Shopping for Flamenco

8 Sep

The dance tradition of flamenco permeates the air in Seville. We visited the Flamenco Dance Museum which sounds so much more romantic in Spanish,  El Museo del Baile Flamenco. And we came away just beginning to understand the power of this art form. But I found my first visceral connection in a shoe store.

I saw a young women trying on various flamenco shoes. Each time she tried a new pair she would fly into a dance and stamp the floor to hear the sound of the heels. She did this on a sunny Thursday morning with power and verve and without a trace of self-consciousness.

There are hundreds of dances eloquently expressing human emotions in flamenco; happiness and playfulness in Alegrías and Tangos, loss and sadness in Soleá and Seguriyas and some very personally express the complex rhythms and musicality of daily life here.

The soul and origins of Andalusia (southern Spain), its identity and heritage, are found in flamenco. Styles are fierce, languid, balletic, sensual and powerful.

But my most intense memory of the museum came as we were passing through a hallway in the basement of the school. There, through a crack in a curtain, I saw a dancer changing, back to me. The solid muscle of his body expressed the quintessential beauty of this visceral art.

A flamenco show is next.

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