Flamenco Dancing: Background information when reading The Flamenco Academy

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Flamenco Academy

by Sarah Bird

The Flamenco Academy by Sarah Bird X
The Flamenco Academy by Sarah Bird
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2006, 400 pages
    Oct 2007, 400 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Flamenco Dancing

This article relates to The Flamenco Academy

Print Review

Flamenco, which can be divided into cante ('the song'), baile ('the dance') and guitarra ('guitar'), is the traditional song and dance of the Gypsies (flamencos) of Andalusia in southern Spain. It is believed to have developed over several centuries from Gypsy, Moorish, Andalusian, and other roots (probably including northern India, as the gypsies were nomads believed to have been from northern India).

The first documented arrival of the Roma people (often referred to as gypsies) in Spain was in 1447, at which time the Moors (a common Medieval term for Muslims living in Spain and North Africa) had been occupying Spain for 800 years. Shortly after, towards the end of the 15th century, the Moors were ousted by Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, sometimes known as the "Catholic Monarchs", whose reign ushered in a period of more than 200 years of persecution against non-Catholics.

In 1492, any remaining Jews in Spain were ordered to convert to Christianity or face expulsion; a similar law was passed against the Roma people. Apparently, persecution of the Roma included a law that forced all Roma men between the ages of 18 and 26 to serve in galleys (often equating to a death sentence), but many managed to hide and avoid arrest. Not long after, Muslims were ordered to convert or be expelled. Many Moors, who had had their land confiscated, took refuge among the Roma rather than leave the country altogether. For more than 300 years, gypsies were subject to a number of laws and policies designed to eliminate them from Spain. By the time the persecution officially ended, gypsies had been driven into a permanently submerged underclass, from which many would argue they have yet to escape.

The suffering and injustice of the time was expressed in song and dance. Cante jondo (meaning "profound" or "grand"), with its themes of death, anguish, despair and religion, dates from this period. Gradually flamenco developed into an easier kind of music (such as chico, "light", dealing with subjects such as love, the countryside and gaiety).

Possibly the greatest flamenco dancer of the 20th century was Carmen Amaya whose dancing is described in the excerpt from The Flamenco Academy that you can read at BookBrowse.

Filed under Cultural Curiosities

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Flamenco Academy. It originally ran in July 2006 and has been updated for the October 2007 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
    by Marie Benedict
    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict, notable author of previous historical fiction such ...
  • Book Jacket: To Be a Man
    To Be a Man
    by Nicole Krauss
    While, as its title hints, To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss is concerned with masculinity, it renders a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Office of Historical Corrections
    The Office of Historical Corrections
    by Danielle Evans
    In The Office of Historical Corrections, the second story collection from Danielle Evans, readers ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Dutch House
    by Ann Patchett

    The Dutch House is my introduction to Ann Patchett, which, after reading it, surprises me. I had ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Prophets
    by Robert Jones Jr.

    A stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Fortunate Ones
    by Ed Tarkington

    An engrossing story of class, love, and loyalty for fans of Kevin Wilson's Nothing to See Here.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Moment of Lift
by Melinda Gates
How can we summon a moment of lift for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.
Who Said...

There is no worse robber than a bad book.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

T M T C, T M T Stay T S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.