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Overall Rating: (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)
This documentary by Amaya about flamenco discusses its history, shows footage of famous performers, and includes an instructional section. In the historical section, Amaya demonstrates the relationship between Arabic dance (brought to Spain by the Moors and the Moroccan Gypsies) and flamenco.
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|Formats Available||NTSC, PAL|
|Total Video Length||59:46 minutes|
|Performance & Documentary Time||48:39 minutes (81%)|
|Teaching Time||8:41 minutes (15%)|
|Amount Of "Other"||2:26 minutes (4%)|
$35.00 for NTSC
$42.00 for PAL
|Cost Per Minute Of Teaching & Performing Time||
61 cents for NTSC
73 cents for PAL
|Cost For "Other"||
$1.40 for NTSC
$1.68 for PAL
This documentary offers a glimpse into the origins of flamenco, which arose from the dances brought to Spain with the Moorish conquest. It opens an elderly Rom (Gypsy) woman speaking of her life growing up and her love of the dance. She punctuates her comments with some dance moves that show the connection she still feels with dancing. It then moves on to views of Granada and shows scenes of the Moorish fortress of Alhambra with Amaya narrating a historical overview of the Moorish presence in Spain.
The next section provides a brief look at the history of the Roma. It discusses how their migration led them from their original home in India, through Afghanistan, Iran, and Northern Africa, crossing from there into Spain, bringing with them the influence of the many cultures they encountered along the way.
The next section, Gypsy Dance, is probably my favorite part of the video. Set in the caves of Sacramonte, it shows performances by assorted members of Roma families. A boy around 10 years old performs with a cane, showing the passion of flamenco already even at his young age. Several additional performers demonstrate their own interpretations of the zambra mora, a dance in the flamenco family closely related to Arabic dance.
The next two sections feature legendary flamenco dance artists, Cruz Luna and Carmen Amaya. Clad in a costume that evokes horseback riding and carrying a riding crop, he performs a 4-minute dance whose footwork captures the rhythmic gait of a galloping horse. In 17 minutes of vintage black and white film from the 1930's and 1940's, Carmen Amaya demonstrates the stunning technique and compelling stage presence that led to her fame.
Next is a 9-minute instructional section in which Amaya teaches five dance moves that can be used to bring a taste of the Gypsy zambra mora into a belly dance performance. This instruction is conducted at an intermediate level.
The video closes with a performance by Amaya in Texas, accompanied by a band called The Gypsies. Her performance is primarily shimmy-oriented, incorporating the flamenco shimmy taught earlier. The energy level starts out low-key, and gradually builds. When one of the band members stands up and begins to dance himself, Amaya takes his seat, picks up his drum, and helps the rest of the band play for him. After a bit of this, she returns to the stage and builds the performance to a climax.
|Zambra step, marking step, skirt technique, picking roses, and flamenco shimmy.|
If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos by Amaya, choose from the list below:
|Amaya's research into the history of flamenco and its relationship to the Moorish cultural influence in Spain offers an interesting look into how belly dancing, the Roma, and flamenco are all historically related. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in flamenco and zambra mora, fusion of Gypsy dance with belly dance, or a glimpse into the history of the Roma who migrated across North Africa.|
|My first exposure to Amaya came in the 1980's when I attended a workshop in San Jose, California that she taught. I very much enjoyed the class, but there was no opportunity to have a conversation with her at the time. More recently, I met her in person once as I was dealing with a flat tire on my car outside a belly dance festival. We exchanged introductions, but it wasn't exactly an ideal time to chat! We have also had some e-mail contact, but not extensive. So, I would describe our relationship as pleasant acquaintances, but not more than that. I purchased my copy of this video from a vendor.|
Contact Amaya as follows:
Phone & Fax: (+1) (505) 281-4492
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