June 2, 2011
On my Thursday night in Madrid, we went to see the flamenco. There, we met some expatriate alums, including a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship recipient, Charleen, who offered some very useful information about her experiences with the educational system in Spain (apparently, compared to other European countries, not as many people learn English, hence the institutional push for ESL instruction). I want to go teach in Southeast Asia after college but keep my options open, right?
I can scarcely do the evening justice. The venue was intimate and contemporary. It helped that I was so close to the stage that I could feel the floor of the stage shake with the stamping of the two dancers, una mujer y un hombre, whose sweat I could see pouring off their skin.
Could I ever do justice to the música, the baile, de flamenco? No way. I just remember watching and shivering at the rawness, the passion, the precision with which these emotions were conveyed through bailando, through clapping, through stamping, through cantando, through the strumming of a guitarra.
You could see the roots of the flamenco, then, their roots in the outcast Romany (otherwise known as gypsies), who used the flamenco to give expression and beauty to lives lived on the outskirts.
The wonderful Melissa Garwick managed to get a quick clip of the performance.