“A dance is a foundation, but its meaning is a confrontation of feelings that are voiced by music, words and emotions. It is a suffering without pain, a mixture of cold and heat, feelings that are at that are very honest and controversial.”- Cristina Ollos, flamenco queen.
Flamenco appeared in Andalusia, under the influence of cultures of different nations that existed on one territory. These nations were Arabian, Jewish, Christian and Gypsy. Backwashes of African culture reached the south cost of Iberian Peninsula and mixed African motives with Andalusia’s.
For most of “non-Spanish” flamenco is associated with Madrid. Sombrero and bright dresses, red flower in hair and passionate dancing is only a visual part of the dance. But if you listen to the words, you will see that this music is very dramatic and even gloomy. Bright clothes are only an external, indolent part of flamenco.
Flamenco is a nostalgic song that mixes with lyric protest against injury and oppression. In 1492 Arabic had to leave Spain, 100 000 of Jewish had to adopt Christianity in order to stay away from persecution and of course Gypsies that are indeed real wonderers took the song and tradition with them. All these nations lost their empires in one time and music was the only protest against injury and their appeal from fate.
Flamenco was a great dialog, a dialog between a cantor (singer) and a guitar which explains improvisational temper. Later it became a street dance, gypsies were showing their talent and gained extreme popular in the country. Very soon, flamenco was noticed in taverns and victualing-houses.
Today flamenco is one of the most popular dances in Spain and outside the country. World famous opera and ballet “Carmen” put it to the next level of recognition in the world music.
Madrid is considered to be the center of flamenco clubs, restaurants and dance schools. Almost every music club, bar or even nightclub has flamenco performances.
The best way to get a feel of flamenco is to watch Flamenco ballet, which is a popular troop company that performs all over the world and of course in Madrid theaters.
Cantante cafes are the most spread historical and present way to enjoy flamenco dancing. It is interesting that most of the guitar player don’t have any musical education it is just about feelings that are put on music. At any if you are looking for flamenco you will find it everywhere on the streets, in clubs and even in your hotel.
You can start at Café Tapas where you can eat your breakfast and take in the flamenco atmosphere. Then you can hit one of the taco bars that will please you with delicious meals and wonderful performances. Later at night, go to any flamenco club in Madrid, places like Vina Manolo and the most famous El Abuelo will take you to the magnificent world of the emotional and thrilling dance.
Madrid has been listening to flamenco for many centuries and it surely will make you love this passionate dance.