Flamenco, the Dance of Spain
Picture yourself sitting back after enjoying a captivating guided day tour in Barcelona with Spanish Trails, having experienced the city’s vibrant charms. Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing world of flamenco dancers, witnessing their expressive movements and passionate performances of flamenco dancers that will amaze even the most knowledgeable dance aficionados.
If you wish to know more about this traditional folk dance of Spain, remember to join our truly Authentic Flamenco Show in Barcelona to witness this amazing form of art with powerful rhythms, heartfelt melodies, and intricate footwork to create lasting memories the next time you are in Barcelona.
Those accustomed to the serenity of ballerinas or the sassy hip-hop dancers will not know what to make of the symphony of emotions that pass on the faces of flamenco dancers. What sets flamenco apart and has made it a global phenomenon is the emotions that transpire across the faces of its dancers. The audience can feel the relationships between the guitarist, the dancer, and the singer. Working as a seamless unit, the performers often exchange glances and interact on stage, passing words of encouragement and praise that connect the performers and the audience.
Originating from the Andalusia region in Southern Spain, Flamenco is a traditional Spanish dancing style that has been documented for the past two hundred years. It is practiced throughout Spain even today and has transcended geographical boundaries. After reaching popularity in the United States, Flamenco has expanded far and wide, with there being more flamenco academies in Japan than in its home country of Spain. This art form has a remarkable multicultural heritage, as it has absorbed influences from various traditions around the world before evolving into the vibrant and captivating performance we know today.
The Spanish art form is made up of three parts: Guitarra (guitar playing), canto (song), and baile (dance). Though flamenco originated in Andalucia, historians agree that its development has been shaped by many other cultures, including Latin American, Cuban, and Jewish traditions. One of the most significant influences came from Gypsies, or the Roma people, who brought flamenco from its roots in Andalusia to the other parts of Spain. Romani culture places importance on moving frequently, as they do not consider themselves true citizens of the countries they were born in, but rather citizens of their Romani community. They also have a reputation for influencing many different types of music, including compositions of famous classical composers Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms. Some even speculate that flamenco originates from the Roma people. Flamenco also traveled by boat to other continents through the vast immigration of the 1800s and 1900s.
Read more about Flamenco’s history and origins and want to learn more HERE!
While professional training is now common for flamenco dancers, it is worth noting that in the past, many dancers were entirely self-taught. The art of flamenco was passed down through generations and was deeply ingrained in the traditions of the community. It is a traditional dramatic art form that carries a captivating narrative through the body language of the dancers, their physical movements, the music, and the elaborate costumes they wear. The costumes are extremely important to the story. Every detail is intentionally placed; every element, down to the intricate hairpiece of the female dancers, is carefully considered by the costume designer. Female dancers have many options when it comes to costumes, whereas male dancers have very few. Check out this website to learn more about the different styles and accessories of Flamenco dancers!
In its original form, flamenco dance was accompanied solely by singing and the rhythmic clapping of hands known as toque de palmas. A single cry or chant would be accompanied by a type of percussion that kept the rhythm. However, as flamenco’s popularity expanded, musical instruments were incorporated into performances. Modern flamenco dancers often utilized small handheld percussion instruments called castanets, snapping them in sync with the music. It is through the mesmerizing movement of the arms, hands, and fingers that provides magic essential to flamenco. Movement of the arms is called braceo and movement of the hands and fingers is called floreo. The posture and the coordination of the arms with the rotation of the wrists during braceo are very important and differentiate flamenco from other styles of dance.
When one thinks of flamenco, one of the first things that come to mind is Olé! This iconic expression is used to energize the singers and dancers and to express enthusiasm and admiration for the dance. Some say that olé originated from the Hebrew verb oleh, which means “to throw up in the air.” Others believe that the term came from the Bible story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah when Jacob thought he would marry Rachel but he lifted his bride’s veil and discovered it was Leah under the veil. The crowd tried to warn him by saying “Oh, Leah!” Still, others claim that it’s derived from the Arabic word Allah meaning “God.” No matter the origin, there is nothing like hearing Olé! rise above the frenzied tapping of the dancer’s feet, the guitar strumming and undulating voices of the flamenco singers during a performance.
Learn about Flamenco and Spanish Culture
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