A woman dancing flamenco.

Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Flamenco…

Tom Welbourne Battersea Spanish, Flamenco, Musica, Travel

Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Flamenco…

Almost everybody knows about Flamenco. 

The stomping, swinging, ruffles and rampage of this infamously seductive dance is known around the globe and from performances to lessons, it’s at the fingertips of many.

In fact, you can join us in the heart of London at Battersea Spanish for our renowned Flamenco Classes

Our 8-week courses are designed to immerse you in the movement, music and culture of the dance – without needing to leave the city. From beginner’s to improvers and intermediate classes that are accompanied by live flamenco guitar, our Flamenco Courses offer something for everyone, at every level. 

 

Learning Flamenco really gives an insight into the Spanish culture, and there’s so much more to this infamous dance than red lips and hand-clapping. 

It’s a highly emotive dance and has deep roots in Spanish history. So we think if you’re planning on learning Flamenco, you should know a little about where it all started. 

Who knows? It might make you a better dancer. 

Here are a few things that you probably didn’t know about the history of Flamenco… 

A woman dancing flamenco.

The Origins 

Flamenco originated in the Andalusian region of Southern Spain through the arrival of the Gitanos (Gypsies) between the 9th and 14th centuries.

Gitanos were people who had travelled across the globe, from nation to nation, and bringing with them on their travels elements picked up from each place they visited. And so flamenco is believed to have routes in the traditional folk dances of numerous cultures including India and Egypt. 

A picture of a map.

The Meaning

Flamenco is supposed to represent a certain way of seeing the world and perceiving life. 

The most honest Flamenco fiercely represents the experience of an outcast subculture within predominantly white, Christian Spain. 

When performed traditionally amongst communities, one guitar would play accompanied by palo seco or a “dry stick” which would beat the ground. This is thought to signify the ‘one beating heart’ of the Gitano people, wherever they are in the world. 

 

The Music

We all know Flamenco, and the dance seems to take centre stage. But the essence of Flamenco is the Cante or the song. 

The music is thought to deal with profound emotions and themes such as death, anguish, despair, humour, love and deity – there is huge emotional investment from the musician.

While the commercialisation of Flamenco has led us to focus more on the dancer, traditionally the dancer was merely an interpreter of the music. So much so that it was often forbidden to perform Flamenco without music. 

 

The Recognition

Flamenco began to ‘pick up pace’, in terms of popularity, during the Romantic era in Europe. 

Romanticism paved a way in literature and art for eccentric displays of emotion, particularly love and passion. And so, the exuberance of Flamenco was eye-catching and the dance became known through literature and art. 

 

The Commercialisation

The commercialisation of Flamenco began in the late 19th century when, following its Romanticism, the performance became a commonplace cafe and bar entertainment. 

As more and more people travelled to Spain and became witness to the dance, Flamenco became embedded in other art forms like ballet and opera. 

Before long, Flamenco had become a popular culture enjoyed by many across the globe.

 

Francisco Franco

The way in which we see Flamenco today was also heavily shaped by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco (1939-1975). 

Francisco realised the potential influence of Flamenco on people and began to use the dance in various ways including government propaganda and in films used to attract people to Spain. 

As a result, by the time he passed away Flamenco was established throughout the world as something synonymous with Spanish identity. 

As you can see, the history of Flamenco is as colourful as are the performances. 

And we don’t know about you, but we want to give it a go… 

A woman dancing flamenco.

 

If you’re based in London, why not check out our Flamenco London Courses?

Our classes are small, welcoming and taught by native, professional dancers who have performed around the country in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall. 

Now you know a little more about this infamous dance, there’s no better way to learn than from people who understand the true meaning and history of Flamenco.