Flamenco

Spain

We first came across flamenco not in Spain but in France at a local festival. We’d always assumed it was just an opportunity to dress up in colourful costume, wield a few pairs of castanets and amuse the tourists. It’s not, is it?

On that evening in Pamiers, we were mesmerised by the dancers’ extraordinary balance between being both controlled and uninhibited, expressive yet disciplined, and profoundly emotional and erotic. We’ve never forgotten it.

Yesterday, Javi took us on one of his walks. I mentioned it in my post. I didn’t say we got lost at one point, finding ourselves in what turned out to be the grounds of the Escuela International de Flamenco Manolete. A caretaker came out to put us right. Only he wasn’t a caretaker. He was Manolete, one of the greatest living exponents of flamenco.

He showed us round: we saw the performing space, backed not with curtains, but with a plate glass window looking straight out onto a view of the Alhambra.

Malcolm, Jane, Manolete and Javi on stage: not dancing though.

He wasn’t performing that day, but another troupe was, in another part of Sacromonte.

We got tickets. We went. My picture can’t convey the involving, sensuous unbridled yet contained emotion displayed by a small troupe of performers who danced, clicked vibrated and stamped their feet while others sang, chanted, clapped in sustained and complicated rhythm, and played guitar. Mesmerising.

20 thoughts on “Flamenco

  1. That’s a great experience!
    We saw the flamenco in Granada too, the last time we were there. The passion and intensity of the dance is amazing to watch. Loved it x

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  2. I’d like to see flamenco live. I’ve only seen it on TV and I don’t think that conveys the nuances and power at all. How serendipitous that you got lost!

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  3. Have you read ‘Duende’ by Jason Webster? Well worth a read if you are interested in flamenco

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  4. How fabulous. I looked up Manolete as I thought he looked so charismatic in your photo. I saw some clips of him dancing and his poise and intensity is incredible.

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  5. How marvellous. Of course brilliant dancers, but also looks like you were at the ideal venue, informal and intimate. I think flamenco, like jazz, is best in small venues and not on big, formal stages.

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  6. Quite. Involvement seems to be key. Several of the audience that night were Japanese. Extremely polite, extremely restrained. The dancers seemed less than pleased.

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