Fiery and flamboyant: flamenco comes to Huaraz

T his Sunday at 7.00pm, Huaraz will set the stage for its first ever performance of flamenco and Spanish dance, free for all to enjoy. “Sentir Flamenco” is the work of multitalented ballerina Alexandra Sánchez, who is visiting the city as the guest of the municipality and the Cultural Centre of Huaraz. For locals and tourists alike, this performance will be a chance to savour the passionate and fiery art form in the flesh.

It is common to think of flamenco as just a dance, but in fact it is made of four equally important components; singing, dancing, guitar playing and  “jaleowhich roughly translated means “hell raising”. Take this to mean what you will, but normally jaleo involves clapping, stomping your feet and shouting. Additionally, the dancer must embody the spirit of “duende”, performing with intensity, passion and authenticity. The spirit of duende has often been associated with folkdances of persecuted peoples who feel deeply the pain of their struggles in contrast to the joy of performance.

Duende is especially important in flamenco for its history is rooted in suffering and persecution. It is said to have originated from Andalucían folk music in the 18th century, adapted and developed by gypsy musicians who had arrived during the time of Arab rule in Spain. Many of these gypsies, along with other “undesirable” peoples such as Jews and Moors, were later persecuted by the Christians and driven into the high mountains, where the electric and passionate music of flamenco really took shape.

In fact, initially flamenco didn’t involve dance at all. The vocal tradition developed first, followed by an informal style of dance and eventually the introduction of the guitar in the 19th century. By the 20th century, the art of flamenco had established itself as a firm favourite in Spain, with more stylised dancing and singing performed in cafes across the country.

Nowadays, flamenco is a popular art form practiced all over the world (interestingly, there are more flamenco schools in Japan than in Spain itself!). Here is your chance to see it right here in Huaraz- don’t miss it!

“Sentir Flamenco” will take place on Sunday 24th September at 7.00pm in the theatre “Lombardo Mautino Ángeles” of the Cultural Centre of Huaraz.

Author: Nicola Phillips

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