The history of flamenco dancing is fascinating. From the original performers, repudiated farmworkers to international stars, flamenco enthusiasts have played a key role in transmitting it. It's the victory of sensibility over sense.
Flamenco is based on a triangle: singing, playing guitar and dancing. All 3 are dependent on each other and it's rare to see a performance where one of these cultural expressions is missing.
Probably the best known art form of flamenco is its dancing style.
The history of flamenco dancing dates back from the 18th century, despite some scholars claim that it existed long before that. It's said that it has roots from all the medieval cultures that inhabited Spain. Thus, it's a dance that intermingles features from the local musical culture and many others thanks to the influences travellers brought back to Spain from the colonies.
Nevertheless, gypsies were the major spreading actors of the flamenco dance. They were able to successfully merge such a wide variety of rhythms in one.
Until the end of the 18th century, gypsies were part of the lower social classes. They were marginalized and chased for centuries. This sentiment of suffering and rejection is one of the bases of the drama surrounding flamenco dancing.
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In 1783, King Charles III regulated the social exclusion of the gypsy community. Little by little, they began to integrate -not without difficulty- to the Spanish society. As their visibility increased, gypsies performed their songs and dances not only privately but also for larger audiences.
During the first half of the 19th century, Andalucia and the gypsy character caused fascination among Spaniards and young European Romantics. This character was a synonym of independence and uniqueness. The description of flamenco parties written by these travellers resulted in the massive expansion of flamenco.
Thanks to this, flamenco dancing was publicly performed in cafes cantantes first (during a period also known as opera flamenca), and in larger venues later on. As a result, it became so popular that there were flamenco shows everywhere. The excess was such that spectators stopped attending and flamenco almost
Fortunately, new influences and major artists of the 1950s recover the original spirit of flamenco and from then on it has been considered an art.
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The history of flamenco dancing has had a constant evolution for the past 250 years. According to the experts, there have been 4 different periods:
Your evening starts with a private tour around the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of the city. After a detailed explanation of Seville's history, visit the Flamenco Museum. There you can have a complete introduction to flamenco, its origins and the different musical and artistic styles.
To end a lovely night, experience a colorful and passionate flamenco show in a typical Jewish house. Some of the most famous bailaores and bailaoras started their career in Seville. You might discover a new shining star going to a tablao!
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