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DIY of the Week – Castanets

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

We’re back to start off your week creatively! And in keeping with our recent string of handmade musical instruments (well, except for the slight deviation last week), we’re back with another super easy instrument DIY.

This week, we explore the ease, simplicity, and total fun that are castanets! And if you’re wondering what a castanet is, these are the clickety-clackety little instruments you’ll often see in the hands of flamenco dancers.

Image source – Spoj

Image source – Dreamstime

 

What you need:

  1. Several pairs of metal bottle caps (the kind you get on glass bottles of soda)
  2. Cardboard sheet to cut into pieces
  3. Scissors
  4. Markers or sketch pens to make your designs
  5. Strong glue
  6. Rubber bands
  7. Craft paper and glue, if you want to decorate your castanets more intricately
Image source - Kygo

Image source – Kygo

 

 

What to do:

Step 1

Measure the length of your index finger and cut the cardboard into pieces that measure twice that length, making them approximately one and half inch wide.

Image source - DIY Enthusiasts

Image source – DIY Enthusiasts

 

Step 2

Round off the edges of your cardboard strip.

 

Step 3

Create intricate designs with your markers towards the two rounded off edges. (If you are gluing on craft paper instead of drawing directly on the cardboard itself, try folding it in half as in the next step, before cutting and gluing the paper on).

Image source – YouTube

 

Step 4

Fold the cardboard piece in half, length-wise, and place a bottle cap on one of the inside edges, about half centimeter from the end. (Make sure the sharp edged side is the one against the cardboard.) Glue it on. Then repeat with another bottle cap on the other inside edge, gluing it in place. Make sure that the caps are aligned with each other when hold the fold closed.

Image source - DIY Inspired

Image source – DIY Inspired

 

Step 5

Hold the cardboard in the closed position, with the bottle caps touching each other, and tie it with a rubber band, and leave overnight, so that the glue may dry.

 

Step 6

Remove the rubber band, and voila!

 

 

Your castanets are ready for you to enjoy! And as promised, they were super easy to make. So go, make some more! Try out different designs, different cardboard lengths, or widths. Till next week! Enjoy irritating your neighbors till then. Happy clicking and clacking!

 

Image source - YouTube

Image source – YouTube

Exploring the Fiery Passion in Flamenco Dancing

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Not going by Steve Martin’s imitation of this dance in the movie Pink Panther 2, one will realize that the Flamenco is an immensely captivating dance. Powerful moves communicate an almost lethal strength, emotionally charged expressions speak of raging passions and a rousing musical score sets the pace and tempo for this fiery dance. That is why, it is almost impossible to sit through a Flamenco performance without feeling a pulse of energy rush through your system, one that ignites in you a desire to get up and join in the dancing. Sadly, we don’t know much about this dance. Except for the rare glimpse of ruffling-skirt-sporting, red-lipped dancers we are treated to in a few music videos, we aren’t exposed to the other beautiful aspects of this dance. Here’s going beyond those second-long, superficial representations and exploring the lesser known aspects of this culturally rich dance.

Flamenco

Although the dance style is an integral part of Spanish culture, it has been influenced by several other cultures, namely; Andalusian, Islamic, Arabic, Sephardic and Gypsy. In its music and choreography, one finds traces of all these diverse cultures.

Today, several clubs host professional Flamenco performances. Although it isn’t completely unusual to spot street performances, they aren’t the norm of the day. In earlier times however, this dance was performed by peasants, who would come together to enjoy gatherings on the street. Simple rhythms, like the music of the Flamenco guitar and the applause of the audience egged the dancers on.

flamenco-guitar

The most striking aspect of this dance is its intensity. The tradition of channeling strong emotions goes back to the time when it was performed by peasants, who used the dance as a medium to express problems and hardships faced by them. That is also why earlier Flamenco performances were held in clandestine gatherings, where only people from a specific community could attend.

A male Flamenco dancer is known as a ‘bailaor’ and a female dancer is called a ‘bailaora.’ The men wear elegant, close-fitting tuxedos and Cordoban hats while the women wear long, frilled dresses called ‘Bata de Cola’ and a shawl. High heels, a fan, red lipstick and a red rose behind their ear completes their getup.

flamenco 4

In most dance forms, especially ones that demand a high level of physical fitness, young dancers are preferred to senior ones. However, when it comes to Flamenco dancing, senior dancers are said to be better performers because time has helped them master the art of channeling emotion through facial expressions and dance moves. The older the dancer, the more nuanced the expressions.

If you wish to see authentic Flamenco performances, head to Seville, Granada, Cadiz or Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, for these Spanish regions are famous for their beautiful performers and performances!

Can’t afford to go to Spain? No worries. Here’s a beautiful Flamenco dancing video to give you a taste of this passionate dance! The Bailaora is Sara Baras, a Flamenco dancer known the world over for her grace, style and talent.