We're Renae and Josè, creators of flamencobites.com. If you’re new to the world of flamenco dance, this page is for you!
Consider this page and even this website as your first step on the way to becoming wise to the ways of the flamenco world. We are aiming to help out complete beginners here so if that's you, you are in the right place.
Right, enough of that.. let's go!
What is Flamenco?
Oh boy, that's a big question. According to wikipedia 'Flamenco is a genre of music, song and dance from the Spanish region of Andalusia, noted for its energetic, staccato style.' That's true, but there is so much more to it than that.
The Song of the Exiled
Flamenco as we know it today is the product of many generations and cultures. Over time the region of Andalucia became home to many different cultures including Jews, Romans and Moors. Around the 15th century, tribes of nomadic gypsies arrived which coincided with the relinquishment of the sovereignty of the Moorish Emirate of Granada to the Catholic monarchs of Spain.
Its is commonly thought (although there are no records from that time) that flamenco developed against the background of the turmoil in Andalucia that followed this time. The Jews were expelled from Spain and the Muslim population were forced to convert to Catholicism or be expelled.
The earliest flamenco songs were an expression of a people dealing with life's hardships. It is hard to imagine that they weren't a product of this difficult time.
You're probably thinking that there must be a lot more to learn about the history of flamenco before we get to what Flamenco is today. You're right, there is a lot more to it but we don't want this little guide to turn into a book! The main thing to know is that everything in flamenco is connected and you can see and hear many influences both internal and external everywhere you turn. Part of the fun of getting hooked on this art form is the journey you go on in figuring it all out for your self.
Flamenco today is a celebrated art form and it is loved and performed by people all over the world. We are all human and flamenco speaks to the human condition. Like any modern art form flamenco is influenced by the world around it, it moves and changes with the times and is very exciting.