Spanish culture has started gaining prominence in Nigeria. From consumption of Spanish telenovelas and Spanish music to enthusiasm for Spanish dancing, Nigerians have shown love for all things Spanish.
Spanish dancing is a driver of the growth of Spanish culture in Nigeria. Professional Spanish dance troupes now perform in different cities and teach those willing to learn the dances. Consequently, many Nigerians who consider a career in dancing have started taking up Spanish dance classes alongside other top dance styles around the world.
At Superprof, we love helping people to acquire new knowledge. This is why we have written this guide to help you learn Spanish dancing in Nigeria. Let's get started!
Flamenco Dance: Spain's Traditional Dance
Flamenco is hardly the only dance to come out of Spain, however it remains the most popular. The flamenco dance originated in Andalusia in Spain over two centuries ago. But even with the passage of time, flamenco still holds high appeal.
While it has Spanish roots, flamenco has evolved over time due to the influence of other world cultures. For instance, some dancers combine Spanish flamenco with Oriental belly dancing to create 'flamenco belly dance fusion'.
You can even combine flamenco dancing with African dances moves to form new styles if you are creative enough!
Flamenco, like most Spanish dances, is a 'social dance'. Social dance is a non-competitive or recreational form of dancing performed alone or with a partner. Social dances are popular at social events including club parties, weddings, birthdays, business functions and informal gatherings.
A Guide to Flamenco Dancing
As you will learn in flamenco lessons, the flamenco dance is expressive: it involves vigorous body movement and complex steps. Flamenco dancers use all body parts while dancing including the arms and feet, just like the practice in African dances.
Generally, flamenco involves three core components: dancing, guitar playing and singing. Neither of these parts supersedes the other, as they are all important. Without the guitar and songs, for instance, flamenco would lack rhythm.
Many a dancer will tell you dancing is difficult without an accompanying rhythm. Thus, the importance of music to flamenco dancing cannot be overstated.
Flamenco is not a rigid dance form, meaning there's no wrong way to dance flamenco. As a dancer, you're free to move your body based on the rhythm.
Students learning flamenco dancing are taught to be expressive with their body as it is the case in Indian-bollywood dancing too. Flamenco is a marriage of rhythm, music and movement. If you are not enthusiastic about dancing, you may get weary because flamenco is a high-energy dance.
Are There Other Spanish Dancing Styles?
Like we said earlier, flamenco is not the only Spanish dance, although it's perhaps the most popular. Spain is a hotbed of cultural creativity and has birthed many well-known social dance styles. A good example is the popular fandango style of dance that has Spanish origins.
We have compiled a list of traditional dances to also come out from Spain. Here they are:
- El Vito
In Spanish dance classes, students can also learn dances unique to different regions in Spain. For example, the Sevillana dance originated from Seville just as the Aragonaise dance has origins in the Spanish region of Aragon.
Nevertheless, you should not take Spanish dances for Latin or Cuban social dances even though they share similarities. The similarities arise from a shared culture: the regions have elements of Hispanic culture as they are former Spanish colonies.
Social Latin dances include salsa, rumba, cha-cha, and tango while dances from Cuba include Danzon, guaguanco and momba. And just as traditional Spanish dances, the Latin and Cuban dance styles emphasise rhythm and movement.
If you take the time, you'll notice plenty of similarities between the different dance styles from Latin America, Cuba and Spain. Salsa and cha-cha, for instance, involve lively steps, a quality shared with flamenco and many dances from Spain.
Other Latin/Cuban dances have more pronounced Spanish influences. A good example is the Rumba, an Afro Cuban social dance form.
The Rumba was crafted by the black people of Cuba via a fusion of cultural elements of Spain and Africa. The result is the afro-fusion dance movement that is now studied by dance students across the world.
You should consider the popular ballet dance, too, if you desire a dance career.
What dance style to choose?
Given the multiplicity of Spanish dances, it is hard to choose the one to learn. However, what we advise students is to pick a dance style based on what they like. An individual who loves exuding sensuality may like flamenco while castanet may suit one with musical skills.
