VOLUPTUOUS is the only way to describe a female flamenco dancer!
No ‘skin and bones’ like a ballerina, or the plump jiggling frame of a Hawaiian dancer…
Just sheer FEMME FATALE !
Dressed in red or black the señorita magestically sings, dances, claps , stamps , snaps her pretty fingers .. all …more or less simultaneously!
The first thought that struck whilst watching a Flamenco show in Barcelona was that
Hey this sure is LOUD!!
Stamping and stomping of feet ,
LOUD snapping of fingers,
LOUD raucous Clapping of hands together or across ones body ,
And LOUD though wholesome Strumming of guitars !
That’s the unusual thing about Flamenco!
It SHOUTS out EVERYTHING !!
While what the lead singer was trying to say in her song remains a mystery (she sang in Spanish)
one could guess by her pained expressions that the content was tragic and the events that she sang about in her life were steeped in pathos.
Punctuated with fits of anger and bitterness too !
No joy , only oceans of grief!
The accompanying male dancers sporting long wild hair and longer sideburns, danced skilfully stamping their feet akin to tap dancers ….And of course never a smile escaped their lips!
The guitarists .. a welcome addition ( since the 1800s) to this art form which took its origin in 800 AD definitely enhanced the evenings experience.
Flamenco guitars are lightweight ,made of cypress rather than rosewood and are strummed very deftly and lightly !
The beats in the cafe cantata that night rose in cadence from gentle to frenetic , from a trot to a canter to a climaxing gallop !
So how best to describe flamenco except that it expresses FEELINGS!
Feelings of angst ,passion, bewilderness, of love lost !
A deep seated lament!
A mystery !
It is born of so many influences ..
Arabic/ Christian / a little Jewish / a little gypsy !
All fusing to produce a crosspollinated flower of uniqueness !
The hand movements look definitely Arabic ,
The Foot movements European folk ,
The guitar ranges from soulful to violent ,
The singing bursts with Moroccon overtones!
What an unusual mix !
Heady too !
No wonder then this art born in Andalusia , Southern Spain.. with its cousins in Morocco and Latin American countries
Won the UNESCO prize for INTANGIBLE WORLD HERITAGE TREASURE in 2010!
With all this clapping and stamping ,
am tempted to practise the footwork ….
And to don my black dress..