My letter for the Day is ‘F’
Flamenco is a old-style art form of Spain which includes guitar playing (toque), cante (singing) and baile (dance), jaleo (vocalization), palmas (handclapping) and pitos (finger snapping).
The original Flamenco was about singing and clapping. In modern Flamenco we can see the use of all types of music and instruments.
How to perform this dance?
Previously the dancers learnt this dance from their friends, relatives etc. There was no such training. But modern Flamenco dancers are all well trained.
The important steps are stamp and tap. Stamp (correctly known as a ‘flat’) is where you quickly bring the foot down in contact with the floor, with the heel and toe landing on the floor at the same time to create one single loud stomping noise.
To plant a tap, either bring the heel or the toe down to the floor to make the sound but do not lift it again – it remains in contact with the floor.
The main thing is speed, you have to do the steps fast in order to get the accurate Spanish sound. You have to keep your weight firmly over the hips and keep soft knees. Do not lock or straighten your legs while performing the dance.
The dance is about fast rhythm and melodies. The instruments that are used in this dance are specially designed.
Flamenco Guitar – It is a six-stringed acoustic instrument. The front and sides of the body of the guitar, as well as the neck and headstock, are made of different types of woods. This is just to create a specific flamenco sound.
Cajón– It is made of wood and six sided box with a hole. Percussionists sit on it and play it by slapping the front of its face with their fingers and hands.
Palillos or Castanets – A hand percussion instrument made from two concave “shells” that are attached by string. The shells are made of stone, wood or, more commonly, fiberglass. Usually two pairs of palillos are used at the same time, with one sized and pitched differently than the other.
Palmas – Clapping is important in this dance form. Claps are used to make the song beats more prominent and to keep up the fast tempo. In Flamenco, there are two types of clapping – hard claps (“fuertes”) and soft claps (“sordas”). Soft claps are used with guitar or vocal solos and hard claps are used especially when the dancers are stomping their feet.
The dress is designed based on the dance requirement.
- Bata de Cola: This is a single piece outfit with a snug waist. This costume can be heavy, and the trails can measure up to 5 feet and is full of flowing, colorful ruffles. Dancers shake and raise the bata de cola with the rhythm of the music. So it is designed for the experienced Flamenco dancers.
- Traje de Flamenco: It is an ankle length outfit and has ruffles all over including the sleeves. Traditional dancers wear V-pattern shawl (mantan) around the waist to add more colors to the costume.Polka dots, plain or solid colors are very popular.
Male costumes do not have much variety. They wear tight-fitted trousers, white shirt underneath the short jacket or vest. The outfit is black in color. Sometimes, they tie scarf around the neck.
The men wear straw hats (Cordoba) and hold Palillos or Castanets in their hands. Women hold fancy lace-trimmed fans to highlight their hand and wrist movements.
Shoes or Zapatos:
These shows are specially designed for Flamenco. Foot work plays the key role because the male and female dancers use the nails to bring out the sound with dance steps.
Sharing here some videos of Flamenco Dance performance:
What will be my next dance form for the letter ‘G’?
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