While there is no sole reason or event that created flamenco, it’s said that the art comes from a blending of various cultures, catalyzed by the Roma migration to Spain. The Gitanos (gypsies) traveled through various lands, picking up folk dances, songs, and instruments along their journey. Once they settled in Andalusia, southern Spain, the Gitanos met and interacted with the Sephardic Jewish and Moor cultures endemic to Iberia. Within this cultural amalgamation, over centuries, the unique art we know as flamenco was produced.
In the 19th century, flamenco was further developed and then popularized in specialized bars throughout Seville. The first of them opened around 1885, and then more spread throughout Andalusia and Madrid
When watching flamenco, one must take heed of el duende. It lacks a direct translation, but what duende means is the energy and spirit of the show: the passion displayed by the performers.
When watching flamenco, one wants to be able to truly feel el duende as if it were something physical you could touch. The energy behind the singing, the emotion of the instruments, and the passion of the dancing all must unify. Flamenco, however, isn’t tied to one single emotion. Instead, it runs the gamut of human expression. A performance could display the gitano’s crippling angst against their historic mistreatment, a defiant protest against authoritarianism, or passionate sensual energy between the bailaor and bailaora.
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