Friday, October 8, 2010


Posted by Maggie

Each year so far in our Spain workshop we've scheduled a night to go to Ronda for a flamenco performance. Some people don't like the late night and don't go, but most are excited about the chance to see a traditional performance. The group who've performed for the last few years that we've been here are no longer performing, so this year we went to see a different group. Like the other one, there were three "band" members, a drummer, guitarist and vocalist, but this one only had two female dancers and no male dancer.

Flamenco music is not what I had thought it would be, before I ever attended a performance. Our hotel host David describes it as the Spanish version of American country & western. The songs sound quite sad, but the beat is insistent and energizing. The energy level was important since the performance did not star until ten p.m., quite late for Americans and particularly those of us who had been up early to paint. 

Generally, the dancers change costumes for each dance. The whole performance lasts about an hour and a half, with a short break in the middle. I like the costumes—the group we used to see had traditional costumes for each dance, but this one had a more modern approach. Nevertheless, the dancers were very good.

Our chef at the Hotel, Ivan, is multi-talented. In addition to having trained at Cordon Bleu in London and being creative in the kitchen, he is a painter, working in a number of mediums. On the bus ride into Ronda, he mentioned that he had been taking flamenco lessons at the school run by one of the dancers. He's studied flamenco previously but the recent lessons have challenged him to do more. To his, and our, surprise, near the end of the performance, one of the dancers went off the stage, into the audience, and grabbed him by the hand and took him up onto the stage to dance with her. It was great fun to see "our" Ivan dance, and he's quite good. He danced with each of the women, but unfortunately my camera disk filled just after he began. I'm going to have to beg for photos from some of the other people there.

All in all it was an exciting evening and made it hard to go to sleep, what with the music and the sound of flamenco feet racing through my head. I am looking forward to a chance when I get home to paint them from memory and photos.

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