Since Spanish/Latin social dances have different levels of difficulty, your ability will determine what style you decide to learn. Pasodoble, rumba, cha-cha rank as the hardest Spanish/Latin dances to learn.
If you're just starting, try to learn simple dances including flamenco or salsa. By the time you're done, you'll be used to the intricate steps of social dancing and will be able to take more complex styles.
If you live in an area with strong Latin American influences, you may have the chance to observe Spanish/Latin dances. An example is the Brazilian quarters in Lagos which used to house several Brazilian slaves. Residents in such areas often have carnivals where they perform some Latin social dances or combine them with dances from Africa.
Where to Take Spanish Dance Classes
You may be wondering if it's possible to learn something as specialised as Spanish dancing in Nigeria. The short answer is: yes, you can. There are dance schools in urban areas such as Lagos and Abuja that offer Spanish dance classes for those who would like to learn Spanish or Latin dancing in Nigeria.
Moreover, dance companies from different parts of the world come to Nigeria to perform. And in some cases, they offer lessons to locals, often for free. Such lessons and classes help ease you gently into the world of Spanish dancing.
The Internet has also given students the opportunity to take Spanish dance classes online. Different online tutoring websites offer free video lessons that teach steps necessary in dances including salsa, flamenco, rumba, and so on.
In particular, online flamenco lessons have become popular among young Nigerians without money for expensive dance classes. For instance, many YouTubers often post tutorial videos on flamenco dancing.
Take Private Spanish Dancing Lessons
Dance schools have become a popular option for people wanting to learn Spanish dancing. However, dance schools rarely offer one-on-one tuition that would guarantee success in classes. Instead, the focus is on a group to the detriment of the individual student.
Say you want to learn flamenco dancing, private flamenco lessons will be better for you. This is because the tutor focuses on only one person during flamenco lessons: you.
Even if you prefer online learning, a private tutor will still be beneficial. Through virtual flamenco lessons, a private tutor can direct your learning and make you a better dancer.
Superprof has tutors in Nigeria willing to provide classes in cha-cha, rumba, salsa, flamenco, bolero, and other Spanish dances. The classes are hardly free but they are affordable enough for everyone. Besides, most of our tutors offer first lessons free so you can evaluate their teaching style before making a decision.
Music Used for Spanish Dancing
As we have said before, music is the life of Spanish dancing. Without music, a lively dance such as paso doble or rumba would become a soulless display, devoid of any excitement.
This is not peculiar to Spanish dance alone. Dances from Africa and other parts of the world use music to create rhythms that inspire the movement of dancers. The way many of these dances are structured makes it impossible to enjoy them without music and rhythm.
Let's see the music used in different Spanish dance styles:
- Flamenco Music
The flamenco dance movement can trace its origins to the French Gypsy Kings of old. This reflects in the unique music style used for flamenco dancing.
Flamenco music involves a guitar player belting out fast notes that correspond with the dancer's steps. Flamenco songs are usually full of life and awesome rhythms that easily inspire dancing.
- Paso Doble
Just like flamenco, paso doble dances use lively music. Most of the time, dance teachers play old music recordings paso doble classes. But it is common for dance troupes to have live orchestras making music for dancing.
Taking the time to pick out good music for dance lessons is crucial for students. The wrong songs will encourage lethargy and prevent proper movement. With the right music, students will find movement easy and satisfying.
Requirements for Flamenco Dancing
Before you sign up for flamenco classes, you should get all the gear needed. Spanish dances place importance on the aesthetics of the dancer. Therefore, any prospective dancer must have the required apparel for dancing.
Some dance schools may provide dance gear. However, the best way to learn is to have your gear so you can practise on your own.
Flamenco dance requires women to don complete traditional costumes. However, you can opt to wear an ornate skirt along with a vintage lace top.
Potential colour combinations are black clothes on red shoes or red clothes on black shoes, although the latter is common.
Paso doble also uses similar clothing, especially for the men. This includes black suits and black hard-soled shoes like you see in Irish dancing.
Want to learn Spanish dance styles? You cannot go wrong with Superprof tutors. You can even get a tutor that teaches African and Spanish dances if you wish to learn both. What are you waiting for?
Next up is the rhythmic dance all the way from Ireland!