¡Viva la flamenca!

Festival of flamencasThe Flamenco Festival at Sadlers Wells is dominated this year by women dancers and women choreographers. This predominance of the feminine is in keeping with the notable changes in the role of women in Spanish society. In the past thirty years, since the Transition to democracy, Spanish women have taken great strides towards not merely emancipation, but towards key positions at the vanguard of political, cultural and artistic change.

Gone, it would seem, are the old days when flamenco ‘purists,’ almost always men, gathered in smoke-filled bars, peñas and other venues, to decide the fate of the art — or, as was more often the case, to preserve tradition. These women who feature in this year’s festival are bold and innovative, stylish in the extreme, daring in their overtures to other non-Spanish dance forms, but always mindful of the basic parameters of flamenco. They are also clued when it comes to the concerns of women around the world: questions of gender roles, female psychology, creativity, engendering, love, passion and life loom large in their dynamic choreographies. The men who accompany them do not lack force; yet, they play, in a sense, second fiddle to the feminine score. It seems only fair. For too long, women as dancers were objects of the gaze, subject to the whims of male choreographers who worked from the heterosexual and patriarchal moulds of Francoist Spain. Now things are different. Flamenco is finally creating a space for women to explore their identities in and to come into being through music and dance.

February 21, 2010 Post Under General - Read More

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