Structure of a Flamenco Dance {Alegrías de Cádiz}

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The structure of a flamenco dance is a complicated topic, each palo has its own structure and even within each palo there are many possibilities.

Alegrías de Cádiz is a palo with a more defined structure which makes it a bit easier to describe.

The basic structure of alegrías is as follows:

  • Salida
  • Letras
  • Silencio
  • Castellana
  • Escobilla
  • Bulería de Cádiz

 

Salida  

The salida (entrance) includes the presentation of the 3 elements: guitar, song and dance. The salida usually starts with a falseta on the guitar as an introduction to the entrance of the song and llamada (call) by the dancer.

Letras
In developing the letra (verse), remates are often sought to strengthen the line of song, this is optional. Quite often, the letra is concluded with a coletilla (postscript - chorus of 4 bars in length), which can be topped with a cierre (closing) of the feet to call back the song and continue with a 2nd letra, or with a falseta between the letras. A practical way to finish the 2nd letra is to use a subida (rise in pace) with a final cierre (closing).

Silencio
Literally meaning silence, this is the melodic part which highlights the role of the guitar, it is also where the dancer can give more importance to body movements and play of the upper body.

Castellana
The silencio is linked to a chorus of singing of 4 bars where the pace is accelerating and ends with a cierre (closing) that gives way to the escobilla (footwork) for alegrías.

Escobilla
The escobilla is the part devoted to footwork in which the interpreter develops his or her rhythmic virtuosity.  To end the escobilla you can do a subida (rise in pace) to a close and make way for the bulería, or raise the speed up and call to enter the bulería directly.

Bulería de Cadiz.
You dance and play with the song of bulería de cádiz and may end with a subida (rise in pace), chorus (tirititran) and cierre (close).