A reader, Valeska Lozada, who is a flamenco dancer from Venezuela, has requested me to disseminate her call for financial help to make it possible for her to travel to Madrid to study flamenco. From the video, it would seem she is already very skilled and, clearly, talented.
This request made me think about the financial aspect of a flamenco life… This is especially pertinent to those of us who were not born to flamenco, but fell in love with it, in some remote part of the globe, along the way. How many pounds and euros have I spent over the past thirty years on classes, shoes, shawls, fans, hair clips, fake flowers, earrings, skirts, books, CDs, DVDs, concerts, gigs…? How many people travel to Spain yearly from places as far away as Japan, Australia and, it would seem, Venezuela, to find ‘the real thing’ in Spain? Is ‘real’ flamenco only in Spain? Is access to flamenco a privilege of class and wealth? If so, is it not ironic that an art form that emerged from the dirt poor underbelly of southern Spanish cities should turn into a commodity of privilege? What does that mean for the art form itself?
They say that flamenco is universal… Then what does it mean for flamenco lovers from across the globe, if access to this art is subject to currency fluctuations, devaluations and exchange control mechanisms?