The Repertoire of Olé Music & Dance of Spain
- Asturias (Clasico)
- Danza Mora
- Fandangos de Huelva
- Musica Sefardí
- Paso Doble
- Solea por Bulerias
- Tango con Zambra
Flamenco is an extraordinary approach to life. Flamenco singers and dancers embody this approach with their highly extroverted style, from the SOLEA to the more moderate ALEGRIAS. There are many styles of flamenco and dancers express themselves according to the type of dance that they are interpreting. Each have their individual flamenco style. The same variations to the style apply to the song, the words, the singers inspiration and above all, the feeling. Lets take a look at the different styles of flamenco in more detail.
Dance Styles of Flamenco
FANDANGOS: There are many types of Fandango. The most famous group is the Fandangos de Huelva… There is a basic difference between danceable and non danceable Fandangos. The latter are sung free-style without needing to fit with the dance; they are also played at a much slower rhythm. These are Fandangos for listening to. Some of the most popular danceable Fandangos include the Verdiales and the Fandangos de Huelva and they are usually, though not always, accompanied by castanets. You can see how dancers do their dances to the verses one by one, and at the climax, they come together to dance the last Fandango.
TIENTOS AND TANGOS: Tientos and tangos have their own tempos. Tientos can be defined as “extended” tangos, but have a slower tempo and a grander feel. Tientos triplets and melody make it a “cante grande” (a type of flamenco song) . You will see performances of the lively tango together with the Buleria, at any gypsy party. In tangos the dancer is the one who changes the beat, tapping her shoes for a faster rhythm which the group follows by clapping hands (palmas) and shouting words of encouragement.
ALEGRIAS: Although most flamenco is danced free-style, alegrias generally follow a certain order: paseo, silencio, castellana or paseo castellano, escobilla and the finale.
PASEO: The dancer begins the paseo (a slow -paced walk) accompanied by the singer. When the singer finishes the verse, the dance “calls out” with her feet, accelerating the rhythm until she brings the tempo to a sudden stop end with a desplante (a defiant pose).
SILENCO: The next stage is silencio, and is a fragment of the “cante” . The guitar takes centre stage and the dancer makes expansive arm movements and sensual hand gestures. When this stage finishes, the dancer gives a new call to mark the beginning of the paseo castellano or, La Castellana The singer rejoins in this section and the dance becomes livelier as it gathers pace.
ESCOBILLA: The next stage is the escobilla, a word that refers to tap dancing. The amount of time that the escobilla last can vary; the steps in each dance are either choreographed or improvised; the rhythm can be altered with syncopations, with the dancer adjusting the volume of the tap-dancing. This is the moment for the dancer to fully express herself. The singer rests during this stage, leaving the dancer in the lime light. (If the guitarist stops playing, then it becomes a “foot solo”) . The dancer should normally respect the singer or guitarist so that the noise of the tap-dancing does not upset the group’s harmony.
FINALE: The escobilla is the final stage of the Alegrias and the dancer returns to her seat in this case. Sometimes, the dancer may add a few steps of the Buleria, but we will look at these in the Solea. We would also like to mention here that these three dances (Alegrias, Solea and Bulerias) have the same twelve-time tempo.
SOLEA AND BULERIAS: The Solea brings us to the jondo. It is difficult to describe jondo in words and it is beyond the scope of this brief summary. The best we can do is to try and get closer to the deep feeling that the Solea creates. The dancer and singer draw us into their emotions. The guitars produce an equally unusual sound… The best way to understand the solea is let it flow through you and, above all, to feel it. The Solea is a completely emotional experience that is not only reflected in the facial expression and gestures of the dancer, but also in the atmosphere that becomes ever more charged as the Solea continues. These are the famous duendes (the inner spirits, released as a result of a performer’s intense emotional involvement with flamenco music, song and dance) and its pellizcos. The Buleria is a typical gypsy song and dance. This rare and magnificent expression of beauty will purify our spirit. As the Bulerias singer says: “Luz que va, luz que viene…” (light that comes, light that goes…”)
FARRUCA: This is traditionally a men’s dance and is usually accompanied just by the guitar, without singing. The dancer’s movements are generally more rigid and linear, more in line with his masculine personality. If we take the hands as an example, unlike the female dancer, who twists her fingers in sophisticated movements, the man stretches his fingers slowly, emphasizing the straight line rather then the curve. The same principle applies to the way in which the arms are raised, the style of walking, the look… and as far as the man’s artistic style is concerned, the male dancer’s elegant and decisive pose is reminiscent of a bullfighter, and vice-versa. If the female dancer expresses herself with hand and arm movements (both being typical feminine expressions in flamenco), the male dancer places greater emphasis on his tap-dancing. The male dancer may show strength, vigor, energy and speed, but he may also resort to the more stuttered style, based on slight movement of the shoulders, torso and neck, and striking very expressive poses, despite the lack of apparent movement. A good example of this, and a very graceful example, is the flamenco aficionado who gets up to dance, particularly the Sevillanas.
SEVILLANAS: Seville celebrates the arrival of spring with a magnificent festival. People from Seville show their enthusiasm and joy when dancing the Sevillanas during this festival. This dance comprises six three-step verses and is danced in couples. There are several versions of Sevillanas: boleras, corraleras, rocieras… Sevillanas have become extremely popular as it is fairly easy dance to learn and a lot of fun.
RUMBA: The rumba is well known for its unusual hip and shoulder movements. The dance can be improvised as it has an easy-to-follow beat and the dancer can express their own personality in the most humorous and easy-going way possible. However, there are certain basic steps and movements that have to be learned at the very beginning. Flamenco dancers can really let ourselves go when dancing the rumba in our attempt to express the words of the singer, which is exactly what the rumba is all about: good humor, optimism and the desire to really enter into the spirit.