Dancing around the world
August 2006, Malaga
Image: Viva Flamenco
We have arrived in Malaga. Malaga is a coastal city in the Southern region of Spain called Andalucia. It is a lovely place full of picturesque views and historic buildings. Did you know that this is where the famous artist Pablo Picasso comes from? Jake has been inspired to practise his sketching but I think he is probably a better dancer than an artist!
We are here to visit the annual Malaga Summer Fair, or as the Spanish say Feria. It is a celebration of music, dance and food which takes place over ten days every August. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to practice our Flamenco dancing. Flamenco is originally from Andalucia and has been around for over two centuries. It developed here amongst the gypsy community but also has Moorish, Oriental and Indian influences. There are three parts to Flamenco, Cante - the song, Baile - the dance and Guitarra – the guitar. They all blend together and it is the dancer’s role to portray the emotion of the song and music. Flamenco dance involves lots of fast intricate footwork with heel and toe stamps and clicks. The upper body must remain posed and elegant throughout with the hands and arms performing graceful, expressive circling gestures.
We’ve been spending the daytime joining in the festivities of the town. The streets are decorated with flags and paper lanterns and there is a really special party atmosphere. Some of the dancers’ costumes are amazing. The women wear beautiful long dresses covered with elaborate frills and decorative lace. I think the men all look very distinguished in their fitted trousers and smart jackets. We were also lucky enough to sample some of the local food which is called tapas at lunch time - delicious!
In the evening the celebrations move to the fairground on the outskirts of the town. Everyone gathers round the different stalls called Casetas. It is such an exciting mix of dazzling lights, swirling dancers, music, fairground rides and mouth-watering food. By far the best fair I’ve ever been to. Hope you are well,
December 2005, Madrid
Image: Plaze De Cibeles
Dulcinea del Toboso
Hola! We are currently performing in Don Quixote with the Compania Nacional de Danza in Madrid. Don Quixote is an adventure story about an impoverished gentleman, Alonso Quijano who goes insane from reading too many romances. He decides to become a Knight, arms himself with rusty old weapons and renames himself Don Quixote. He sets out in search of adventure and dedicates his life to defending virtue and punishing those who break the rules of chivalry. Madrid is the perfect place to perform this ballet as the author, Miguel de Cervantes, was Spanish and the ballet is set in Spain!
Did you know that Madrid is the capital of Spain? It lies right in the middle of the Spanish mainland and is a very mountainous region. We are rehearsing for most of the day and performing in the evenings but we have tonight off so we are going to the Opera House. Did you know that The Opera House has one of the largest stages in the world? It seats up to 1630 people at the same time! We are also eating a lot of Tapas, which is delicious and keeping up our energy for the performances!