Flamenco is perhaps one of the national symbols of Southern Spain. It is much more than just a dance though; it is considered a culture in and of itself. The genre is composed of music, dance, hand clapping, finger snapping and the attitude of the dancer combined with the skill of her musicians. The earliest records of Flamenco come from an 18th century book in which this amazingly passionate dance is first described. It has been long connected with Romani traditions in Spain, but its birth place is considered to be the region of Andalusia. This place is well-known for its rich culture and ethnic diversity which led to this amazing combination called Flamenco.
The Sounds of Flamenco
The dance is usually accompanied by the Spanish guitar. This guitar has different chords from a normal guitar and the sounds have an altered pitch, which is why Flamenco music is so easy to recognize. Flamenco can be performed by individuals, which are usually women, or there can be couples. The foot stepping is also very important in Flamenco and the sounds made by the feet of the dancers are considered to be part of the music and the overall atmosphere. There are also many moments in which the dancers clap or snap their fingers in order to be part of the song. Some styles of Flamenco also employ a vocal singer.
The art of Flamenco started sometime in the 16th and 17th century after Gypsy settlers chose Andalusia as their new home. The cultural heritage of the Romani included tap dancing, clapping, finger snapping and many other elements that are now appreciated in Flamenco. The dresses worn by the Gypsy women were very similar to the typical Spanish Flamenco outfits we see today. The tight upper part and loose skirt are essential in this dance. The dancer uses the skirt in order to enhance the movements and the passion being conveyed. This is also an element found in the Gypsy traditional dances.
Flamenco is one of the most passionate dance styles in the world. The music has an amazing pace that keeps the viewers in expectancy of the next move. The dancer has an amazing outfit and every single movement of their body and facial expression are part of the performance. It is a very old dance style that has seen its ups and downs but the 80’s brought this dance style back into the public eye. The passion of the performers is unique; many people even call it the dance of love and passion.
Feeling the Music
Flamenco is an art by itself. It is not only about learning some dance moves and songs. It is about feeling the music and entering the skin of a character in order to give a successful performance. The Flamenco dancer has to display pure passion and to make the audience feel the same. Every movement, swirl and pose are part of a character and part of the overall cultural heritage of Flamenco, a style that will continue to impress us.