Flamenco Fires It Up

January 17, 2011, 11:36 PM HST · Updated January 18, 7:21 AM
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by Maesyn

There is nothing so wild and fiery as the gypsy spirit.

Images come to mind of bonfires and twirling skirts, clapping, bawdy laughter and most of all – flamenco guitar.

On Sunday, January 23rd, Spain’s most renowned touring company, Noche Flamenco, comes to the MACC’s Castle Theatre at 7:30 pm.

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THE TROUPE
The troupe was founded in 1993 by artistic director and choreographer, Martín Santangelo, and highlights the dancing of his wife, Soledad Barrio.

They perform in traditional communal gypsy jam format, featuring dueling flamenco guitars, handclaps, and wild passionate singing. The female is usually in the dominant central role, supported by a cast of males who stomp and clap and dance in choreographed displays of fierceness and rhythm.

THE HISTORY
Flamenco is known for its wild passionate expressions of dramatic emotion, reflecting the hardships of gypsy culture. It is a style of music and dance which is native to several regions of southern Spain. The music, however, blends Spanish and Arabic.

The melding of musical influences if always one of cultural influx and influence. During the time of the Roman Empire, there were many trade lines open between southern Spain and the Middle East. The cross-pollenation of cultures is documented in the music.

Because of the intertwining bloodlines of the wandering gypsies, Flamenco music is laced with undertones of Middle Eastern and Romanian scales.

Due to the several century long Moorish occupation of southern Spain, there are also hints of Jewish, Moorish and Gitano tradition evident in the style.

Folklore will tell you that the term Flamenco is derived from “flamingo,” and references the colorful costuming of female gypsies in relation to the brightly feathered bird.

As with many folk dances, the roots of flamenco are hazy. It is fabled to have emerged in campfire jams in the 1500’s, but did not gain mass popularity until the 1800’s, when it began appearing in many works of literature. By then salons and theaters began to open featuring flamenco as entertainment for the public.

While original flamenco was simply a dance set to vocalized song (without instruments), as years passed the art form began to evolve. Soon they were accompanied by flamenco guitar (toque) and rhythmic hand clapping (palmas), rhythmic feet stomping (zapateado) and dance (baile).

THE EXPERIENCE
The performers of Noche Flamenco present the art form in the tradition of its roots. With emphasis placed on song as well as dance and storytelling, they will weave a spell that is sure to educate and entrance you.

Tickets are $12, $28, and $35. They are available at the box office or at the MACC’s website.

* If you’d like to suggest an event or artist for Maui Now to profile in the Arts & Entertainment section, please email [email protected]

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