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  • Writer's pictureYumi La Blanca

Summer isn’t here yet - London Flamenco needs Gemma de la Cruz

(Photos by kind permission of Gemma herself)

No Gemma, no summer

I know - it’s been very hot in London, obviously the season called summer has been there, and maybe it’s about to go anytime now.

However, in our London flamenco circle, we haven’t had it yet...

A flamenco dancer and teacher Gemma de la Cruz brings summer to London, and summer leaves from London when she departs. That’s been our intimate ‘tradition’ between the end of July and the end of August every year, when she’d give us flamenco dance classes brought directly from Madrid.

This year, on the contrary, she’s still been grounded in Madrid as of mid August, waiting for updates from the Spanish government regarding the travel situation between Spain and the UK.

Hence, summer hasn’t arrived yet to the London flamenco scene.

Attracting students, old and new

(Gemma and me in Sevilla Mia, a Spanish bar in central London, August 2014)

If you’ve ever taken a dance class of any genre, you’d agree - being a great dancer and being a great dance teacher are completely different things. Gemma is one of the few who can be both.

She’s always on time or ‘in compas’ on stage and in the classes. Her time management in the class is impressive - she always enables us to learn selected, well-balanced routines within the given time framework. She’s very well-organised, clear, precise, but also open and flexible for random questions from students.

Inside and outside the classes, she treats each student equally. We’d sometimes go for a drink after the class and enjoy chatting with her. We love her kind, friendly, encouraging personality, as well as her sense of humour. This summer, we miss her not only as a teacher but also as a friend.

Along with her popular Bulerias and Tangos classes, she’s brought exciting new ranges in the past few years, such as Sevillanas with shawl, castanets technique, etc., which you don’t always have in regular flamenco classes in London. Her seasonal presence stimulates both new students and repeaters, including myself. I’ve counted… I’ve been taking her summer classes since 2008, every year!

Missing the summer

On 1st July this year, we were excited to receive her email announcing her plan of summer classes in London as usual, providing she could take a flight from Madrid - only differences being our awareness of social-distancing measures to be taken.

Initially, she wanted to start on 1st August with a class of Garrotin with hat. However... as of 23rd August, she hasn’t even been able to take off from Madrid yet. After her email, the travel restriction between Spain and the UK has changed, and the potential two-week quarantine would be too inconvenient… If not for bank holiday weekend classes on 29th, 30th, 31st August, she’s still hoping for some weekends in September.

Although it’s still pending, let’s hope we can reunite sometime soon, because London flamenco misses her a lot, whatever the season is.

Notes for her classes (details TBA)

*Book in advance - as she has to limit the number of students per session.

(If you don’t have her contact but if you’re interested, please use the contact form on this website)

*Keep the social distance in the class - your dancing spot will be marked on the floor.

*Use of a face mask or face covering is recommended.

*Instead of using the changing room, it’s recommended to change in the studio, or rather come to the studio already wearing suitable clothing.

*No hugs or kisses (this will be the hardest).


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