Noche Flamenca Brings Passion to Weis Center

Laura Crowley

Arts & Life Editor

The Weis Center for the Performing Arts hosted Noche Flamenca on Feb. 1, which featured an hour and a half of traditional Spanish dance. Although flamenco has been popular since the 15th century, its authenticity is often compromised. This performance was a refreshing display of emotion and passion and was well received by a full audience.

For those unfamiliar with flamenco, the dance is a mixture of irregular beat and stepping patterns interjected by sporadic bursts of song. The unpredictability of the dance has its limits as hand contortion, posture and stepping methods are strictly controlled and require years of practice. When consumed with emotion, dancers will slap their knees, let out a “dale” and whip their heads until their hair becomes loose. In contrast with other forms of dance, flamenco was never intended to please or impress, yet it does just that through its rawness.

Flamenco’s intense emotionality is best understood given its historical context. The dance originated in Andalucia, the southern-most region of Spain, at a time when “the Jews were massacred, the Gypsies humiliated and persecuted, and the Arabs exterminated, the Moriscos expelled and the Andalucians generally exploited,” according to historian Feliz Grande. The intensity of the dance is clearly related to the pain experienced during this time.

“The singers and dancers showed us good things about love, sadness and great human feelings,” Hadivys Salcedo, a Columbian native, said.

Noche Flamenca is led by Soledad Barrio and consists of nine members who do justice to the authenticity of the dance in contrast to the many groups that perform today in an effort to please tourists by means of a more predictable performance. 

“It was a powerful performance. I really felt like I was back in Spain for a while,” David Chaves Rodriguez, a native of Andalucia, said.

Noche Flamenca also brings in a modern component as its members are not exclusively from Andalucia, as was the case with the majority of flamenco’s history. 

“The performers were talented and brought a lot of energy to their acts,” Malyse Uwase ’13 said.

Noche Flamenca’s popularity is largely due to the fact that they are one of a kind. Most flamenco groups stay within Spain and expect enthusiasts to come to them. Noche Flamenca makes the effort to travel around the world so that people can get a taste of Spain without having to buy a plane ticket. The group is Spain’s most popular touring group and has traveled around the world.

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