This blog is from Christopher Scott Barnes. He is studying this semester in Seville, Spain. We offer study abroad here and many other places! If you are interested in Study Abroad, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
When gypsies arrived in Spain in the 15th century, they brought with them a style of song and dance that later developed into what is considered today as contemporary flamenco.
The tradition became popular in Spain throughout the 20th century, as the “gitanos” began performing for tourists here in Seville and other cities.
In multiple locations, visitors can still see the famous “tabloas,” in which performers display a spectrum of intense emotion through song and dance. One of the best spots in the city for flamenco is at the Museo del Baile Flamenco, which is where I was lucky enough to enjoy a proper show for the first time.
Accompanied by ICS professor Judy Cotter, a small group of students and I sat front row for an intimate performance. Afterwards, I was able to meet the star of the show, Victor Bravo, who is also the dance director of the museum. When I asked him if he could provide me with a quote about the show that evening, he replied by telling me that flamenco cannot be summed up in a few words or a couple of sentences.
The art has a rich history and has played a significant role in Spanish society for many years. The Jewish and Arabian influence that makes up the culture of southern Spain can easily be felt in the singing, which is accompanied by Spanish guitar. The flow of it all is directed by the movement of the dancers who keep time by stomping their feet, clapping their hands and rattling castanets. The rhythm of the show varies as each performer takes their turn in the spotlight. The volume goes from a hush to a crescendo as the performers show individual style as well as collective coordination.
It all adds up to an authentic, theater-like event and an evening that is worth the time and money. I highly recommend that future students experience flamenco while they are in Seville. I also recommend having dinner at Bar Estrella just around the corner from the museum. Que rico!