Flirting With Flamenco, One Fierce Stomp At A Time

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Flirting With Flamenco, One Fierce Stomp At A Time

September 19, 2017


The woman standing in front of me was a fiery, furious, siren. With every snap of her fingers and clap of her hands, every slap of her thigh and pound of her chest, she enthralled me. She pounded and stamped, each action carried out with such beautiful emotion behind it that you couldn’t help but stare.

I found myself smiling and laughing, caught up in the drama of the dance and a bit embarrassed because she danced as if she knew me. I had never seen a women move like that, she owned the entire stage and she refused to be ignored.

With one dance, she expressed every emotion I have ever felt as a woman.

It is said that young people cannot perform the flamenco because they lack the emotional maturity to convey the soul of the dance. Now I know why. Flamenco is born of heart and passion. And even more importantly, pain and love.

While there are a few styles of flamenco, what remains a constant is that the experience is never solitary. Flamenco incorporates the dancer, the guitar, the singer, and even the hell-raising (the raucous hand-clapping, foot stomping and finger snapping) into a seamless sensory experience. Even when you can imagine all these elements perfectly combined, it is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to a flamenco performance.

The dance is history in motion. Born out of the tears and troubles of the marginalized populations in the south of Spain, flamenco is equal parts Greek, Roman, Indian, Moorish and Jewish.

To experience this deeply cultural experience in person, I traveled Andalusia, Seville, a small city in the South of Spain, and the birth place of Flamenco. My mission was twofold, I wanted to experience flamenco in its purest and most authentic form.

In the city of clicking castanets, one of the best places to experience flamenco is at the Flamenco Dance Museum of Seville. Said to be the only museum dedicated to this art form in the world, the museum is as alive and interactive as you could expect any dance space to be. It hosts mesmeric flamenco performances daily as well as private flamenco dance classes open to interested amateurs.   


To fully appreciate the rigor of dancing flamenco, I signed up for a class. Luckily, I was joined by my five-year-old daughter Martina, who had shown great interest in the dance for over a year.

As rudimentary as that first class was, I left convinced that flamenco dancers aren’t bred; they’re born. Yes, you can follow along and learn the steps, but true flamenco, the kind that the tall woman in front of me was performing, is something that runs in your blood.

I would even go so far as to say that flamenco comes from a deep, indigenous, possibly dark place within the dancer’s soul. Traditionally, flamenco is totally improvised, which makes every performance unique and organic.

Unlike the earth-shattering flamenco dancers that graced the scoffed wooden stage at the museum, my flamenco career was short-lived. I discovered it would take more than two classes to develop my flamenco duende (soul) and my tenacity to, “rise hell.”

Nevertheless, it was a fun segue to a perfect Sevillian journey, and having tried it, I now have an even deeper appreciation and fascination for this soulful, passionate dance.

While Andalusia may be one of the best places to experience flamenco, the great news is, flamenco is on the move. What was once a very mysterious and private art form has since transcended boundaries. So, if you are not going to travel to Andalusia soon, get to stomping to any one of the hundreds of specialty flamenco locations – bars, schools, theatres, and the like – around the world.

Here are some video highlights of my flamenco immersion. 

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