5 Reasons You Should Learn Flamenco In 2020
If you think about Flamenco, your first thoughts are probably of polka-dot skirts, intricate guitar, and clapping. And we’re not about to say that’s wrong, but there’s so much more to Flamenco!
Not only it is a gorgeous traditional skill which makes up an essential part of Spanish and Latin American culture, but it has a whole lot of physical, mental and wellbeing benefits that you probably didn’t know about.
So, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 reasons why you should learn Flamenco.
Learn Flamenco, Uncover Self Expression
While we hesitate to say this is the most important benefit of Flamenco, and the reason why so many people fall in love with this particular dance form – we’re going to say it. This IS the best reason for why you should learn Flamenco in 2020.
Flamenco, as an art form, is less about exercise and more about uncovering a sense of your self within the dance.
At its core, Flamenco is about expressing those emotions that, more often than not, Western dances don’t allow. Sorrow, anger, and other strong emotions that give Flamenco its magnetic appeal.
Many people find a new sense of self-expression when they dance Flamenco, building confidence in themselves because of the power that the dance requires, not just from your core muscles, but from your core. That little part of you that is kept quiet during the day – you can unleash it in Flamenco!
While Flamenco is great for physical and mental wellbeing, at its centre is a method of exercising emotions in a physical story, a dance that is mainly for the dancer and the guitarist – the audience is secondary. It allows the dancer to feel connected with their body, to experience the thrill of a dance that uses emotion and passion to drive its movements.
The intricate footwork and arm movements, the palos and compás (structures and rhythms) are all part of what makes Flamenco so enthralling to those that learn it, and who uncover its secret – it makes you feel really good
Sure, it’s got a whole host of physical benefits, which we’ll look at next, but really, Flamenco is so much more…
Feeling intrigued already? Why not check out our Flamenco classes here at Battersea Spanish and discover your inner flamenca or flamenco just waiting to come out!
Physical Benefits of Flamenco
We all know that exercise is good for us. We know it is, but sometimes gathering the motivation to get up and at ‘em can be difficult. Especially in the cold months of winter when you’d rather be snuggled up in the warmth with a cup of something hot.
Lucky for us all, not only is Flamenco dancing a gorgeous, traditional art form that has been practised for over 500 years, it is hugely beneficial for our bodies. Flamenco has a huge list of physical benefits that range from improving flexibility to strengthening muscles.
Because of the style of Flamenco and the ways in which it moves our bodies, as a practice, it improves physical fitness in so many ways:
- Improves the function of joints, keeping them moving smoothly and prevents future ailments
- Encourages the hands and feet to move independently, helping boost coordination and improving strength in differing parts of the body
- Strengthens muscles in our legs, arms and abdomen because of the style of movements required, and the fluidity of the dance itself
- Eliminates toxins, burns calories and strengthens and tones muscles for all over well-being!
Mental Health Benefits Of Flamenco
While there is an abundance of research into what really helps our brains out and gets us out of mental funks, per say, one of the holy grails of brain training is physical exercise.
Dancing releases serotonin, which is the chemical responsible for making us feel good. This is important for improving overall mental health and wellbeing, but also addressing conditions that can make us feel low, such as anxiety and depression.
Aerobic exercise, even walking, improves episodic memory and executive-control functions by around 20%, scientists have discovered. Exercise stimulates the parts of our brains that carry signals, stimulating new synapses – the connections in our brains which make us good at planning, dealing with ambiguity, multitasking and remembering things.
Dancing Surprises Our Brains
But besides the science of it all, dancing is good for our brain in more day-to-day senses too.
Dancing surprises our brains, because it requires a high level of anticipation and co-ordination – you can’t synch up with a rhythm without anticipating that beat. And our brains find this anticipation and reward combination exciting, which is why we find dancing so pleasurable and watching other people dance too.
Dancing of any kind is also meditative – it’s almost impossible to think about anything else when you’re dancing because it focuses your mind on the present moment.
Learning that new routine, focusing on the position of your body, it all removes distractions from your mind and puts us in an altered conscious state. One that is documented to help reduce stress, improve cognition, and improve our mental wellbeing.
Dancing Is Therapeutic
A lot of people think that dancing, and music, is therapeutic because it influences our brains in a way which improves our mental health.
This is because dancing activates neurochemical changes in our brains in different ways: reward, motivation and pleasure; stress and arousal; immunity; social affiliation. This is why dancing is used as therapy for so many different illnesses or symptoms, including physical conditions, mental health illnesses such as schizophrenia, behavioural problems and a whole host of other ailments.
Basically, dancing not only makes you feel good, it actually helps you stay mentally healthy!
Experience A New Culture
Diving into Flamenco opens up all the goodness of Spanish and Latin American culture!
Because Flamenco is so deeply rooted in Spanish and Latin American culture, it’s almost impossible to learn Flamenco without getting involved in this vibrant culture and all that’s associated with it.
Learning Flamenco means you’re learning an ancient, traditional art form that’s been practised by Spanish and Latin American cultures for over 500 years. Simply by discovering the movements of Flamenco, you’re connecting to the passion that sits at the heart of these cultures. Uncovering the dance that at its heart is all about expressing emotion, and storytelling.
Flamenco was born as a result of a population that wanted to express itself – having been born in Andalucia after the convergence of the Andalucian and gypsy populations in this area in the 1700s.
Though its true origins are difficult to trace, Flamenco emerged as a way of life that generated a sense of self for large populations in this area of Spain – so by learning Flamenco you’re tapping into Spanish and Latin American history!
It was even named a World Heritage Treasure in 2010, which really cements it as a true piece of culture.
So if you’re looking to explore Flamenco, expect to immerse yourself in the colourful, vibrant history of Spain and Latin America, and learn all about these amazing traditions and cultures!
Slow Down The Aging Process
Yes, you read that correctly.
As we get older, engaging in regular physical activity improves mental and physical fitness and can actually reduce the signs of ageing in the brain which leads to complex conditions like Alzheimers.
Dancing has been found to have a profound impact on counteracting and slowing down the age-related decline in mental and physical health.
Not only this, but dancing Latin American styles, such as Flamenco, require dancers to learn steps, arm-patterns, formations, differing speeds and rhythms which all benefit the parts of the brain that look after the learning process.
Because there’s lots of details to remember within Flamenco, it’s great for improving the parts of the brain that can be most affected by age-related decline – the hippocampus.
So Flamenco doesn’t just get you up and moving, it also increases the performance of your brain, makes you feel good and can even reduce the ageing process!
Is there anything this amazing, beautiful dance form can’t do? We’ve yet to find the answer…
Why not see how good Flamenco makes you feel, and sign up to one of our Flamenco classes in London? We cater to all experiences and levels, so whether this is your first time trying your feet (excuse the pun) at this gorgeous, traditional dance, or you’re an experienced dancer and want to brush up your skill, we’ve got you covered!