Students and teachers use digital resources for distance learning during the closing of the Flamenco School, while the staff is teleworking and is available on line and by telephone

“The world can stop, but Flamenco will never stop because it goes inside the soul”. In a Whattsapp audio message sent to his Flamenco singing students, the teacher José de la Tomasa has summed up what the Foundation Cristina Heeren of Flamenco Art is living these days because of the preventive closure of the school, due to Coronavirus. As soon as the authorities recommended to stop all classroom education and the institution communicated officially its collaboration, all the staff, teachers, management and academic team, and administration and technical team, started to offer digital support to students, using virtual classes and the implementation of the teaching management, already in operation. A huge challenge for a study center with more than eighty per cent of practical classes.

As Pepa Sánchez, the academic management of the school, explains: “We can neither supply the face to face essence in our study program, nor the live contact between singers, guitar players and dancers, but we can help our students providing them with technical lessons, resources and corrections, using digital tools within reach, such as mobile telephones, tablets and computers”. So, with the help of the coordinators of every area, the Academic Management has developed a distance study plan addressed to go over the contents already studied in the semester, in order to prepare students for the first examinations. The operational activity is very complex, but it is well worth because of the tremendous effort that students, teachers and asistants are carrying out. We are all touched by the generous response of this family, The Cristina Heeren Foundation, feeling closer than ever… despite the distance”, Sánchez states.


In the singing area, under the supervision of Sánchez, students are participating in videoconferences via Skype in order to study vocal technique with the teacher Liliana Aracil and the styles with María José Pérez and Esperanza Fernández. Manuel Romero and José de la Tomasa use Whattsapp groups, exchanging audios with exercises, questions, advices and corrections. For this purpose, the assistant guitar players provide the teachers with recordings, so the singers can have a musical support and can sing in the respective tones. In the guitar area, under the supervision of the guitar player and musical language teacher, Kaveh Nassehi, classes begin with a set of technical exercises of Niño de Pura, Pedro Sierra and Carmelo Picón. These videos with exercises are sent to groups via email, telephone or videoconference, with the help of the assistants. Meanwhile, Pedro Barragán is preparing some specific tutorials to complement this work, even including practical advices about how to prepare your study place at home.

And in the dancing area, taking into account the distance problems, and with the coordination of Elisa Vélez, the teachers Luisa Palicio, Beatriz Rivero and Coral Moreno share video lessons with the students in their respective levels, so they can practice the technique and also the complements, such as, the castanets and the fan. As well as Milagros Megíbar and Javier Barón use Whatsapp groups to correct the exercises that the students send. In the subject “Tablao”, the teachers Patricia Lozano -coordinator of core and elective subjects- and Rosi Navarro, “La Divi”, provide students with audio and video material, interacting with them to solve questions and make corrections. Theoretical subjects, such as “Theory and History of Flamenco”, with Pepa Sánchez and the optional subjects “Musical Language and Theory”, with the teacher Nassehi, “History of Singing, Dancing and Guitar”, with Barragán, “Spanish Language for Foreigners”, with Isabel Castaño and “Stage and Musical Production”, with Daniel Muñoz are taught online,  combining videoconferences and digital resources in virtual classes and the teaching application. 

At the same time, all the administrative staff is teleworking in order to address the students`needs and arrange the procedures available online on the school official web page. Besides, the staff is already working on possible reorganizations of the school calendar in order to make up for the classroom hours, as long as it is possible because of the exceptional worldwide situation. The web page, as well as the social networks, updated daily, are not only disseminating information and sharing recent media publications, such as the article “Flamenco en Pureza” by Juan Ruesga in Diario de Sevilla, but also, they relieve these days of confinement by reviving some videos or photographs of classes and shows from their files. This material is being supported and appreciated by hundreds of likes and thousands of views. For example, minute one of the “zambra”, prepared for the course in March by Pastora Galván, invited teacher, is almost 30.000 views on Facebook. Flamenco does not stop... and neither does the Cristina Heeren Foundation.


Translation: Isabel Castaño