April 13, 2024

Try to remember the most violent tantrum by a two-year-old you have ever seen: brows furrowed in indignant concentration, hands thrusting through the air, feet stamping forcefully into the ground. Now multiply that by a hundred, and you might have a fraction of the energy exhibited by the flamenco dancers that perform in Granada, Spain.
Of course, the flamenco dancers aren’t two-year-olds throwing fits. They are artists.
Their feet move so fast that you can barely distinguish between taps; the crimson skirts, sporting layers upon layers of fabric, swish and whip every which way; their feet slam into the ground with such unbelievable force — I’ll tell you what: those are some high heels in which I would never want to be on the wrong end. My goodness.
Months after my experience of traveling to Granada and sitting with my classmates in the darkened flamenco “cave,” I’m still mesmerized by the seemingly contradictory movements of the dancers’ bodies.
While their lower halves were in a frenzy, feet and legs moving so rapidly that if you blink, you will miss a stomp, their upper halves took on smoother movements, hips swinging and swaying to the singers’ raspy chants, hands revolving in the most suave of moments – all interrupted by rapid finger snaps and quick clicks of the castanets.
The sound: I can still feel the rhythm reverberating throughout my body. Almost everything staccato. Clicks. Clacks. Rattles. Taps. Quick. Snaps. Short. Raps.
The drums: heavy thuds. The castanets: sharp clicks. The claps: quick raps. The snaps: rapid clacks. The cymbal: a coppery tin-tin. All staccato, except for the elongated chants, the singers oscillating up and down the musical scale with their throaty voices. Wrapping around every ear in the flamenco restaurant, the voices provided the ear a relief from the short raps, taps, rattles and clacks.
Needless to say, I was enthralled, even when one of the dancers took me by the hand and tried to get me to imitate her movements while the other students in my study abroad program sat looking on.
But above all, I still can’t forget the sound . . .
. . . Months later, I can still feel the rhythm reverberating throughout my body.

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