15 Things to Know about Flamenco Dance

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5292443872_ef70c0cdde_oSource: Flavio~

Spain is a very popular country among people living throughout the world due to its immense natural beauty, rich cultural background and its extensive nightlife. Its culture and heritage, apart from other things, consists of a traditional art, known as Flamenco. You do not have any information regarding it? The points given below will give you a general know-how of Flamenco.

1. What is Flamenco?

14643878854_6391d3b56c_oSource: Alon

Flamenco is a traditional Spanish art. It comprises of three things, namely song or ‘cante’, dance, referred to as ‘baile’ and playing guitar or ‘guitarra’. The dance’s roots can be traced to southern Spain, but it is believed that other cultures, such as Jewish, Cuban or Latin American have had significant impacts upon it.

Information

  • Name: Flamenco.
  • Description: Traditional art in Spain.
  • Components: Music (guitar), song and dance.

2. How Flamenco came into Being

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Most of the people agree that Flamenco was born somewhere in the Andalusia region. It is thought that the arrival of foreign populations into the Iberian Peninsula, particularly the Jewish and Moorish ones, led to a mixing of the native music and the foreign ones and Flamenco was the result.

Information

  • Name: Flamenco.
  • Area of Origination: Andalusia.
  • Features Absorbed from: Native, Jewish and Moorish cultures.

3. Dance follows Music

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Source: Flavio~

The success of the Flamenco music led to the initiation of the Flamenco dance. Originally, the singer used to be the focal point of Flamenco shows but gradually, passionate dancers became more renowned as the made performances in cafes during the 18th Century. Cafes in which such dance performances took place were known as ‘Cantantes’ cafes.

Information

  • Name: Flamenco Dance.
  • Started: 18th century (as a established dance).
  • Performances took place in: Cantantes Cafes.

4. Is there any Standard Flamenco Dance?

883px-Flamenco_en_el_Palacio_Andaluz,_Sevilla,_España,_2015-12-06,_DD_06Source: Diego Delso

Surprisingly enough, there is no standard Flamenco dance! There are certain patterns or rhythms the dancer must follow, but most of the performance depends on the mood and the music available. Furthermore, innovation from the dancer’s side is an essential part of Flamenco dance as it is meant to depict passion and zest of the performer.

Information

  • Name: Flamenco Dance.
  • Standards to be Followed: No particular standards, but some rhythms and patterns must be taken care of.
  • Important Components: Passion and Innovation from the dancer’s side.

5. How Does the Dancer Start Off?

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Source: Maxime.pascal

Initially, the dancer remains motionless- he takes some time to absorb the other elements of Flamenco, that is, the song, music and clapping. Then he starts off, making moves which depict his passion, the words of the singer and the essence of the music. The dancer’s facial expressions are important too, as they must match the theme of the song and music.

Information

  • Name: Flamenco Dance.
  • Initiating the Dance: The performer has to absorb the music and song before starting off.

6. Duets in Flamenco

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Source: John Benson

Duet performances can also be made in Flamenco. In fact, performances involving a man and a woman are often more vivid when comes to the demonstration of passion and emotion. The dancers do not break eye contact throughout the performance while coordinating their movements perfectly leading towards a very awesome display of dance.

Information

  • Name: Duet Performances.
  • Features: Constant Eye Contact and Good Coordination of Movements.
  • Depiction of Emotions: Very Clear.

7. Flamenco Training in its Early Days

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Source: Flavio~

During its early days, Flamenco dance was not taught to people at a large scale or a professional level. The techniques developed or learned were passed on from relatives to relatives or friends to friends. This meant that outsiders could not get to learn the traditional art very easily (unless they had Spanish friends who were dancers).

Information

  • Name: Flamenco Training During its Initial Stages.
  • Mode of Training: Passed on through families or network of friends.
  • Professional Training: Absent.

