What Should You Understand Before Beginning to Study Flamenco?
A new flamenco documentary, 'Hola Flamenco' poses some interesting and essential questions, continuing some ancient debates about flamenco.What is pure?What is historical?What is correct?Ask any flamenco professional about its origins and you are likely to receive more and more contrasting answers, the deeper you dig.These debates reach their pinnacle when you pit 'purist' against 'fusionista,' but perhaps the most interesting of these questions is the one we are repeating here and asking our more seasoned flamenco readers to respond to...What should you understand before beginning to study flamenco? Comments are open below and ready for your input.
Hola Flamenco (2012)
This new flamenco documentary is a musical and visual journey through the cities and towns of Andalusia, extracting knowledge and character from its interaction with talented flamenco dancers, singers and musicians.In the broader Australian culture, flamenco is vastly misunderstood. Many non-aficionados see flamenco either as a style of guitar playing or as a specific dance, like Tango. Many of our Australian flamenco initiates come to the art form via the academic world of dance classes, often with the motivation, "I want to learn the flamenco." What follows is often a steeper than expected learning curve into the deep-seated world of flamenco culture.One of the interviewees of 'Hola Flamenco' - Adi Akiva from Israel , now living in Seville - states, "I'm a dancer, but before everything else, you have to be an 'aficionado' of flamenco. So... If someone dances, plays palmas, sings, but doesn't understand the other parts, they miss out on much of what Flamenco really is. Because in the end, Flamenco is how you live. It's expression; it's a way speaking, of walking down the street, more than just the dancing and singing."This forthcoming documentary is full of these personal and candid insights, interlaced with video footage from classrooms, performances, festivals and casual flamenco gatherings.Hola Flamenco is the latest project from, producer, director, videographer, travel writer and lover of flamenco, Avatar St. Louis of New York City.Knowing personally how hard it is to get Australian film festivals to screen flamenco films and documentaries, I asked Avatar St. Louis about a possible release date for a DVD version of his film."The festival application season is approaching, and I don't want to limit any options by releasing the entire film too early. However, we have enough material to release more free content in episode-like installments, similar in length to the trailer. Those should start coming by May; after festivals, the plan is to seek options for distribution, including DVDs. There's a short (25-30min) version of the film and a longer feature-length version that is around 50-55 minutes. Things are about 90% complete (the video editing alone was 3 months of almost nonstop work), with a few rough edges to be smoothed out in both. But, we've begun initial screenings with Spanish-speaking friends and Flamenco performers in NYC, and things are looking great. A lot needs to be decided in the weeks ahead, but for now, almost all options are on the table. We plan to release a version will be released for free online sometime in 2012. At this point, I just hope everyone enjoys the previews!"With an independent venture like this, Avatar is grateful for all the support he can muster. A simple way to support his flamenco film would be to subscribe to the film's official Youtube channel and get those view counts up. Additionally you could share this post around on your Facebook and Twitter accounts using the buttons below.If you would like more information or contact details for Avatar St. Louis you can contact me via email: editor [at] flamencoaustralia.orgDon't forget to weigh in and answer the following Question in your words.T HE QUESTION: What should you understand before beginning to study flamenco?