What is Flamenco Dancing? What are the characteristics and history of Flamenco Dancing? Information about Flamenco Dancing
What is Flamenco Dancing?
Flamenco is an Andalusian art that integrates dance, singing and guitar music. Known for his great emotional intensity, flamenco is distinguished by its graceful arm movements, ferocious foot stomping, deep laments and guitar strumming.
Original from Andalucía, Spain, flamenco is the result of a cultural miscegenation: gypsy, Arab, Christian and Jewish. Nowadays flamenco is appreciated and practiced around the world.
In 2010, Unesco declared flamenco the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Origin of flamenco
Flamenco was born in the middle of the 18th century in Andalusia. But its roots go back to earlier times. This art has musical and musical elements that already existed in the different cultures that contributed to its birth.
Flamenco is born within a multicultural environment. Gypsies, Arabs, Jews and Christians mixed elements of their respective cultures with traditional Andalusian elements. They also incorporated African influences that they collected from the black Africans who passed through Andalusia and from the Caribbeans arriving in Spain.
Flamenco is almost always associated with gypsies. Perhaps because it is the group that contributed most to his birth and development. The gypsies intermingled all these multicultural elements in a harmonious way. And then they dedicated themselves to spreading flamenco outside their own group.
Multicultural roots in flamenco
The multicultural roots in flamenco are reflected in all its aspects: dance, singing and guitar music. In cante and music, for example, there are influences of:
the chants of the synagogue
the Gregorian chants
the popular Andalusian songs
traditional Andalusian music
In flamenco dance, there are influences of traditional dances from Spain, dances from India brought to Andalusia by gypsies and African dances,
According to the historian José Luis Navarro García, author of the book Historia del baile flamenco, the essential characteristics of flamenco dance come from three cultures endowed for music and dance:
The Andalusian culture It brings grace, elegance, mischief, freshness and salt.
The gypsy culture It brings the temperament and the interpretive claw.
Black African culture Brings the sensuality of the wiggles and binary rhythms.
Dance, singing and guitar in flamenco
In flamenco, dance, singing and guitar merge into a single artistic expression. When the three elements are present the dance is what unites all the elements.
The bailaora or bailaor interprets the feelings expressed by the cantaor or cantaora in cante. To create his dance, he resorts to the language of flamenco dancing: movements of arms and wrists, wiggles, twists, stomps, rhythms and setbacks. The bailaor or dancer becomes a musician as well. The guitar and the percussion that he executes in the zapateo turn into a complete musical piece.
The interpretation in the dance depends a lot on the type of singing that is being interpreted. Each flamenco cante or palo has its own universe, texture, feeling and rhythm. The bailaor or dancer creates his dance according to these characteristics of cante. However, it does not follow an established pattern of steps and movements.
Instead, the bailaor or bailaora uses the basic structure of flamenco dancing in a traditional way or in his own way. This structure allows the three elements of flamenco art to be founded in harmony.
Pain, passion and joy in flamenco
Flamenco is an art that expresses deep feelings. It is born as an expression of marginalized groups. These groups used this art to express their emotional experiences.
Pain, loneliness, anguish, despair, love, lack of love, passion and joy are central themes in flamenco.
Even some flamenco styles carry names of feelings, such as soleá and joy.
It could be said that each flamenco suit expresses a different type of feeling. The cante jondo or the big cantes express painful and deep feelings. Party cantes express joy, sensuality and passion.
But no matter the feeling that each dance or flamenco style expresses, there is always a common emotional element in everyone. In flamenco, whether in dance or in cante, there is always a catharsis that culminates in the transformation of a painful or deep feeling into a lighter or happier one.