Tuesday 2 Sep, 2014

Flamenco Night Done Right

Our group had just got back from spending some free time at the beach in Barcelona, when Paolo, our Tour Director, brought us over to our Flamenco Evening near Las Ramblas. It was clear that everyone was a little tired. Soon though, we would all be wide awake.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, the teachers, students and I entered a small, dimly lit arched room and took our seats in front of the stage. I had some idea as to what flamenco was, but I certainly didn’t expect what unfolded. A trio of singers, dressed in traditional Flamenco attire, appeared dramatically lit in the middle of the stage. Musicians and dancers filed in as well, and together they immediately had our attention.Flamenco Dancing in SpainIt’s hard to describe how these artists are able to coordinate their harmonies, rhythmic clapping, stomping and singing to create such a unique and beautiful sound. But I would compare it to a combination of Irish River Dancing and modern day stepping. Flamenco is made up four key components: cante (sining), toque (guitar), baile (dancing), and palmas (hand clapping). Considered a folk art, flamenco is believed to be more than 200 years old, and originally stems from the Andalusian region of southern Spain. Influenced by a variety of cultures and beliefs – including Gitano, Moorish, and Jewish – Flamenco was historically a way for those who were oppressed to express themselves emotionally.

Coming from a dance background, I was intrinsically interested in the show. But what particularly caught my attention and amazed me was the fact that the students were just as interested in the performance as I was. As soon as the first group of men came out on the stage, singing passionately at the top of their lungs, I literally saw the whole group of students in my row lean in towards the stage, enthralled. “Wow,” several students whispered. Even though the whole show was sung in Spanish, the audience of mostly English speakers remained completely engaged. You could feel the emotion and intensity of the performers pour out of every word and every clap.

When the evening wrapped up, the students and I couldn’t help but clap and stomp a little ourselves as we walked out of the room.

Vicki, a Tour Consultant with EF Educational Tours, has built lasting relationships with teachers in Southern Indiana while helping them plan and organize student travel. Vicki’s passion for global travel started on her high school trip with EF. Since then, she has visited six countries across Europe, and is eager to add many more to the list!

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