Last night, all of the students in the program walked up into the Sacromonte, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Granada, to watch a flamenco show.
Flamenco shows are put on regularly throughout Andalucía, the province where Granada is located. Walking through the Albaícin and Sacromonte, there are signs for flamenco shows at many restaurants. Luckily, the program that I went to was organized and paid for by CEGRÍ as an enrichment program for the Cultures of Spain course, saving me the trouble of choosing the restaurant.
The room where the show was held contained four long tables, each seating about 50 people, facing a small stage with seven chairs. Behind the stage was a mural of a flamenco dancer holding a guitar up to the sky.
Before going to the show, I had talked to my host mother and her oldest daughter about flamenco. My host mom said that flamenco lessons are offered to teach children how to dance, play the guitar, and sing. Her daughter took flamenco lessons for years and is a talented dancer, while her grandson is learning to play the guitar now. After watching the performance, I can only imagine the time and talent necessary for the performers to reach the level of skill that they showcased.
The show started as four performers – a guitarist, two singers, and the dancer – took the stage for their first song. The singers and guitarist sat in chairs toward the back of the stage as the dancer performed her routine, dressed in an elaborate black and floral skirt with a long, ruffled train. The dance was mesmerizing, and I was amazed at her ability to move her feet so quickly. During the dance, the singers kept the beat of the song by clapping and stopping their feet, and the dancer’s routine was timed perfectly so her steps matched with the claps.
After the first performance, the guitarist played a song by himself, followed by just the guitarist and singers, and lastly adding the dancer back in. I appreciated this breakdown of the sections, because it allowed me to focus more on the individual parts of the performance. When all four performers were on the stage, the dance was so captivating that it was hard to focus on anything else, and the music fell into the background. When the music was isolated from the dancer, I was able to appreciate how quickly the guitarist was able to play the melody and how unique the voices of the singers were. It was wonderful to experience a little part of the Spanish culture that has been passed down for generations.