Flamenco En Beirut
Trilogy of the flamenco : el BAILE  

EL BAILE FLAMENCO or Flamenco dancing:


“Baile” is flamenco dancing and the bailaor/bailaora is the male/female dancer. Flamenco dance is a very rich art. It makes it possible to express without words, and translate into motions a wide range of emotions, from the most superficial to the deepest. It allows the performer to externalize passions, and convey strong and intense feelings. Expressive and highly seductive, flamenco dance opens up a universe of imagination, dreams, dramas, and passions that is the world of flamenco itself.


A baile is intimately connected to the song and the guitar music that accompany it. The dance gives the body a specific role in acting out the human condition and its endless emotional dimensions. Baile translates into bodily motions the ambiguous relationship that exists between gentleness and violence, gracefulness and strength.


In the history of flamenco, baile came chronologically later than “cante” and guitar accompaniment. Many specific bailes are more recent than their cantes. The baile of Taranto, for example, was created for public performances in the 1950s, while the Taranto cante had existed for nearly a century. Similarly the Siguirya cante has long been around, while the Siguirya baile has only recently appeared.


Baile is an “individual” art, very introverted. It requires great concentration. The space where it is performed is very narrow. It is a difficult art, and relies heavily on improvisation. In private performances and intimate settings, flamenco dancing is sometimes innately spontaneous and natural. However, flamenco for public performance is an art that requires enormous artistic and technical abilities, as well as hard work and discipline.


Baile is intimately linked to the “toque” on which it depends completely. The toque gives it the measure, the rate and rhythm that are its essential framework. A tocaor (flamenco guitarist) usually spends long years accompanying dancers before he can be considered an experienced soloist. Accompanying dances is the best, if not the only way for a guitarist to completely master flamenco measure and rhythm.


Here a short outline of the baile techniques that a dancer must master:


The “zapateado”:

It is the main way to mark the rhythm, with the heel then the tips of the toes alternatively hitting the floor. The dancer wears shoes with metallic inserts specifically designed for flamenco dancing. The zapateado is characteristic of flamenco dancing, and contributes to its richness. It can be slow or fast, brisk or gentle, noisy or soft, according to the palo. It can mark the tempo more or less noisily, according to the intensity that the bailaora wishes to give it.

The “Desplante”:

Is a very brisk and strong strike.


The “Punteado”:

Is a series of gentle and noiseless foot motions, executed with great precision, usually during a falseta with the guitar. It is less brisk than the desplante.

The “Redoble”:

Is a short series of heel-point strikes.


The “Escobilla”:

Is a long series of heel-point strikes.


The “Remate”:

Is a series of motions that bring to a close a unit of steps within a dance, or at the end of a dance.


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