The origins of flamenco
The world of flamenco interests me greatly. That is why I decided to find out more about it, to discover more about where it comes from.
Flamenco is originally from Andalucía, a region in southern Spain. It was originally the dance of Spanish gypsies who came to southern Spain through Iran, Iraq, Greece and Turkey. The gypsies used all of these different cultures to create the flamenco dance and music.
The gypsies were very different from the Spaniards. They spoke not Castilian but their own language. Their clothes were also different, and for these reasons Spanish society tried to reject them.
The gypsies used Moorish, Jewish and African influences to form flamenco. Flamenco music often sounds sorrowful, reflecting the hard lives of the gypsies who had to do manual work to get by. The roots of flamenco therefore lead us back to lives of hardship and sadness.
However, it was in Jerez de la Frontera that the gypsies managed to find their place. They managed to integrate into society and were more accepted by the Spaniards.
I spent my Erasmus year in Cádiz, a city in Andalucía which is famous for its flamenco. There were so many opportunities to see flamenco shows. Their style of flamenco is known for having a more jolly and upbeat style, which I enjoyed. People also say that their flamenco is influenced by the sea, which is an integral part of life in Cádiz; it is surrounded by water and has lots of beautiful beaches with soft sand. For this reason, I believe their flamenco took on a more relaxed style.
What I really like about flamenco is the beautiful outfits the women wear. They are often red and flowing and the women often wear a red flower in their hair. The flamenco movements convey lots of passion and energy, and I like the way the dancers’ shoes make a ‘clacking’ sound on the floor as they dance. Their movements are abrupt and create lots of suspense and emotion.
I am glad to finally know the roots of flamenco; its history is so interesting, and we owe everything to the gypsies who created it using their influences from all around the world. Now flamenco can be enjoyed by everyone, and I certainly hope to see more flamenco shows and maybe even learn a few steps!