Thoughts About the San Diego Flamenco Dance Scene By Guest Writer Marisol Apostol

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Over the years I’ve received a number of inquiries regarding Flamenco dancing in San Diego, so I wanted to get an expert on the subject to talk a little about the San Diego Flamenco dance scene.  Marisol Apostol is a local San Diego flamenco dance teacher who writes for and designs award-winning jewelry when she is not dancing. Hope you enjoy it!

John ;-)



Thoughts About the San Diego Flamenco Dance Scene By Guest Writer Marisol Apostol

I love flamenco.

Yes, fast percussive foot stomping with sharp hand-clapping and powerful lament-like singing. There is nothing like it… It’s raw.

Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s when the Gypsy Kings where in full swing, I dreamt of dancing their contagious bubbly rhythms. Every time their songs came up on the radio I would strike a pose and stomp my feet, not that I knew was I was doing, but I kept dreaming about it.

The day came when I found a flamenco class here in San Diego. Oh the angst of a new relationship with dance. I was so excited and ready to dance, I knew all the Gypsy King songs and I had danced all my life (my short 19-year life). I am going to pick this dance in no time I thought to myself. Yeah right?! I was in for a treat.

San Diego Flamenco Dancers

Photo by Tareq Zatari

Flamenco comes from Andalusia (Southern Spain) and it’s believed it originated in Rajasthan, India. One might think it’s an easy dance form but let me tell you, it’s vast and rich rhythms are indeed challenging even to the trained ear. The “compas” (rhythm structure) is diverse with many possible styles and emphases. I’m not talking about the 4/8 count that we all know… but 6/8 rhythms that for no rhyme or reason are complete out of this world. Well, there is a rhyme and a reason, but that will take me a whole year of blogging to explain it. And to make matters a bit more exciting, the dance must follow live “cante” (singing). So much for me dancing to the pre-recorded music huh?

So here I am twenty-one years later and still learning about this awesome art form. I’ve learned to move way past the the Gypsy King and other pseudo flamenco music. I learned to dance, to do palmas (hand-clapping), to do some singing -which my students endure so graciously. Most of all, I’ve learned to think less as a dancer and more as a musician, a percussionist in fact, and to create music with my feet. I’ve learned to let my body express raw emotions and to dance from the heart. I’ve learn to listen.

Now, you be it.

Joins us! San Diego is blessed with a several flamenco instructors in dance, guitar, and singing who teach some of the various flamenco styles: gypsy, classical, modern, fusion. Also you can experience flamenco at the local tablaos and performances. Find more information about San Diego flamenco happenings at

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there is a wooden dance floor waiting for me. I must go and get my daily dose of flamenco footwork.

Guest Writer Marisol Apostol

John F. Bello

Meet John ;-)

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