What is a Remate?

What is a remate in flamenco dance? | www.flamencobites.com

When you speak about flamenco dance there is a lot of vocabulary that is used over and over again.  I thought it might be a good idea to look at a few of these terms and explain them a bit more deeply for the beginners out there.

Today we are going to look at a term that you will hear referred to constantly in flamenco dance - the remate.

The term remate comes from the verb rematar which means to end or to conclude.

The remate can be used to conclude a series of movements but it is also used as a step to enhance the strength of a letra or falsetta - in this sense it is not a conclusion but a continuation of the music and movement.

A remate used during a verse can be placed where the singer stops for a breath, this is what students will learn when they first begin to study flamenco. As you progress you will discover that remates can be placed through out the song while the singer is singing but you must have great understanding of the music and phrasing of the cantaor so your remate does not clash but rather complements the letra.

The example above is a remate for soleá and is one compás long. 

Watch the video below to see the same remate in the context of a longer choreography. José starts with a llamada then does 2 compás of marcaje before the remate and then continues with another marcaje step immediately following the remate.

A typical remate will feature some kind of percussive footwork but this is not always necessary.

In the example below the remate (which starts at 23 seconds) is marked by the movement of the shoulders, the fan and a turn. The only beat marked by the feet is the accent on count 10 at the end.

Here are some more examples...

Soleá por bulerías

Alegrías

Bulerías

The next time you watch a performance try to notice when the remates occur. Remember that they are different to a llamada which is the term we will cover next in this series.

If you have any questions let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,

Renae & José