Flamenco Dance – What to Do in Spain
Flamenco Dance – What to Do in Spain
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When in Spain you have to see a flamenco dance show. Isn’t that a rule somewhere? We really wanted to see one, but we weren’t sure if the kids would be welcome and if they would like it.
Flamenco dance is a popular style of dance in Spain. It involves hand clapping, foot stomping and a few special type of music – flamenco guitar.
I like to prepare the kids before any trip so we read about flamenco dance and watched some videos. This gives the kids an idea of what to expect. A lot of people worry that showing a child ahead of time ‘ruins the surprise’ but when a child is prepared for an experience they actually enjoy things more. Remember, absolutely everything about a trip is new to a child and it can be overwhelming. Preparation can really cut down on anxiety and melt downs!
When we arrived in Seville Spain we saw a flamenco dance show and it was an amazing experience! The flamenco music was even more dramatic in person than in videos. The passion in the dance is just astounding! We were all just frozen watching the show! The kids were enthralled and watched while being perfectly still. They loved it and so did we.
Lesson: You CAN take the kids to the experiences you want to see!
Flamenco Dance – What to Do in Spain – Flamenco Dance NOT Flamingo Dance
Talk to the kids about how similar those words are….flamingo and flamenco. Lots of grown ups get them mixed up, too!
Ok so this is flamenco……
and this is flamingo!
To further confuse things the word ‘flamenco’ in Spanish actually means flamingo. LOL! Why is this amazing art form given the name flamingo? There is no firm answer here about the origin of the world flamenco.
Show the kids and they will forever be on the right side of the flamingo vs flamenco debate. I absolutely adore this explanation from Flamenco not Flamingocom.
Flamenco Dance – What to Do in Spain – Where did flamenco originate?
Flamenco dance is born of many roots….gypsy mostly from the Middle East and northern Africa. When these people arrived in the kingdoms of Spain they were welcomed and many religions: Jewish, Muslim, and Christian all peacefully co-existed.
Then, after the Catholics conquered and united Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, religions other than Catholicism were not allowed. People were forced to convert or leave.
While in hiding, people sang and danced to give voice to their heartache. This is the heart of flamenco.
Flamenco Dance – What to Do in Spain – What is flamenco all about?
The dances start out slowly to express pain, then speed up to express anger in a frenzy of speedy foot movements, and finally once the anger is released, the joy and hope can be expressed at the end of the dance. It is full of emotions and passion.
Flamenco Dance – What to Do in Spain – Will the kids enjoy flamenco?
It was the first time the chickadees and I had seen a flamenco dance and I wasn’t sure how interesting they would find it. Even though we had seen dances on youtube before we left home, there is nothing like seeing something in person. I think this photo shows clearly how spellbound the kids were – utterly stunned and amazed.
The best way I could describe this style of dance is ‘violent tap dancing’. The stomping and vigor shown in these dances is just hard to describe! The dancers’ feet were often a blur they were moving so fast.
A favorite souvenir we bought while in Seville, Spain was a flamenco dance dress for a Barbie doll! There were lots of fun times playing with her and remembering our lovely family vacation to Spain.
Flamenco Dance – What to Do in Spain – The Bailaora in Flamenco
The female dancer is called a bailaora. She often uses castanets as well as her shoes to make clicks and stomps. The noises she makes join the music to show passion and emotion.
Her dress often has many ruffles often in red, black, or white, but the bailaora in our show wore purple and yellow! She also dances and stomps in high heels with very sturdy heels.
Of course I was anxious to see this performer dance in this lovely dress…the train is very long and looks heavy from the way it moved. She was a master at kicking it around to not step on it while her feet moved so quickly.
Flamenco Dance – What to Do in Spain – The Bailer in Flamenco
In flamenco dance the male dancer is called the bailer. He wears dark trousers with tuxedo shirts and often wears a special hat called a cordoban hat. It seems like a very warm outfit to wear for such a strenuous activity!
This guy was something to see. His feet moved so fast…incredible. He also worked up an incredible sweat and you could see it flying off his hair when he whipped his head around. Both fascinating and yech. 😉
The funniest thing about him was that moments…literally moments after the show he was outside, 2 doors down (all the buildings are stuck together so it was super close) at the bar, smoking a cigarette. How could some one who needs such cardio vascular strength smoke???
Flamenco Dance – What to Do in Spain – Flamenco Music
Music plays such an important part of any show. It sets the mood and gives so much depth to a performance. Just think of how music can make you feel more relaxed or help you get through a strenuous workout. Music adds to your memories – like the music for your first dance at your wedding.
Flamenco music has such passion. I love to listen to Spanish guitar because it is so full of emotion. It can make you feel relaxed or make you want to get up and dance yourself!
Enjoy a few pieces of flamenco music. This is my favorite and just so you know…. it is great to play loudly in the background when you are cleaning house!!
Of course when in Rome you must do as the Romans, right – dancing not the smoking!! LOL! Here we are doing our best to fill the flamenco dancer’s shoes!! Great photo op for the whole family at the theatre.
When you visit Spain on a family vacation, keep the kids engaged and interested with The Adventure Series Travel Book about Spain. Written for elementary school aged kids by The Educational Tourist. On sale now!
Spain is warm and welcoming for family vacations! If you are headed to the wonderful Spain you’ll enjoy these related posts.
Natalie, The Educational Tourist