Monday, August 30, 2010

So you think you can dance?

1. A style of dancing, characteristic of the Andalusian Gypsies, that is strongly rhythmic and involves vigorous actions, as clapping the hands and stamping the feet.
2. A style of instrumental or vocal music originating in southern Spain and typically of an intensely rhythmic, improvisatory character, performed by itself or as an accompaniment to flamenco dancing.

I have always been a Zorro fan. In fact, my mom made me a Zorro costume when I was little and I wore it for numerous Halloweens. With that said, I am a big fan of the movie The Mask of Zorro. There is a specific scene in that movie where Catherine Zeta-Jones does a flamenco dance as everyone looks upon her. Last Wednesday I was able to experience what all those spectators witnessed on the set as they watched Jones—the flamenco (relatively speaking in regards to Jones’ performance, not to take anything away from her performance that is...)

We first separated into groups to go out for tapas, basically what Spaniards call appetizers. This night in particular I had some of the best non-fish tapas I have had here in Spain (I say non-fish because many of the tapas I had up to this point were fish, and even though I wasn’t a big fish fan before I came to Spain, I am gradually expanding my taste pallets to include a few different types). We tried several different tapas at this restaurant, but there were two that blew me away—“pollo con tomate” and “queso frito.” Those are pretty easy to translate but for those of you who don’t know those are “chicken with tomatoes” (more of a stew) and “fried cheese.” Deliciousness.

After enjoying a few different plates (including calamari which I am gradually becoming a fan of) we made our way to the center of town and hung out in front of the cathedral to take pictures. We had about 30 minutes before we had to head towards the cultural center where we would be watching the flamenco.

Eventually we made our way there, stood in line, received are tickets, and shuffled into the dim lighted center courtyard of an old Spanish home where the flamenco would take place. There were five acts: (Note: the audience was only allowed to take pictures during the fifth act)

Act 1: Classical Guitar and Singing
Two men sat on the state with one playing classical guitar well the other clapped and sang. Very cool with some spectacular guitar playing and basic clap flamenco.

Act 2: Classical guitar, singing, and male dancer
The guitar player and the singer moved their chairs off stage, and were also joined by a woman. Within a couple of minutes of them playing the male flamenco dancer came on stage. It was incredible. It was a mix of crazy tap-dancing and movement of the body. Pair that with the guitar and singing in the background and it was an awesome experience.

Act 3: Classical guitar
The classical guitarist played for about 7-8 minutes. This was some incredible guitar playing that I know my brother would of really enjoyed (my brother is a big guitar player and can play a little classical guitar himself).

Act 4: Classical guitar, singing, and female dancer
The male dancer switched roles with the female dancer for this act and it was her time to shine. Again, it was an incredible performance by everyone.

Act 5: Classical guitar, singing, and both female and male dancers
This act contained more of what I traditionally though a flamenco dance would look like. The couple danced on the stage for only a few minutes while the crowd snapped pictures but it was something you may have seen Catherina Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas do in The Mask of Zorro.

All in all it was an incredible and entertaining night. I wish I could further explain what the flamenco was like, but it was so unique and indescribable that you would have to see it for yourself. That was the first flamenco show I have ever been to, but it will definitely not be my last here in Spain.


  1. Great pics. and storytelling!!!

  2. A: you are a blog stealer
    B: you have just convinced me to move to spain. so my task for you is to find me a job in teaching or architecture and find me a place to live. ready... GO!

  3. haha i liked the idea... which i will fully credit you with!