I wasn’t going to blog until after I returned form Sevilla, but this can’t wait. I just experienced Flamenco for the first time and am enchanted. It was so (and here follows a list of adjectives, alliteration unintentional) passionate, pure, emotional, climactic, pained, and proud. I’m still coming down off my high. Please note that the following review (of sorts) is completely uninformed and unbiased. All I know about Flamenco is that it probably originated in Sevilla or Jerez among the gypsy people.
Let me set the stage: An old Spanish house converted into an intimate theater with a petite stage and seating for well under 100. Enter: Spanish guitarist and two singers/percussionists* (see later definition). Acoustic guitar begins, accompanied by solo vocalist. Then heel clicks, dancer, and muted percussion via both hands and feet. Ensue drama.
When the dancing began, I was first fixated on the dancer’s feet, and the tap-like rhythms and techniques that came from them. As I became more involved in the experience, the beat fell into more of a supporting role. While I noticed the posture of the dancers, the way they used their hips, their intense facial expression, there was something else that was drawing me in and telling the story: their hands. Well, their hands, their arms, and their shoulders. But ultimately, their hands. Both the male and female performers wore costumes that covered them from head to toe, exposing only their faces and hands. I have never seen such a range of expression come from the hands. They could be beautiful and fluid one moment, and rigid and full of angst the next. One trembling or crooked finger emitted a sense of pain or tension, all the while seemingly separate from their lower, staccato rhythm of their feet and legs. It was an amazing exhibition of control, power, and grace.
The most effortless moment for me came during number late in the show. The dancer started with a slow, ballet-like performance that erupted into power and rhythmic complexity. Not only was the crowd enthralled, but the guitarist and singers seemed lose themselves in the performance, creating something I can only describe as perfect harmony. The singers followed the dancer’s levels in with their voices, and added depth with their percussion while the guitarist built the climaxes quickly and helped the dancer float down and step off of them as easily as he breathed. All I remember about the end is that I didn’t want it to end.
This has been my favorite experience in Spain to date!