Image credit: www.danceway.com
Flamenco dancing is a very popular dance throughout Spain and it reflects a lof of Spanish culture. Below we look at ten facts involving Flamenco dance.
1. Flamenco has long been considered part of Spanish culture, but its actual origins can be traced back to Andalusia. Extremadura and Murcia as well as Latin America and Cuba have contributed greatly to the development of several forms of flamenco.
2. Flamenco is considered a unique combination of native Arabic, Andalucian, Islamic, Sephardic, and gypsy cultures.
3. The period between 1869 and 1910 was known as the golden age of flamenco when flamenco music and dancing developed at music cafes (or cafés cantantes) for public performances. Tickets were charged for these performances, which grew in popularity throughout the region.
4. Flamenco music is an intrinsic part of the flamenco dance experience. Flamenco music styles, called palos in Spanish, are classified according to basic rhythmic pattern, chord progression, mode, geographic origin, and form of stanza. More than 50 different palos flamenco exist, yet some are hardly ever performed.
5. Flamenco dance is called “baile,” while a flamenco dancer is known as a “bailaor” (male) or “bailaora” (female).
6. Some forms of flamenco dancing allow for improvisation by the dancer. Inspired by the rhythm and beat of the guitar and the handclapping from the audience, the bailaor erupts into spontaneous movement to match the mood of the song. This lends a unique quality to the performances of each dancer.
7. Flamenco dancing can be traced to the era of the Roman Empire through the writings of Pliny, Strabo and Martial who mentioned the Cadiz dancing girls and their use of castanets. (Castanets are a percussion instrument used in flamenco and other types of dancing to produce a series of clicks and rattles.)
8. Classical flamenco lovers are critical of the modern twist that flamenco has taken and believe that the performances are too staged and commercialized. Traditional flamenco dances are performed to small audiences of no more than 20 people and are never scheduled, whereas modern flamenco arranges scheduled performances for very large audiences.
9. Flamenco festivals are held in Andalusia in the summer-time, and the locals often break into spontaneous flamenco dancing at the various pavilions set up for the occasion. This is often the purest form of flamenco that can be experienced today.
10. Flamenco dancing costumes vary quite widely. Women are usually attired in black, red, navy blue or white dresses with many layers of ruffles and high heels. They wear their hair in a bun and place a rose behind their ear. Men wear black or red tuxedo undershirts with stretchy pants for freedom of movement. Modern costumes tend to be more varied on the colour spectrum, including colours like light blue and bright pink.
Author: Paul Symonds
Barcelona group travel