When you begin learning any art form it is very exciting to discover all the masters of the craft and become inspired by them. It is a great idea to study the artists that are working now as well as those who contributed their work in years gone by.
But how much inspiration should you take? In the case of flamenco dance, should you try to look like another flamenco dancer?
One of the greatest things about flamenco is that it allows (and asks for) each person to find their own sense of expression. Two people dancing the same step will look completely different from each other with their different bodies, different training and different feelings about the choreography.
However when you are starting out, especially if you have limited options for finding classes, studying a particular dancer that excites you and trying to mimic their style can be useful. I prefer to use this type of study as a starting point for further exploration.
You should never aim to copy another dancer's choreography and every nuance of their movement. It is bad form to start with but also if you do try to perform the copied dance you won't be able to dance it to your fullest expression. Don't put try to put yourself through that frustration!
Instead take one step, or a particular style or mannerism and try it out on your body.
How does it feel when you do it?
Do you notice any limitations in your technique that you need to work on?
Does it lead you to another movement that feels more natural to you?
When you work like this it's a good idea to keep a diary that you can come back to the next time you practice.
Are there particular dancers whose style you admire and take inspiration from? Let us know in the comments below!