Posted on 16 Jan 2017
At Cornerstone, we are lucky to meet and work with wonderful companies including Oxfordshire's Camino del Flamenco. Camino del Flamenco are one of the largest Flamenco schools outside of Spain. Based in Oxfordshire, they have been running Flamenco dance classes for adults and children successfully since their opening in 2003. This fantastic company is run by Rosa Maria Reed.
Rosa's classes take place at different arts venues in Oxfordshire including Cornerstone. Click here to find out more.
Rosa treats us this week to an inspiring blog post about how she brought Flamenco to life in Oxfordshire!
So grab a cuppa or maybe a glass of sangria and enjoy the read...
Camino del Flamenco translates into English as “the way of Flamenco” and that way means both the path you travel to find something and also the way in which a thing works. So when I was looking for a suitable name for my new company, the name “Camino del Flamenco” seemed just perfect – and that was the name I used.
Having danced and taught professionally since the 1980 I thought I pretty much knew everything there was to know about Flamenco, but when I moved from London to Oxfordshire in 2003, the Flamenco bubble I’d been living in was well and truly burst and I had to find another way, a different Flamenco path.
Before I moved to Oxfordshire I’d never met anyone who didn’t know what Flamenco was. I’d never met anyone before who hadn’t seen and heard Flamenco. Suddenly I found myself teaching a room full of people who had never even seen Flamenco dance performed – who had absolutely no idea what it was actually meant to look like! I was using Spanish words and phrases which I thought everyone knew (and now no-one did) and having to explain the time signature of Flamenco music to a completely baffled room full of people.
It was in answer to these new problems that I came up with a new solution and Camino del Flamenco was born, which was a different way of teaching and a different kind of Flamenco path.
I decided that the way to tackle the problems of not knowing and understanding about Flamenco would come via different paths that would lead to the same end. So as well as teaching the adult classes in a more accessible, fun, entertaining and social way, I also started teaching children’s classes. Just as they do in Spain, I was bringing Flamenco into the lives of children from a young age, an age where they just accepted the technique, music, style and rhythms without question and now I teach children who have been learning with me since they were very little and they dance as well as children of their own age do in Spain.
The final part of the Flamenco solution was when I started my Spanish Nights. These are shows where we bring professional Flamenco dance companies from Spain (and some Spanish companies who are now based in the UK) to perform theatre length shows of the highest quality but in intimate settings, as small as the very popular Flamenco Tablaos in Spain. These are Flamenco clubs which hold around 70 people, where you can see great Flamenco danced, sung and played up-close. The power, artistry and passion of Flamenco, seen in such close quarters, is simply mesmerising and since I began the Spanish Nights in 2010, these have grown and grown in popularity until now we know that we will sell out every show and now run them in two different venues.
Now, when I stand up in front of a new Spanish Night audience, a new class of students or at a taster workshop, I find frequently that people will tell me that they are familiar with Flamenco, that they’ve already seen a show and know what it should be like. Perhaps the most rewarding moment came for me last year, when a new student told me that they’d been to see something called “Spanish Night” and that it had made them want to learn Flamenco, or in their own words “set them on the Flamenco path”.
Rosa Maria Reed.
Camino del Flamenco.