Thank you Bambi la Belle for sitting down to tell us all about her recent trip to Spain – read below to find out more about this invigorating experience:
I was very lucky to get accepted earlier this year into a fantastic Summer dance intensive, run by Dance Master Class, a fantastic international company with incredible faculty. My program was two weeks full time, in Granada, which is in Southern Spain at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I was pleasantly surprised to get accepted and looked forward to learning lots of new skills and just being a student again! The faculty for the program included amazing instructors from around the world, and live pianists that accompanied our classes. Interaction with this celebrated faculty certainly encouraged personal grown in not just technical areas, but also artistic areas.
Now, the first thing that I learnt when I started my Summer dance intensive is that they call it an ‘intensive’ for a reason! Our program involved anywhere from seven to ten hours of dancing each day and putting 110% into every single class was hard work. It took my body (and brain) a few days to adapt, but as soon as I had adjusted to my new teachers and the classes, the hours weren’t so overwhelming. I had tried to prepare myself before I left by increasing my cardio work and taking more classes for myself, but the first few days were still a shock to the system! My schedule was busy and varied, with a range of different classes not only each week, but each day. A typical schedule for each day was:
9am – 10:00am Spanish language lesson
10:15am – 11:30am Stretch and Conditioning
11:45am – 12:00pm Classical ballet
12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch break
1:00pm – 2:15pm Jazz
2:30pm – 4:00pm Contemporary
4:30pm – 6:00pm Flamenco
6:15pm – 7:15pm Yoga or Pilates
We were also lucky enough to have lectures on body conditioning, injury prevention, postural analysis, music appreciation and more, as well as special workshops in choreography, improvisation and repertoire.
At the end of our first week we had the opportunity to attend a live flamenco show, named ‘Tierra Lorca’ in the Generalife Gardens of the Alhambra palace. The palace was such a gorgeous setting for a really exciting show. It was great to see the skills we were learning in class put on display by such talented professionals. The flamenco was set to live music (including guitars and piano) and to Spanish poems of great love and loss sung by opera singers.
One of the biggest challenges of the program was the language barrier! Our flamenco teacher (who was a critically acclaimed dancer with an extensive performance history) didn’t speak any English at all. So the entire class was taught in Spanish, including directions, corrections, and discussions regarding timing and emotion for the choreography. It made it really difficult to understand what he wanted from me, but I tried my hardest to make up for it by paying attention to all the little details when he demonstrated his movements and sometimes asking the Spanish speaking students next to me to translate some of the trickier speeches!
It really was a great experience, as I made lasting friendships, valuable connections, gained confidence, learnt a new language, tried brand new styles of performing, and widened my perspectives; all whilst visiting beautiful Spain for the first time! I am looking forward to applying for another intensive next year… keep your fingers crossed for me!