Flamenco is a Spanish art form made up of three parts: guitar playing (“guitarra”), song (“cante”) and dance (“baile”). Flamenco originated in the southern regions of Spain, but it’s thought to be influenced by many world cultures, including Latin American, Cuban and Jewish traditions.
Originally flamenco dancing was not set to music; it was only singing and clapping of hands called “toque de palmas.” Some flamenco dancing still follows ancient tradition, but the use of guitars and other musical instruments has become more popular in modern flamenco.
Traditional flamenco dancers rarely received any formal training. Instead, flamenco was passed down from friends, relatives and neighbors.
While some flamenco musicians and dancers still learn the flamenco on their own, most modern flamenco artists are professionally trained.
Flamenco dancing can have many different purposes. Whether the dance is intended to be entertaining, romantic or comforting, flamenco is a very emotional style of dance.
Flamenco dancers try to express their deepest emotions by using body movements and facial expressions. As the dancers perform, they may also clap their hands or kick their feet. Many dancers also snap small percussion handheld instruments called “castanets.”