Flamenco Basics Mini Tutorials by Maria Osende

Flamenco Basics – Mini Video Tutorials for  Beginner Dance Students

Our mini-tutorials serve as the building blocks of your learning journey and include short exercises that reinforce your skills through repetition.


El Zapateo – The Footwork

Flamenco Footwork Essentials

Flamenco footwork, known as “taconeo” or “zapateado,” is a dynamic fusion of sounds and rhythms created by dancers. These sounds are produced by utilizing different parts of the shoe, including planta, tacón, golpe, punta, and latiguillo.As you begin your flamenco dance lessons, you’ll explore key concepts and master the basics of footwork technique. To guide you through this rhythmic and expressive art form, I’ve created a series of tutorials tailored for beginner dancers. Let’s get started!

Consider the dedication of a musician to their instrument; as flamenco dancers, we are akin to percussionists, tirelessly practicing to create rhythms with our feet, much like a drummer hones their craft.  To produce these sounds and movements – “the planta,” “the tacón” and “the golpe” – effectively, proper flamenco shoes make a big difference. This is especially true for “La Planta” due to the presence of nails on the shoe’s front section. For further insights on flamenco footwear, consult our Beginner’s Shoe Guide. 

Golpe: The Resounding Beat

Golpe, which translates to “strike” or “hit” in Spanish, is the most thunderous percussive sound a flamenco dancer can produce with one foot. This technique involves a dramatic drop of the lower leg, causing the entire shoe to strike the floor with power.

On this video:

0:27 Golpes – How to make the sound
1:14 Correct Body Placement 
2:12 Exercise 1 
3:15 Exercise 2 
4:08 Tips and Advice

Planta and Tacón

“La Planta” refers to the ball of the foot, while “El Tacón” signifies the heel of the shoe. In flamenco, “La Planta” represents the sound and motion created when the ball of the foot makes contact with the floor, while “El Tacón” pertains to the distinctive heel sound. 

On this video:

0:10 What is the planta and how to hit the floor with it 
0:50 Exercise for plantas 
01:30 El Tacón and exercise #1 planta-tacon 
2:26 Exercise #2 planta-tacon

Las Manos – The Hands

Coordinating hand movements with footwork, turning, and body motion is one of the more challenging aspects to master in flamenco. The approach to teaching hand movements varies considerably among instructors, often influenced by personal preferences and aesthetics.

Historically, female dancers employed more intricate and ornate hand gestures, while male dancers favored straighter lines with less finger curling. Today, these distinctions have become less rigid, allowing dancers to express their personal preferences in shaping their hand movements. 

On this video:

0:10 Intro
00:21 Wrist exercise  adentro (inwards) 
00:46 Wrist exercise afuera (outwards) 
1:07 Moving the wrist with the arms in 1st position 
1:34 Finger movement right hand (mano derecha) 
2:40 Finger movement left hand (mano izquierda)

Las Palmas – Handclapping

Translates as hand clapping. The palmas provide the backbone of flamenco music and dance. Dancers use them often in choreography. Practising palmas will help deepen your understanding of flamenco rhythm. There are two kinds of palmas: Palmas sordas or cerradas (muffled or closed) create a muffled sound achieved by cupping the palms of your hands.

Palmas claras or abiertas (clear, high or open) create a crisp, loud sound achieved by hitting the flattened fingers of the right hand on the palm of the left hand.

Basic Flamenco Dance Terminology

Get acquainted with essential flamenco terms, each carrying a unique significance in this rich art form. Pronunciation guides are provided to help you feel confident in using these terms:

Compás: (kohm-pahs): the rhythm of a flamenco song

Marcaje (mahr-kah-heh): short step combinations

Palma, Palmas: (pahl-mah): handclap,  handclaps



We’re proud to share highlights of our flamenco dance students at various events over the years. From local recitals to community festivals, our students have brought their dedication and love for flamenco to each performance. Explore our gallery to see the joy, hard work, and progress of our dancers, and get a glimpse of the vibrant flamenco community we’ve built together.

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Step into the world of Maria Osende, a dance virtuoso who seamlessly bridges the worlds of flamenco and ballet. With a rich background in both disciplines, Maria not only dazzles audiences with her performances but also imparts her passion and knowledge as a renowned dance teacher. Born and raised in Madrid, her journey began with ballet at age seven, followed by a Fulbright scholarship that took her to the School of American Ballet in New York City. After dancing professionally with prestigious companies, Maria returned to her Spanish roots and embraced flamenco. Today, as an artistic director and founder, she continues to inspire and educate aspiring dancers, fostering a deep appreciation for the artistry and traditions of both flamenco and ballet.

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