folk dance in 3/4 time, while others follow a 4/4 or 6/8 beat structure. 
What is compás?
The rhythmic structure and basic foundation of all flamenco. When learning one rhythm, you will find that others have similarities, yet are different in their accents and intention. Palmas or hand clapping help keep time, and takes practice to develop an ear for the rhythmic patterns. Dancers must learn how to play palmas in order to master the complexities of compás.
How do you play castanets?
The cords tie over the thumbs and the fingers roll against the outer shell. Usually there are notches in the top to tell you which is higher toned and therefore played in the right hand (if right handed).
I want to sign up for a bata de cola (long skirt), mantón (shawl), or abanico (fan) class but I don't have the props. Can I still attend class? Where can I buy them?
You will eventually need to invest in your own props for class. We do have a few props available for students new to those props, but quantities are limited. If you do not already have your own props, please email us when you register for class to let us know you would like to borrow one. When it comes time to purchase your own, your instructor will explain your options of size, quality and help you source one. For bata de colas, we recommend having one custom made to your height and size as the length of the skirt will change according to your measurements. 

We recommend Fabrica Flamenca (a Spanish store that sells online) for costumes, shoes, and batas de cola.

Flamenco Terminology

DANCE

Hands:

Floreo (Flo-RAY-oh): flowering hand movements
Afuera (Ah-FWEY-rah): outward hand movement
Adentro (Ah-THEN-troh): inward hand movement
Palmas (PAHL-muss): rhythmic hand-clapping
Sordas (SOR-thas): muted (literally: “deaf”) referring to softer hand clapping
Claras (CLA-rass): bright and clear, referring to loud hand clapping
Fuerte (FWARE-te): strong hard
Pitos (PEE-tohss): finger snapping
Arms:
Braceo (Brah-SAY-oh): arm movements
Brazos (BRAH-sohss): arms

Footwork:

Chufla (CHOO-flah) Chaflán (CHA-flahn): one-foot golpe’s and the other foot simultaneously slides along the floor
Escobilla (Es-coh-BEE-yah): long footwork section
Golpe (GOAL-pay): stamp with the entire foot
Planta (PLAN-tah): ball of the foot
Punta (POON-tah): toe
Tacón (Tah-CONE): heel
Látigo (Law-TEE-go): means whip, to brush the ball and heel out and in
Dibujo- (Dee-BOO-hoh) drawing pattern of the feet
Taconeo (Tah-cone-AY-oh): footwork in general
Marcaje (Mar-CAH-hey) Marcar (Mar-CARH): keep time/marking time
Zapateado (ZAH-pah-te-ah-doh): footwork, also the name of a rhythmic dance featuring footwork

Whole body:

Sentao/Sentado (Sen-TAOH, Sen-TA-doh): slightly bent knees used to achieve smooth footwork without a bounce.
Careo (Cah-REH-oh): meeting face to face at the end of the fourth copla of Sevillanas
Pasada (Pah-SAH-dah): passing step in sevillanas
Paseo (Pah-SAY-oh): promenade step to side, usually one compas
Rond de Jambe (Rohn-de-john): circular or round movement of the leg

Spins:

Vuelta (VWELL-tah): turn Por Delante (front turn) Por Detras (Back turn)
Quebradas (kay-BRA-dah): means broken, back bend turn
Pencil turns: keeping legs and feet together while turning
Golpe turns: stamp foot then push off to turn
Airplane turns: diagonal arms while turning

Parts of a dance:

Letra (LET-rah): lyrics/verse of a song
Copla (KOH-plah): set pattern of a song/verse
Llamada (Yah-MAH-dah): call to begin or end a dance section Llamar (to call)
Remate (Ray-MAH-tay): punctuation of the singing with footwork
Redoble (Ray-DOH-bleh): to double up a step or combination
Salida (Sah-LEE-dah): entrance of a song or dance, also known as Entrada
Cierre (See-YEH-reh): act of ending or closing a phrase
Desplante (Des-PLAHN-te): to display, type of Llamada on 1-2-3 in the Bulerias letra signifies a change in choreographic sequences and is usually 2 compasses’ or more.
Cambio (CAHM-bee-oh): to change footwork or braceo, or change in music pattern

