Learn more about flamenco and Spanish dance! Here are some excellent web sites to explore.
Great resource of Flamenco history and current trends. Includes a Flamenco dictionary, Artists encyclopedia, articles, guides, and an online store. There are also free music downloads, videos, and photo galleries.
Es baile, es guitarra, es cante, es passion. Another wonderful source of information for flamenco aficionados. Check out the special sections for dancers, for guitarists, and “Getting Started in Flamenco.”
Flamenco in the Washington DC area and beyond! Site creator Miguelito, a DC guitarist and true aficionado of flamenco, reports in-depth coverage of the living art of flamenco in the US.
All the hottest flamenco action in the americas. Whether the setting is a dance studio, workshop, tablao, theatre, or a juerga lit by a bonfire in the desert, all the best of new world flamenco can be found right here.
Extensive listings of New York’s flamenco and Spanish dance events including restaurants/bars and theaters. The site also has a clear, informative explanation of flamenco compass (rhythms) and a page about the history of the art form.
Whirls of colorful ruffled dresses, waving fans, long fringed shawls. Explosions of clicking castanets, strumming guitar, stamping feet. The essence of flamenco. An art form that passionately expresses many of our everyday feelings—happiness, loneliness, and anger.
Flamenco as we know it today was influenced by the many peoples who inhabited southern Spain: the Arab, Jews, Gypsies and Andalucians. Flamenco became popular in the 18th century. The gypsies who settled in Spain came from India, and brought with them the culture of their home land as well the influences they picked up their travels west. Flamenco bears the influences of these gypsy people as well as the Arabs and the Jews. At one time, it was thought that the term “flamenco” derived from the Arabic word “fela-mengu” meaning “fugitive peasant,” but the exact origins of the word are unknown.
Between 1850 and 1920, cabarets called Café Cantantes were popular gathering places for audiences of social classes and cultures in Spain. Here were found the “Majas”, elegant upper-class women who went to the courted by the elegant upper-class men they knew would be there. Gypsy sharecroppers and herdsmen still in their work clothes would come to relax after day’s work. The audiences gathered to drink sherry, socialize, listen to guitar music, and watch Spanish dance. This period of time is now referred to as flamenco’s Golden Age.
As the audience for flamenco expanded outside the gypsy population, artists began to perform publicity and to turn the folk dance into an art form accepted into mainstream culture. The Café Cantantes drew foreigners and tourist who came to Spain for its romance and color. They spread the word about flamenco to the reaches of the globe. Flamenco’s popularity, then and now, we can be attributed to is raw expression of emotion.
A flamenco performance combines three arts forms: the cante or song, the baile or dance, and the “toque” or guitar. Each discipline is an art form in its own right, but the complete emotional statement of flamenco can only be felt through the integration of all three.
During traditional flamenco, the dancer may sometimes improvise. The dancer signals the guitars or others on stage to let them know she is ready to finish a certain section of the dance, or that they should speed up. This signal might be an emphatic stamp, a circular arm movement, or a shift in the placement of the body’s weight, be alert for someone of these signals during the performance.