One, two, three, four — tap your toe, stamp. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? Well, you also have to make graceful, artistic arm movements while your heels drill into the floor.
This is our first flamenco lesson in the Barrio de San Miguel in Jerez, where flamenco is part of the fabric of everyday life.
My partner Deri is doing most of the dancing while I learn to clap in time. This corner of the world has turned clapping and finger-snapping into an art form — and it’s no easy task.
Dancing in the streets: Jerez is small but full of wonders – and there are sherry bodegas to visit
Our teacher is Carlos Carbonell, almost unacceptably handsome and lithe. More important, he is endlessly patient.
He has just a week (two hours a day) to teach us the traditional Jerez dance, the buleria. Ed Balls’s Strictly dance partner would sympathise.
On our first day, we leave Hotel Villa Jerez — near the Royal School of Equitation, Jerez’s world famous riding academy — and head through the old town, past the white-washed bodegas and the sherry cellars towards the barrio of San Miguel.
Most bodegas sport familiar names: Gonzalez Byass, Harvey, Garvey and Sandeman; the British have been guzzling sherry since Sir Francis Drake (‘el Pirata’ in these parts) began looting supplies in Cadiz…