Flamenco? A Must Go!
Flamenco? A Must Go!
Dating back all the way to the 1700’s, Flamenco has become an incredibly large part of Spanish culture – many weekends for Spain natives even consist of attending shows.
This beautiful dance originated in Andalucía, the southern region of Spain. This cultural experience incorporates singing, dancing, and a specific type of music that originated with the blend of Moorish, Jewish, and Romanian influence. As I have grown up practicing Judaism, I actually find it quite interesting and rather surprising that my religious history could have ties to such a popular part of Spanish culture.
The history of Flamenco dates back many, many years – when Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile were married, a cultural repression began, where cultures outside of what was considered “clean” were expelled from southern cities in Spain, leaving the expelled to identify a unique form of expression in rebuttal.
Coming to Spain, I knew I was going to see Flamenco, and going out to see people dance is something very uncommon where I am from. Essentially, going to see a single person or small group of people dance is something that may be considered outdated in the United States. In many parts of the states, people simply go out for a night on the town to dance and see others dance, it is untraditional to attend an event such as this, where culture is at the forefront rather than simple entertainment.
Growing up in America, I was enrolled in Spanish courses starting at the age of 12, up until the age of 21. We were always taught about the various dances in Spanish culture, Flamenco always being a topic of discussion. However, I fault my U.S. school system for ignoring the true cultural importance and origin of this beautiful dance. I always recall discussions about what are typical dance partners, their attire, the music, and where it was practiced, but I was never taught why.
Now being 22 years old, I made the decision to send myself to Spain, where I am fully immersed in this beautiful culture. Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Flamenco show here in Madrid, and I was blown away by the intensity, talent, and beauty that is present in such a cultural event.
I wish I had this knowledge before attending the show – of course I could admire the beauty, strength and talent in such a performance, but now knowing the roots of this dance, it gives such performances a much deeper value. The slow movements, intense, strong facial expressions, the snapping, changes in rhythm – each element contributes to telling a story of a fight.
Considering my short 10-week stay here in Madrid, I can say with certainty that I will be attending more Flamenco shows – it is of great importance to me to appreciate this part of Spanish culture and to take into open arms not only Spanish cultural practices but also all throughout the world. And not to mention, Flamenco is just a sliver of all of the vibrant features that are present here in Spain.
By Ellie Zakheim