As a dancer, I have often encountered a strange conception of what dancing really is nd how one thinks of this art. Many theories have been offered to explain how one achieves mastery of a discipline that requires just as much dedication as learning to play an instrument or embarking on a course of study which demands dedication to detail and particulars.
I have been astonished to discover many students are unprepared to begin with simple technic and basic movements to train the body and mind.
The concept of beginning with fundamentals without music is an idea that does not enter into the thinking of the beginner.
Consequently, this attitude results in confusion about how to progress in the study of the work.
Much has been written about the process of acquiring knowledge in this particular art form with all its many aspects. The special methods of working in Spanish dance and Flamenco is a challenge in a very unique way, Since the music is unwritten. It is open-ended and the dancer must lead the musicians into the dance patterns. There is no other way. This concept is difficult to understand for the unvitiated. An Andalusian flamenco singer (cantaor) Miguel Galvez with whom I worked on several occasions, told me that in Spain the song comes first. (en Espana, el cante viene primero)
The popular view is that music is the inspiration which inspires one to dance. The idea of moving with no accompaniment is foreign to someone who thinks of dance in any form. This firm belief in the efficacy of music as a support to moving in time and space seems an excepted idea.
Flamenco or its true name, Cante Jondo (deep or profound song) is based on song rhythms out of which the guitarists derive the melodies or falsetas used to accompany singers. The rhythm or compas drives the work. The dancer must put down this structure as a percussive lead or conductor of the the work. There is no other way to perform in this art. With vast experience I know this is the method.. The rhythm is the dance and melodies are subservient to the whole.
As I have written before, the score is written as the dance proceeds. Flamenco is organic.
With experience and training this concept is absorbed. Either one is exposed from early childhood to the “compas” or it is acquired through much study. This is challenging as all art is but the reward is mastery of the form.
In Spain, the performer with the special knowledge is called enterado or informed.