VOICE

Cante (KAHN-tay): singing Chico (light song) Jondo (deep/solemn song)
Salida (Sah-LEE-dah) or Temple (TEM-play): singer’s opening or warm-up or start of the baile (going or coming out)
Letra (LET-rah) or Copla (KOH-plah): verse
Estribillo (Eh-streh-BEE-yoh): Short phrases sung as repeated words, or an ending chorus song where the dancer completes the dance.
Coletilla (Coh-leh-TEE-ah): a little tail to the letra, so that it becomes one long letra.
Cantaor/a (Khan-tah-OR/ORA): male/female singer

GUITAR

Falseta (Fal-SET-ah): melodic themes and variations on the guitar
Rasgueado (Ras-gay-AH-do) or Rasgueo (Ras-GAY-oh): strong, rhythmic guitar strumming which is the trademark of flamenco guitar
Cejilla Say-HEE-yah): capo on a guitar
Tocaor (TOH-kah-your/yourah): male/female flamenco guitarist
Toque (TOH-kay): guitar playing Toque Libre (playing free form)
Silencio (Sea-LEN-see-oh): 6 slow compás (lyrical passage) in an Alegrias baile
Castellana (Kas-tee-YA-nah): 4 compás long combination footwork/remate section that leads away from the silencio into an escobilla. 

PERCUSSION

Cajón (Ca-HONE): the most popular percussion device in modern flamenco, literally means ‘box’, referring to shipping crates once used by Peruvian dock workers as instruments
Castañuelas (Cas-tah-nyew-EL-ass) or Palillos (Pa-LEE-yohss): castanets, hand-held percussion used by dancers for the forms Sevillanas and Fandangos, and one of the most identifiable sounds in flamenco, not used in pure flamenco
Palmeros/as (Pahl-MARE-os/as): men/woman that clap while musicians play
Tapao (Tah-POW) Palo seco (PAH-low Say-koh): without guitar accompaniment.

GENERAL VOCABULARY

Aficionado/a (Oh-FISH-ee-oh-nah-doh/dah): connoisseur or fan educated in flamenco palos
Palos (PAH-lohss): various flamenco forms
Compás (Comb-POSS): meter, cycle or time signature of all flamenco palos
Contratiempo (CONE-trah-tee-EM-poh): counter time/rhythm, the “up” beat
Sincopado (Seen-koh-PAH-doh): syncopated rhythm
Duende (DWEN-day): the “spirit” that possesses the soul and inspires a flamenco artist
Pellizco (Pel-LEEZ-coh): means pinch or nip, small spontaneous gestures. Can also mean spicy, flirtatious and playful.
Jaleo (Ha-LAY-oh): shouts of encouragement made by band-members or members of the audience: e.g., “OLE!”
Calo (KAH-loh): language of the Spanish Gypsies
Cuadro Flamenco (KWAH-droh): unit of Flamenco dancers, singers and guitarists
Juerga (HWARE-gah): flamenco jam session or private party
Tablao (Tab-LAU): stage or cafe where Flamenco is performed (caberet)
Café Cantante (Calf-E Kahn-TAHN-teh): coffee house with Flamenco shows during the “Golden Age” of the 1800s
Manton (Mahn-TONE): embroidered silk shawl with long fringes
Mantoncillo or
Tres Picos (Tres PEE-kohs): small shawls with 3 points
Payo (PIE-oh): non-gypsy
Soniquete (Sohnee-KEH-teh): to describe the rhythmic and melodic essence of the music, as one with the music or groove
Rueda (Roo-EH-dah): cycles of compases, usually 4 depending on palo (melodic cycle)
Cantes de ida y vuelta: Flamenco songs that share their origin in Latin America mainly in Cuba
Zapatos (Zah-PAH-tohs): shoes
Bailaor/a (Buy-la-OR/ORA): Male/female dancer