Known as “elementos flamencos” in Spanish, the fan, the shawl, the bata de cola and the castanets are iconic props used by flamenco dancers that are studied as separate technique classes in our school.
The “bastón” (cane) and the “sombrero cordobés or andalúz” (Spanish hat) are also used as flamenco props, but are less common.
Above dancers from the Ballet Nacional de España wearing “batas de cola”, long trail skirts or dresses and and dancing with “mantones”, shawls.
Throughout the year we offer courses to work on these elements or they might be integrated into a beginner or intermediate level if all students are interested in learning them. The elements require special dedication. Gradually, week by week, students develop the necessary strength and technique to properly move the elements.
For example the bata de cola is heavy and it requires good balance and extra glute, thigh, hip and lower back strength. As for the shawl, the heavier it is, the better it moves, so your shoulders and arms will have extra work. The castanets require finger strength and regular practise. Think of piano students and how many hours they need to put in. Castanets are a musical instrument and as such they require committed dedication and regular practise. The fan requires smooth full range wrist movements and extra strength on your lower arm, hand and fingers, although to a much lesser degree than castanets. The hat can be used in a similar way to the fan, but without a lot less complexity, so its a good element or prop to start out with in beginner levels.
Some flamenco elements require an additional investment on the side of the students, which is why these start being offered at intermediate levels. The shawl and the bata are the most expensive and require an investment from the student. They have a good resale value though and can last for decades if well take care of. Fans are inexpensive ($20 or under) and beginner castanet can start as low as $50 a pair.
If you are interested or considering learning a flamenco prop, please check the guides I have created to understand the criteria you need to look for and don’t hesitate to ask us if you have questions.
The long beautiful flamenco dresses are called “Batas de Cola” and the art and technique to move them and dance with them requires specialized trainin . Students in their 3rd year and up can choose to add bata de cola classes to their regular classes. Bata de cola dresses or skirts are custom made for each dancer and the cost may vary more depending on the material and the number of ruffles the skirt has -generally 3 to 9 or more as seen on the picture below.
The cost of a beginner bata de cola ranges anywhere between CAN $400-$800 (250 Euros and up) and it might take 4-8 weeks to be ready once you order. If you are looking to get one, I recommend you read my Guide on how to pick your bata de cola.
This musical instruments will require regular practise and dedication. Some people jsut want to learn to play them to accompany music and it is taught separately from dance. For flamenco dance students, it is later integrated into dance. Size and quality make all the difference. Find out more about them on my castanet guide
Absolutely stunning to watch, the shawl creates mesmerizing shapes as it catches the air. As with the bata de cola and the castanets, it’s an optional prop that students might want to learners they enter the intermediate level. The price of the shawl goes up depending on the quality and amount of “macramé” (knotting of the fringe).
Most shawls sold online are too small for flamenco dance. Shawls also make stunning wrap dresses or tops for special occasions. Read more if you are interested in getting one.