8. Modern Day Training

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Source: Jean-David & Anne-Laure

Flamenco training in the modern era has a completely different face than that which took place during the early stages of the dance. Professional academies have been established where experienced dancers teach novices the art on a large scale. This has led to the dance becoming very common among people in today’s world.

Information

  • Name: Modern Day Training.
  • Mode: Academies.
  • Professional Level Training: Present.

9. The Movements Involved

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Source: Patricia Ávalo

The major movements involved in Flamenco dance are those of the arms and feet. The arms have to be moved gracefully and calmly. On the other hand, the movements of feet involve high intensity creating a wonderful combination of the lightly moving arms and the powerful movements of the feet.

Information

  • Name: Flamenco Dance.
  • Arm Movements: Calm and Graceful.
  • Feet Movements: Strong and Powerful.

10. Dress Codes


Source: Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose

Dressing is another important component of any Flamenco dance. According to tradition, women wear red, black or deep blue dresses while men wear tuxedo shirts of black or red color with dark bottoms. However, modern day dancers often deviate from this pattern and many other colors can also be observed in Flamenco dance performances nowadays.

Information

  • Name: Flamenco Dance.
  • Traditionally, Women Wear: Red, Black or Navy Blue.
  • Traditional Men’s Costumes: Red or Black Tuxedo-type Shirts with Dark Trousers.

11. Castanets

Castañuelas-Pastoriles
Source: Tamorlan

Castanets are additional musical instruments used in Flamenco performances. They can be used to perform clicking and rattling noises that add to the overall clapping, singing and guitar based music. Often made of wood, Castanets involve two shaped pieces of wood (identical to each other) tied to each other at one end by a rope.

Information

  • Name: Castanets.
  • Category: Musical Instruments.
  • Material: Mostly Wood.

12. Flamenco Guitars

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Source: Angel Torres

Flamenco Guitar Playing is known as ‘Toque’ among the natives. The guitar involved is referred to as a Flamenco Guitar. It is quite similar to a normal guitar except for the fact that it comprises of thinner tops and has much less bracing internally. Materials for such guitars are chosen carefully to enhance volume and sound quality.

Information

  • Name: Flamenco Guitar.
  • Category: Musical Instruments.
  • Material: Wood.

13. ‘Toque’

MichalCzachowski_20090918
Source: Henryk Kotowski

‘Toque’ or Flamenco Guitar Playing differs from the usual art of Guitar Playing. Common differences involve a different posture of playing, variations in the patterns of strumming involved, as well as alterations in the techniques employed. For instance, normal guitarists place the guitar on their left leg and keep it tilted while Flamenco guitarists sit cross-legged, keeping the guitar horizontally on their upper leg.

Information

  • Name: Toque.
  • Definition: Guitar playing used in Flamenco.
  • Guitarists are known as: Tocaores.

14. Cante Flamenco

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Source: CGE

Cante Flamenco or Flamenco Singing is another component of Flamenco. Many viewers believe that the dance is the most important part of the whole Flamenco performance. They are wrong- according to tradition, the most critical aspect, often referred to as the ‘heart and soul’ of a display of Flamenco is Cante.

Information

  • Name: Cante Flamenco.
  • Definition: Singing involved in a display of Flamenco.
  • Singers are known as: Cantaor.

15. About a General Flamenco Performance

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Source: Diego Delso

Flamenco Performance consists of ‘Recitals’. These involve singing along with music based on guitars. Each recital consists of several pieces- these are not songs but include verses. The guitarist has the responsibility of arranging these pieces by interludes from his guitar as well as setting the mood by playing the music initially.

Information

  • Name: Flamenco.
  • Consists of: Recitals.
  • Reitals Contain: Several Pieces involving singing and guitar playing.

Flamenco, a traditional art of Spain is one of the most spectacular things to view while visiting the country. If you are interested in learning Flamenco, the above-mentioned details can be very helpful for you.

Have a good trip and travel!

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