Flamenco

Conflicting Histories of the Dance

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About the Book

This analytical history traces representations of flamenco dance in Spain and abroad from the twentieth century to the present, using histories, film, accounts of live performances, and practitioner interviews. Beginning with an analysis of flamenco historiography, the text examines images of the female dancer in films by Luis Buñuel, Carlos Saura, and Antonio Gades; stereotypes of flamenco bodies and Andalusian culture in Prosper Mérimée’s Carmen; and the ways in which contemporary flamenco dancers like Belén Maya and Rocío Molina negotiate the stereotype of Carmen and an idealized Spanish feminine that pervades “traditional” flamenco. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Michelle Heffner Hayes, dancer, choreographer and dance scholar is currently a professor and chair of the Department of Dance at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Bibliographic Details

Michelle Heffner Hayes

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 212
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3923-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1312-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Introduction: Flamenco’s Exotic Currency      1

1. DESIRING NARRATIVES: FLAMENCO IN HISTORY AND FILM      29
Conflicting Histories      29
Origin Points      31
Romantic Excursions      38
La Edad de Oro/The Golden Age      39
Transformation Abroad and Tourism at Home 40
Purity and Preservation      41
The Ideology of Flamenco Histories      43
The Desiring Subject      45
A Choreographic In(ter)vention      48
Film Narrative as a Discourse of Desire      49

2. PURISM, TOURISM AND LOST INNOCENCE      53
Flamenco Bodies: Essence or Effect?      53
International Exposure      56
Model Exotics      57
Paradise Lost      64
The Taint of Tourism      68

3. IMAGINING ANDALUSIA      75
Divine Inspiration: Origins Reconsidered      75
Passionate Nature: The Academic Appeal of a Universal Humanity      80
Sober Clinicism: Demystifying the Other      84
(Re)discovering the Women in Cante      91

4. FATAL FILMIC FLAMENCAS      97
The Spectre of Carmen      97
That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)      98
Marked: The Character of La Novia in Blood Wedding (1981)      101
Carmen Revisited (1983)      109
Love, the Magician (1986)      119

5. REALISM REINVENTED      123
The Documentary and Nacionalflamenquismo 124
Sevillanas (1992) and Flamenco (1995)      128
Opening Credits (Sevillanas) 129
Opening Credits (Flamenco)      130
The Performances (Sevillanas)      132
The Performances (Flamenco)      134
Sevillanas Flamencas, Sevillanas Gitanas      137
Endings: Sevillanas      140
Endings: Flamenco      141
Flamenco Women (1997)      142

6. REINTERPRETING THE EXOTIC      145
Calculated Unruliness      146
Strategic Presence      157
Practiced Spontaneity      159
The Dancing Lesson (Anaheim, California, 1995) 160
The Problem of Improvisation/Giving Up the Ghost      162
Rising from the Ashes: Spain’s Position in the New World Order      165

7. “SOMOS ANTI-GUAPAS”—AGAINST BEAUTY IN CONTEMPORARY FLAMENCO 167
Belén Maya      169
Pastora Galván      173
Rocío Molina      178

Chapter Notes      187
Bibliography      193
Index 197

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “An informative contribution to the growing field of flamencology. The author offers a unique approach to the field of study”—Journal of Folklore Research
  • “Meticulous…a great book…the quality of the research and investigation of the subject is awesome”—Books4Spain