“We are a very typical Spanish family—a bullfighter, an actress, a flamenco dancer and singer!” — Paz Vega
Do you dream of waking up somewhere gorgeous?
Taking in the sights and sounds of Spain?
Feeling like you’re part of a “typical Spanish family”—maybe even one of actress Paz Vega’s long-lost relations?
Dancing your way to flamenco fluency?
Come on. You can tell us. We’re all friends here.
I thought so! You do dream of all that—and more! I have a confession to make: I dream the same dreams.
Fortunately for both of us, I know the way to make those dreams come true.
No, I’m not kidding. How? It’s easy.
One word: Immersion.
That’s the answer to Spanish fluency and flamenco finesse.
A Package Deal: Spanish Flamenco and Language Immersion
Immersion is an excellent way to learn a language. And there’s no doubt about it, Spanish will enrich your life. Considering there are over 572 million Spanish speakers across the globe, it’s the ideal choice for second language acquisition.
And immersion in regards to flamenco? That’s also a no-brainer. The dance originates in Spain, so it makes sense to go there for lessons straight from the source!
Uh oh. I hear the faintest of doubts coming from your side of this conversation. Do you think it’s crazy to consider immersion and dancing as a package deal?
Think again! Spanish and flamenco go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s a natural pairing that can add so much fun to any immersive experience.
Let’s see how to make this dream come true!
Flamenco Is a Spanish Delight!
Flamenco is to Spain what apple pie is to the US. They’re both symbols of prosperity, cultural heritage, tradition and national pride.
Flamenco has its origins in the late 1700s in the Andalusia region of Spain. It’s characterized by three facets: Toque is the heartfelt style of guitar playing that accompanies the cante, or singing part of the experience. Both complement the baile which is the actual dance itself.
Dancers wear elaborately ruffled dresses and special shoes. The shoes have sturdy wooden heels as well as nails on the toes and heels of the soles—which make the classic tapping sound of the shoe possible! Depending on the dance, sometimes castanets or fans complement the steps.
Purists contend that flamenco’s infused with the spirit of el duende. While the literal translation of el duende (the goblin) seems an unlikely pairing for such a gorgeous dance, the actual idiomatic translation refers to the heart and soul of the dance.
Clearly, it’s an art form that Spaniards consider very much alive!
Why Immersion Works
Immersion puts learners on the fast-track to language acquisition.
When you’re immersed in any language and surrounded by all facets of the culture, it’s natural to learn and grow. It’s the way we all acquired our native languages, isn’t it? The concept works just as well for other languages—including Spanish!
Spanish language immersion programs are typically a combination of coursework and cultural activities. There are a set number of classroom hours, then it’s time to mingle with locals!
Flamenco and Spanish language combination programs offer even more! There’s language study, cultural opportunities and—you guessed it!—flamenco dance lessons! It is the perfect setup for anyone who wants to learn Spanish and flamenco!
Immersion programs offer home-stay options and most actually suggest learners stay with local families. The home environment, where you’re surrounded by Spanish 24/7, facilitates learning.
Trying to prepare for your immersive experience isn’t difficult. Get some basic Spanish words and phrases under your belt if you’re a complete beginner. It’ll come in handy right away—at the airport, even. Most of us get off long flights with rumbling bellies. Won’t it be great to order something to eat in Spanish?
You can also get some practice in by watching authentic videos of Spanish conversations on FluentU.
FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.
One of the best parts about immersion is that skills grow rapidly when they’re needed for basic communication—like ordering food or asking for directions. It won’t take long before you’re speaking like a local—with the locals!
6 Immersion Programs for Learning Spanish and Flamenco
Spain has an assortment of immersion options that cater to language learners as well as aspiring dancers. Let’s check some out and see if we can find one to make your dreams come true!
Carmen de las Cuevas, located in Granada, is a school with programs for both Spanish language and flamenco dance students. Their courses last from 1 to 11 weeks and there are scheduling options to suit anyone.
They teach Spanish from beginner to advanced learners. Flamenco lessons go from the basics to master dance techniques. This is definitely a spot that will accommodate nearly any student!
Living arrangements include staying with local host families, apartment shares or, if more privacy is desired, renting an individual apartment.
The Alhambra Institute in historic Málaga offers comprehensive programs to teach both the Spanish language and flamenco dance.
They encourage any level learner to attend their programs or even the shorter workshops they offer. There are options for language learners from beginner to advanced.
The course schedules typically feature 20 hours of language instruction and five hours of dance lessons per week. Both group and private classes are available.
Living situations are varied. There are apartments and hotel accommodations to choose from, as well as the option to live with a local family while attending classes.
Taller Flamenco in Seville has all aspects of flamenco as well as Spanish language study covered. They offer language lessons for any level learner. But they also offer flamenco lessons—and not just for dance, but for guitar, singing, clapping and percussion also!
Classes are customizable and there are options for both group and individual lessons. The school prides itself on not being simply a school, but on being an experience for learners who want to enjoy a true immersive cultural environment.
It’s a popular destination for learners and accommodations are not always readily available. Rooms are notoriously difficult to find around Easter and April but with some prudent planning there’s a good chance other times of the year will yield a place to stay!
Dance classes begin every Monday throughout the year and there are eight 55-minute classes per week. They teach all levels and the minimum requirement for dance participation is one week.
The upside to this type of schedule is that if you find flamenco isn’t for you, you haven’t made a lengthy (or potentially costly!) commitment.
Their Spanish language course schedule is equally customizable: They hold many classes at varying learner levels and also offer the option of private lessons.
5. Go Learn To
Go Learn To organizes excursions designed to provide travelers the chance to study both Spanish language and flamenco dance while they’re on holiday. This jaunt to an accredited school in Barcelona might be the perfect getaway for anyone dreaming of Spanish and flamenco!
The school is located in a trendy neighborhood so after-school hours can be filled with activities on the local level. Tapas bars, clubs and sightseeing take this immersive adventure out of the classroom!
Every level learner is welcome to attend and with a maximum class size of 10 it’s a safe bet that everyone’s needs will be met. As in any institution, smaller classes generally mean more one-on-one teacher interaction.
Universidad Nebrija, located in Madrid, welcomes international students to its campus. It’s a small campus with a low student-to-teacher ratio, making it an amazing option—and a fabulous opportunity to learn!
The university is dedicated to teaching Spanish language, studies and culture. Curriculum and scheduling options accommodate any learner: Take only dance and language or choose more classes from the course catalog.
International students have the same options for student housing as Spanish students, which include home stays and university residences. Cultural activities include workshops, visits to The Prado Museum and Royal Palace, zoo excursions and many other interesting events.
This is a long-term immersive option that should deliver on anyone’s dream to learn flamenco and speak fluent Spanish!
Study abroad isn’t only for gap years or college students. It’s for anyone who has a dream to fulfill.
If you’re still dreaming of dancing and speaking fluent Spanish, you’ve got to see now that your goals are within reach!
Go to Spain for the Spanish and the flamenco; stay for the food, the culture and the adventure!
And whatever option you choose—have fun!
¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)
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