“She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar”

Sometimes the dancers used fans or shawls as props
Sometimes the dancers used fans or shawls as props in the Seville show
The light caught the shawl in so many cool ways
The light caught the shawl in so many cool ways
The shapes the flamenco dancers make with their bodies are distinctive and characteristic.
The shapes the flamenco dancers make with their bodies are distinctive and characteristic.

Andalusia is famous for its flamenco. This art form that includes dancing, singing, guitar, hand clapping and finger snapping is much like the region where it originated: varied, colorful, passionate, a true melting pot of the peoples who lived together in this region.

While in Andalusia, I saw two flamenco performances, each quite different. The first was at El Palacio Andaluz in Seville. We were on the front row, so it was incredible to get such a close view of the musicians and dancers as they completed the complicated music and movements. The seriousness with which the dancers performed was moving – I can only imagine the years of training that go into mastery of such a demanding dance.
This woman used her shawl to great advantage in this set
This woman used her shawl to great advantage in this set
These two dancers alternated their solo efforts while the other looked on - this is a setup we saw repeated several time.
These two dancers alternated their solo efforts while the other looked on – this is a setup we saw repeated several time.
This woman had an interesting pacing to her dances. It really grabbed my attention.
This woman had an interesting pacing to her dances. It really grabbed my attention.
The flamenco performances in Seville alternated between individual dances and group dances.
The flamenco performances in Seville alternated between individual dances and group dances.
The first set of costumers were underwhelming but got better as the show went on.
The first set of costumers were underwhelming but got better as the show went on.
This group dance told a story of flirty girls and soldiers
This group dance told a story of flirty girls and soldiers
The footwork was impressive - it's good that we got to see it.
The footwork was impressive – it’s good that we got to see it.
The final dance was a lot of fun - it seemed like they were all trading off sets and having a great time.
The final dance was a lot of fun – it seemed like they were all trading off sets and having a great time.
This woman was very intense to watch
This woman was very intense to watch
This one also told a story - the continuation of the soldier theme from before.
This one also told a story – the continuation of the soldier theme from before.
The second performance I attended was in Sacromonte, the gypsy or Roma section of Granada. Before visiting Spain, I was taught that “gypsy” is a derogatory term for the Roma people, but everyone in Spain uses it, including many gypsies. So I don’t know what to think about that. The performance in Sacromonte was more of a family affair – most, if not all, of the performers were from the same family. The women were ageless – I couldn’t tell which generation was which for the most part. This performance was not in a theatre, but in a theatre room in a cave tucked into the side of the cliff above the city of Granada. The people of Sacromonte are famous for their caves with building facades, where they’ve lived for generations.
As I mentioned, flamenco is a melting of cultural influences in Andalusia: famously gypsy but picking up strains from the Spanish Christians, Muslims, and Jews living in the area as well. It seems appropriate for this area so influenced by so many different groups of people. But aside from its cultural importance, it’s just a delight to watch, listen and enjoy.
Title quote: Janet Fitch, White Oleander
The Sacromonte show was also heavily dominated by female dancers
The Sacromonte show was also heavily dominated by female dancers
The show in Sacromonte was different from the theatre - this is the room where they performed.
The show in Sacromonte was different from the theatre – this is the room where they performed.
There was one guy who performed in the Sacromonte show - usually with at least one lady
There was one guy who performed in the Sacromonte show – usually with at least one lady
The Sacromonte women seemed to all be related
The Sacromonte women seemed to all be related
This guy was one of the gypsy flamenco dancers. He was happy to pose after the show.
This guy was one of the gypsy flamenco dancers. He was happy to pose after the show.

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