Saturday, April 6, 2013

A - Z Challenge: FLAMENCO


For me, the best part about flamenco is it's authenticity.  Unlike the bullfights, it's not a spectacle put on to attract tourists.  No, flamenco is deeply entrenched in Spain's culture.  That means that most everyone, especially in Andalucía, can sing or dance flamenco, at least to a certain extent.  It's not exclusive to the professionals.  If you're in Spain long enough, chances are you'll come across someone singing flamenco at the top of his lungs as he walks down the street.

Flamenco dancers in Sevilla, Spain
Walking through Sevilla, you'll find dozens of dress shops.  These dresses are pricey.  The cheapest you'll find is 75 euro (about $100), and that's the absolute cheapest.  For many girls, they get a new dress every year, which they adorn with flowers and ribbons, and will don during the week of Feria, a celebration based on flamenco, which happens to begin two weeks from now.  All night the people of Sevilla gather in casetas, personal tents set up on designated fairgrounds, where they dance flamenco 'til dawn.  Not to impress anyone, but just for fun.  For tradition.

Feria in Sevilla.  This is in two weeks.

Many Spanish romantic writers, such as Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, incorporated flamenco into their writing.  They referred to is as the poesía popular, or the popular poetry, and drew on its themes and rhythms to compose short stories and poems that reflected Spanish pop culture.  To them, flamenco was a source of endless inspiration:  it embodied passion, beauty, and pain in its potent vocals and intense movements.

Here's a video of some flamenco:

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