Is This the Time for Flamenco to Dominate the World?
The art of flamenco has existed for over 500 years. Yet it has only recently been recognised as a World Cultural Heritage treasure. This news has taken the dance world by storm and has been welcomed by millions of flamenco fans around the world. But what does this really mean for Flamenco?
Spain and Andalusia have recently experienced one of the most important cultural milestones in modern day history. The art of Flamenco, has been recognised as a world cultural heritage treasure by UNESCO. In Kenya, November 2010, UNESCO unanimously decided to recognise Flamenco as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The news has resulted in a huge wave of excitement for flamenco fans across the globe as the original request was rejected five years ago.
A flamenco spokesman who was present in Kenya commented, “It took five hundred years but finally flamenco has received the recognition it deserves”.
But what does this recognition mean for flamenco music and flamenco dance?
To answer this question it is important to consider the history of the dance and how it has evolved. Flamenco started as the dance of certain minorities in the 1500s in Andalusia, the original flamenco dancers. Living in the shadows, flamenco was the only way for these people to express their feelings of pain, sadness, anger and passion. Flamenco was their lifeblood and was a way of channelling their creativity. Flamenco was not made public until 350 years later and did not gain popularity until recent years.
However, although flamenco today is more popular than ever it still does not receive the attention it really deserves.
Larger festivals attract limited media coverage and there are very few major sponsors because the art is still not considered as “mainstream” as other more popular dances. Apart from in Spain, Japan and very few other countries, there is a small number of schools that exclusively teach flamenco. In most countries the Flamenco is taught alongside mainly ballet or Latin dances. Quality flamenco guitars and dancewear, such as flamenco shoes, flamenco dresses, flamenco skirts, castanets and all flamenco accessories are globally available through the few specialised on-line stores. Physical shops in most countries outside Spain tend to offer overpriced products.
This is why this recognition has been so important!
Just over the past three months, the art has received more media attention than ever before. Countless numbers of articles have been published, more flamenco music has appeared on you tube, online flamenco shops have seen increased activity and flamenco schools all over the world have been signing up more students despite the global economic crisis.
Now it is finally the time for the Flamenco to move from the art of few to the art of the masses, from niche to mainstream. Just watch this space as this is just the beginning!