How to dance the flamenco
by Sue Mayfield Geiger

Browse resale shops and buy a pair of castanets or spurge for the authentic ones, hand-painted; made in Spain.
If you can’t find a traje de gitana (flamenco outfit), a ruffly skirt will do.
A long-sleeved lacy top is appropriate, but not necessary.
Do not wear tap shoes; flamenco shoes are made with nails hammered into the heels and toes of the soles.
The headgear is important: A red carnation or decorative peineta (comb).
A pericón (Spanish fan).
Bold ruby-red lipstick.
Download Cajón (drum) and flamenco guitar music.
Start out with slow, concise movements, gradually moving your feet in a stomping motion until the music accelerates into 6/8 time. Wave your arms and hands like you are telling a story.
There are many YouTube videos to get you started. Or…

If you cannot gather the above, just drape yourself in wildly colored scarves, listen to a recording of guitarist Paco de Lucía as he strums a wicked gypsy melody, raise both arms high above your head and vigorously play your air castanets. Olé!

PHOTO: Flamenco dancer by Iatya Prunkova, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As a young girl, I saw my first performance of flamenco dancers on the Ed Sullivan Show viewed on a tiny (and fuzzy) black and white television. I was mesmerized and fascinated. Years later, while attending “Fiesta” in San Antonio, Texas, I wandered down a side street along the river and heard gypsy guitar music, tambourines, and a loud-clapping sound. After several jaunts through back alleys, down some concrete steps and onto an old cobblestone street, an “off-off-Fiesta” of sorts was taking place in an area only known to locals. A small audience was sitting on benches or draped across sidewalks as ten or so dancers dressed in vibrant colors were stomping and swaying to drums and guitars. My mind went back to that black and white performance I’d seen on television. I watched as they danced the flamenco with intensity, and their souls were on fire. So was mine. Later, I would learn that the flamenco dance originated in southern Spain centuries ago, but much of the true origin is debatable since many of the details are lost in history. The dance itself is mainly associated with the pain of love and love in all its aspects. Their songs often translate into something like, “I’ve seen a man live with more than a hundred knife wounds, and then I saw him die from a single dance.” After that night in San Antonio, I made it a point to see flamenco troupes whenever they were appearing on stage. So, during the pandemic, I danced my heart out, listening to Spanish guitars while smothered in the only makeshift costumes I could find.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sue Mayfield Geiger is a writer, singer, and model living on the Texas Gulf Coast. When not writing about home décor, fashion, or a new restaurant opening, she reads and writes poetry. Her literary publications include Grayson Books, RiverLit, Dos Gatos Press, The Binnacle (U of Maine), Of Burgers and Barrooms (Main Street Rag), Red Wolf Journal, Waco WordFest Anthology, Perfume River Poetry, THEMA, Silver Birch Press, and forthcoming in Odes and Elegies: Eco poetry from the Gulf Coast, and others. Visit her on Instagram @LovieSue and @Beyond70ish.