Thrilling flamenco performance enthralls students

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Thrilling flamenco performance enthralls students

Briseyda Zárate dances and claps her hands while Juanito Pascual plays guitar. The two performers arrived at Webb on the evening of January 30th and gave a lecture-demonstration to students about the art of flamenco dancing. Ryan Bridges (‘20) said, “It was a very interesting to learn about it and all the little details of flamenco, and I think the people they chose for this performance were very good.”

Briseyda Zárate dances and claps her hands while Juanito Pascual plays guitar. The two performers arrived at Webb on the evening of January 30th and gave a lecture-demonstration to students about the art of flamenco dancing. Ryan Bridges (‘20) said, “It was a very interesting to learn about it and all the little details of flamenco, and I think the people they chose for this performance were very good.”

Cayden Lazier

Briseyda Zárate dances and claps her hands while Juanito Pascual plays guitar. The two performers arrived at Webb on the evening of January 30th and gave a lecture-demonstration to students about the art of flamenco dancing. Ryan Bridges (‘20) said, “It was a very interesting to learn about it and all the little details of flamenco, and I think the people they chose for this performance were very good.”

Cayden Lazier

Cayden Lazier

Briseyda Zárate dances and claps her hands while Juanito Pascual plays guitar. The two performers arrived at Webb on the evening of January 30th and gave a lecture-demonstration to students about the art of flamenco dancing. Ryan Bridges (‘20) said, “It was a very interesting to learn about it and all the little details of flamenco, and I think the people they chose for this performance were very good.”

On January 30th, at 7 p.m., Webbies gathered to watch a rhythmic flamenco dance performance. Briseyda Zárate, a singer and flamenco dancer, and Juanito Pascual, a guitarist, sat on the stage of the Liu Cheung Theater, awaiting their upcoming performance. For one hour, they entertained Webb students with the breath-taking art of flamenco, teaching them about the technique and history of the traditional dance.  

Although the original form of flamenco dancing was performed to only singing and hand clapping (“toque de palmas”), most modern flamenco dancing is a combination of three components: song (“cante”), dance (“baile”), and guitar playing (“guitarra”). The tradition originated in Andalucia, a southern region of Spain, and maintained its popularity by passing it down through several generations.

Rebeca Castro (‘20), who helped advertise the event, said, “I’ve been [flamenco] dancing for over eleven years. I hope a lot of people were able to take something away from this event, or at least enjoy the music and get a taste for it, because I know it’s not something that’s very mainstream.”

Johnathon Maschler (‘21) said, “It was really cool to learn about the origins of the dance and to see authentic flamenco dancing and singing.”

Although the event included multiple performances of different styles of flamenco dancing, there were also several moments in which Ms. Zárate and Mr. Pascual would stop the performance and explain the history behind the music and dance.

Another large component of flamenco dancing is improvisation. In fact, this performance was the first time that Ms. Zaráte and Mr. Pascual have ever worked together.

“…there is a language in flamenco. When Briseyda did a step, I responded [with guitar] in the way that I felt.””

— Juanito Pascual

Juanito said, “A lot of the improvisation is simultaneous, like an improvised interaction. The thing that makes that work is that there is a language in flamenco. When Briseyda did a step, I responded [with guitar] in the way that I felt.”

The students who attended the event received a culture point, since flamenco is an integral part of Spanish culture. Olivia Vasquez (‘19), who has seen flamenco dancing in Spain, said “I thought the event was very captivating. It kept my attention the entire time and it was very interesting. It was very nice to just be immersed in a culture that I’m not extremely familiar with…  and I’m glad that Webb was able to bring this sort of cultural event to the students.”

Although flamenco dancing is not a prevalent part of pop culture, Webb students still assembled for an hour to learn more about the tradition and its history. The performers and members of the Spanish club all worked very hard to put together an exciting event which everyone could enjoy.