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Flamenco is a nonacademic traditional artistic genre originated from Spain, which is a symbiosis of toque (music, usually the flamenco guitar), cante (singing) and balle (dancing). Flamenco arose in Andalusia region of Spain and during its historical development it was influenced by Gypsy, Islamic, Indian, Cuban and other cultures. The development of flamenco dancing peaked in the second half of the nineteenth century, when it became the most popular entertainment in cafes, restaurants, at festivals and public celebrations. Flamenco dancers are called bailaoras or bailaores.

Usually, in the beginning of the performance flamenco dancer remains motionless. Then he/she starts repeating the beat using fingers, hands, feet or castanets, and then the dancer begins moving. Sweeping movements of the arms, characteristic stomping of feet, rhythmical movement cycles and passionate emotional expressions are the main elements of flamenco dance. There are more than 50 styles (palo) of flamenco, which can be classified according to several non-musical or musical factors, including rhythmic, expressive, musical specifics, or geographic origin.

Cante Jondo is the oldest known group of flamenco styles, which is originated from musical traditions of ancient India and Arabia. Cante Jondo includes such popular flamenco forms as Fandango, Seguiriya, Solea and Tona. Cante Chico is another category, which includes Alegrias or Tangos, with lighter and more improvisational dancing techniques. The third group of flamenco styles is called Cante Intermedio. Flamenco influenced many other dancing and musical styles to a great extent. Within the last decades a variety of mixed styles, such as flamenco-pop, flamenco-jazz, zambra and gypsy rumba, emerged.

Flamenco is quite hard to master because, in addition to rather difficult choreographic techniques, it also includes emotional communication with the audience. Nevertheless, many modern choreographers are interested in flamenco because this genre opens great opportunities for creativity, as well as for choreographic innovations.

References Jost, Marie. (2004, April 23). What Is Flamenco? World Music Central. World Music Portal. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from: <http://worldmusiccentral. org/article. php? story=20030424101013348>.

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