Flamenco Classes

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Dance Teacher for Elementary School Class

Feb 2011

I am looking for a dance teacher to come and teach a dance class, at an Oakland school near Lake Merritt, to my 7 year old students. There are 21 kids in the class and most have little or no dance experience. We can use the stage at school for the class. I would be open to any type of dance maybe modern or an ethnic dance. The class would be about an hour for 10-12 weeks. It would be great if it could culminate with a short performance. The teacher should have experience working with this age group. Thanks! an elementary teacher

If flamenco dance is an option, I can very highly recommend Sara Ayala. She has 30+ years experience teaching and is great with kids. She brings skirts for girls, vests for boys, fans and castanets for student use, and usually also has live guitar accompaniment (no extra charge for guitarist). I am sure she could organize a performance, and if students decide to continue with her (either if your group class extends or students opt for private lessons) all her students get many performance opportunities around the East Bay. She currently teaches a children's class at Harding Elementary in El Cerrito, and children's private lessons (and adult classes as well). Her phone number is (510)527-9977. Email: joanne.ayala.cooke [at] gmail.com. Tana

Flamenco Classes at Ashkenaz

June 2005

I'm interested in taking an adult Flamenco dance class at Ashkenaz in Berkeley. I don't know anyone else who takes this type of dance, and was wondering if anyone has any experience with any of the three instructors who teach Flamenco there: Yaelisa, Alicia Zamora, Carola Zertuche. THANKS in advance!

I've taken flamenco classes from Alicia and Yaelisa and watched Carola's classes often (because they're right before Yaelisa's). Whose classes you prefer will probably depend on how much other dance experience you've had. Alicia Zamora's classes are the easiest and the most welcoming. She's very warm and friendly and good at working with people of all different levels. I actually prefer Yaelisa's classes, because they're more technical and challenging, but I'm a former ballet dancer, so my taste may be different from yours. Some people find Yaelisa difficult as a person. She's certainly got high standards. She's incredibly musical and you'll learn a lot from her. If nothing else, go see her company dance! As for Carola, I don't think she does any beginning classes. I've never been brave enough to take one of her classes. They're wonderful to watch, but most of her students look like they've been dancing flamenco for years. Love to dance

Flamenco dance class for 4 year-old

May 2005

My four year-old daughter has expressed interest in taking a flamenco dance class, but the only children's classes I know of start around age 6 or 7. Any leads regarding a flamenco class for a child her age would be much appreciated! Thank you. Anne

My 4 year old has suddenly become obsessed with flamenco, of all things! She is currently taking ballet, but want to take flamenco dance. Is there anyplace that teaches flamenco dance for someone that young? Or should I steer her towards tap until she gets older?
foot-stompin' 4 year olds' mama

Lucky! I'm obsessed with flamenco but I can't convince my 8- year-old to take a class for love or money. Anyway, if I could, the first place I'd start is Ashkenaz in Berkeley, where Alicia Zamorra teaches flamenco classes. I don't know if she is still teaching kids (especially that young), but she will know who does. Your daughter would probably start out learning the Sevillanas, which are a stock folk dance sort of thing, and pretty easy to learn. Everyone, even the children, in Spain, can do the Sevillanas. Secondly, even more important than the steps is the compas, that is, the beat, of flamenco music, Much of it is in a 12- count that confounds those of us grownups who didn't grow up in Spain. There's no point in dancing if you don't understand the copmas, so the earlier you can marinate her in these sounds, the easier time she'll have when she actually starts learning to dance. I recommend the Rough Guide to Flamenco as a good starter for you - lots of artists, both ''puro'' and ''Nuevo'' so you can get a sense of what's out there. Just pop on the CD and let her stomp around, get used to the rhythms and beats. Finally, there are DVDs or videos you can get to watch, and let her soak up the ''aire'' or attitude of flamenco, since that's such a big part of the fun and excitement. You can pick up some here: http://www.flamenco-world.com/flamenco.htm Just by watching some of these, my so-called uninterested daughter, has picked up a number of steps and turns. It's really awe-inspiring to see how easily young children pick this stuff up. Happy dancing with your nina! flamenco mama

I recently spoke with flamenco dance teacher Sara Ayala. She has experience working with children and is willing to teach a young children's class on Saturday afternoons at her studio in El Cerrito if there is sufficient interest. Please contact her at 510-527-9977 if you're interested. Anne

Flamenco teacher for teenager

Oct 2003

Years ago our daughter took Flamenco dance lessons from a wonderful, talented woman I think named Sarita, in Berkeley. Does anyone know where she teaches now? Or does anyone have a recommendation for Flameno classes for a 14 year old? Thanks. lf

An excellent teacher for your daughter would be Alicia Zamorra. She teaches at Ashkenaz in Berkeley on Saturdays, and at a studio in El Ceritto on Wednesday nights. I took flamenco with her for a year before recently moving out of the area. Her classes are structured - students learn the first four coplas of the Sevillanas before advancing on to other set dances such as Tangillo, Bulerias and Alegrias. The thing I most liked about Alicia's classes is that the vibe is friendly and supportive. She puts the beginners up front, and takes special care to make sure they understand the movement. Even the more advanced dancers are helpful. Flamenco is a living art-form, and it's challenging. There's a huge flamenco scene in the Bay Area, and many teachers to take choreography classes from, but most are not beginner-friendly. I strongly recommend Alicia's classes. Have fun! Julie T