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What Is Flamenco Dance?

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What Is Flamenco Dance?

Flamenco Dance

Getty Images / Jess Alford
Flamenco dance (baile) is a highly-expressive, Spanish dance form. The flamenco is a solo dance characterized by hand clapping, percussive footwork, and intricate hand, arm and body movements.

Flamenco Technique:

With roots in Indian, Arabic, Spanish cultures, flamenco dance is known for its sweeping arm movements and rhythmic feet stomping. Flamenco dancers spend a great deal of time practicing and perfecting the often difficult dance. Although there is no single flamenco dance, dancers must follow a strict framework of rhythmic patterns. The steps a dancer performs are dependent on the traditions of the song being played. Perhaps the greatest joy of flamenco dancing is watching the personal expressions and emotions of the dancer, which change many times during a single performance.

The Flamenco Dancer:

Flamenco dancers, known as bailaores and bailaoras, are serious and passionate. Typical of flamenco dance, a dancer will often stand motionless and free of expression for the first few moments of a song. As he or she begins to feel the music, the dancer might begin a steady beat of loud hand clapping. Then, as emotion builds, the dancer will begin a passionate dance. The dancing often involves fierce stomping, sometimes made louder with percussion attachments on the shoes, and graceful arm movements. Castanets are sometimes held in the hands for clicking, and folding fans are occasionally used for visual impact.

Learning Flamenco:

Probably the most important thing you will need to start flamenco dancing is patience. The art of flamenco dance is often difficult to master. Besides learning intricate steps and movements, you will also need to learn how to nonverbally communicate with a musician or a singer. You will be taught how to properly display your innermost emotions and feelings to an audience. However, with a good instructor and a bit of patience, even an inexperienced dancer can learn.

When looking for a place to learn flamenco, begin your search in the yellow pages. Narrow your search to a professional school with experienced teachers.

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