The following is part of Alice's invitation to a select group of flamenco dancers. Alice invited the dancers to participate in a community project that resulted in a shawl that Alice sewed herself.
Mantón Invitation & Instructions:
Thank you for agreeing to participate in this community shawl making. I hope it will be inspiring to you as much as it already is for me :)
This is an embodied practice. You can follow the prompts below or make up your own - there’s no one way to approach this. The idea is to reflect through movement first before drawing/writing on the fabric square.
Here are my prompts and here is a playlist too (you’re also welcome to use your own music): https://open.spotify.com/user/aliceblumenfeld → then click on the Mantón Making playlist
1) Just get moving/warmed up - follow your bodies impulses. You can also improvise to a song on the playlist or to soleá.
2) Choose 2 points on your body and imagine there is a theraband or giant rubber band between them - resist pulling the two points together and away from each other. Play with different points on the body. I find it easiest to work with two joints on opposite side of the body. You can add a 3rd point if you want (or more). Write down 3 words that pop into your head in one of the boxes below after this experience on the opposite page.
3) Imagine you’re inside a balloon - light and airy and you can float through your space. After a while, the balloon becomes anchored in one spot - so your feet (or another part of your body) cannot move, but everything else tries to reach and float away. Now try to spread the rubber of the balloon that encapsulates you so it becomes thinner. Eventually it pops and you are still anchored but have more freedom to move the rest of your body.
4) Now, think about three things that weigh you down - write them down in the word bank. (Can be literal or figurative - i.e. my backpack weighs me down, or my grief over ____ weighs me down).
Think of three things that take a weight off (literal or figurative). Add them to the word bank.
5) Free write for 5-10 mins about a time you felt othered or alone. You can keep this focused on flamenco or write more broadly. Here are some more prompts to get you thinking: How did it feel in your body when someone othered you, labeled you, or limited you? How did you overcome that? Where in your body do you feel or experience loneliness? When was the first time you felt othered by someone?
Circle three words in your free write and add them to the boxes below.
Now you should have 12 words:
Things that weigh
Things that lighten
6) Create 3 new word pairs from the list above. It can be helpful to pair words that seem unrelated.
Word Pair bank
7) Create a gesture for each word pair. I find it most helpful to not think too hard nor be too literal, but do the first movements that come into my body.
8) Take those 3 gestures and make them into one of the following:
A dance phrase. You could create a pattern, use repetition, change facings, size of the gestures, levels, retrograde the movements, etc.
Use the gestures to help you create a new remate or marcaje por soleá. Translate your improvised gestures back into flamenco.
Write down, draw, or film your movements if that will help you remember them.
9) NOW - decorate your fabric square with all of these ideas in mind (and body). You can use words, line drawings, shapes, abstract, drawings of actual things (you could draw one of the gestures you created), or anything else. It can be a collage or a single image. The point is to represent your experiences in movement and experiences as a flamenco dancer on the fabric. Please don’t draw outside the pencil lines.
For more inspiration, check out Vicente Escudero’s drawings :)
10) Put your completed square into the prepaid envelope and drop it in the mail! THANK YOU!!!! I can’t wait to see what you’ve created.