Flamenco - how the Spanish express their passion through a gipsy dance
A passion for life
What is it about Spain? Just the very mention of the word makes people think about the passion of the Spanish. The Spanish have a love for life which is unequalled in the world. Spain leads with its heart and its emotions and over the years, the resulting cultural mix has become extraordinary. It is why millions of people flock to Spain every year to connect with its extraordinary history and ancient (and modern) traditions. Normal rules don’t apply here.
Relaxed rules, easy living
Health and Safety? Not really a big thing in Spain. Fancy setting a bunch of bulls free in the narrow streets of Pamplona and running with them? No problem.
Here’s an idea? Let’s build a tower of humans 20m into the air and send a young child scampering to the top while dozens of men and women push and shove against the base? That’s okay. We’ll put a bicycle helmet on her (just in case). It will be fine.
It’s this passion that makes Spain (and her timeless history) so unique. But it’s not just these crazy, dangerous traditions that make the pulse race and the heart soar in Spain. Add to that the gorgeous weather, beautiful clear waters, stunning beaches and gorgeous sun-kissed islands. Throw in some majestic mountains, volcanoes and even a desert or two and you’re starting to get the picture.
Food is the stuff of life
And we haven’t even mentioned the food. Food is a way of life in this beautiful part of the world. Everything revolves around it. Eating on the go is frowned upon. Meals are for enjoying slowly, preferably with family, good friends and good food. Oh, and wine. Plenty of wine and laughter. This is the Spanish recipe for happiness and good health.
The Spanish know what is important in life. And nowhere more so than in Catalunya, the relaxed home of Viscata and the spiritual home of the espadrille. And all this passion, love and laughter has a big pay off. Despite all the tricky scenarios we’ve just highlighted, the Spanish have one of the highest life expectancies in the world.
Why can’t we live forever?
Spanish life expectancy ranks 7th highest in the world, while the U.S. with all its advantages, only manages to come in at 46th. In fact, the average Spaniard lives 5 years longer than the average American. Spanish women are expected to reach the grand old age of 84, but the average American woman will only have 79 years of life. Just imagine what you could do with all that extra time.
So what is it that makes Spaniards live longer? It’s not just the food and the amazing Mediterranean way of life. It’s also the passion with which they live and the priorities they assign to their society.
Music and dancing also play a vital part in keeping this culture alive. So, on International Dance day, we thought we’d celebrate one of Spain’s most famous dances and let you into a few of the secrets along the way.
Everything in Spain is a dance
From the coordinated, deadly flair of the matador to the 20-something clubbers spilling out onto the summer streets of Barcelona, dancing is everywhere. But perhaps the most famous of all Spanish dances is the Flamenco. But why is this dance so special and where does it come from. Let’s take a look!
Say the word Flamenco and what comes to mind. The classic image is of a beautiful Spanish woman. She has intense dark eyes, olive skin and she's dressed in a red and black dress, replete with frills and swirls. She moves to the rhythm with a natural speed and subtlety of movement that is hard to fathom. She clicks her fingers, swirls her skirt and stamps her feet while maintaining a scornful, almost arrogant look on her face that says “this dance is mine. Nobody can do it better.”
But what’s the story behind Flamenco and how did it all begin?
History tells us that the first recorded reference to Flamenco dancing appeared way back in 1774. It’s often associated with gipsy culture, but in reality, while it’s roots are in the ”Gitano” (or gypsy) tradition, its style is now more generally recognizable as Spanish. While it was born in the heat of Andalusia, it has now become a part of life all across the country from Barcelona to the Balearics and from Toledo to Tenerife. Its original Andalusian roots come from a tradition of one act plays and songbooks that often told a story.
Music meets poetry - let’s dance!
Over a few hundred years, these evolved and merged with poetry, rhythm and music to become the extraordinary, passionate, beautiful dance that we all know.
But while the dance has Andalusian roots, it is also thought be the result of cultural exchanges between Andalusia’s Muslim population (Spain was under Muslim rule for centuries) and the local gipsy population. In fact, the name Flamenco itself is the same as the word for Flamingoes, which was a commonly used term for the gipsy community.
Flamenco really started to make a name for itself at the end of the 18th century and also demonstrates similar features and moves as many other dance forms emanating from places as far afield as India and Africa.
In 1881, a man called Silvero Franconetti opened the first Flamenco singer cafe in Seville. This cafe was a competitive place with the singers constantly reinterpreting and revising their songs to please their audiences and the resulting mix contains elements and traces from cultures all over the world.
Flamenco goes mainstream
By the 1920s, Flamenco began to appear in mainstream culture in Spain often promoted under the name “Flamenco opera” and shows were held in bullrings and theatres. This cultural elevation also resulted in a more entertaining, lighter style of Flamenco which soon became more popular than the original, more sober tunes from its early days.
During the Spanish civil war in the 1930s, many Flamenco singers were either exiled or died defending the Republic. Many others were persecuted or humiliated for their art. But at the end of the civil war, the Franco government recognised its cultural importance to the nation and gave it its full support.
Flamenco’s Golden Age
Flamenco was back and it was more popular than ever. It was about to enter its golden age. Dancers became superstars and many shot to fame including some of the greatest dancers of their time such as Antonio Chacon, Pepe Marchena, Manolo Caracol and La Niña de los Peines.
In the 1950s, Flamenco became widely accepted as a Spanish art form and it began to be seriously studied by experts who were looking to unite the two traditions of Gitanos and Andalucians.
By the 1970s, Flamenco Fusion became a thing. By then, the traditional outfits had been changed for evening dresses and other blends started to appear incorporating traditions such as tango, jazz and Brazilian slave music into the mix.
By the 1980s, New Flamenco began to appear and Flamenco strains began to appear in other musical forms such as blues, rock and Cuban music.
Slip on your dancing shoes and feel the passion
These days, Flamenco is recognised all over the world and is more popular than ever. If ever there was a dance that captured the spirit, passion and tradition of this amazing Spanish culture, it is Flamenco. And if ever there was a pair of shoes that did the same, it would be the Spanish espadrille.
Viscata’s handmade espadrilles are made in Catalunya with the same love, passion and care as the Flamenco dance. They are authentic, handmade in Spain with love by artisans that we all know by name.
Flamenco and espadrilles - a shared culture, a shared passion
And, just like the Flamenco traditions, our shoemaking tradition has been passed down from generation to generation with pride and respect for the culture that makes it all possible.
We have the widest online range of espadrilles available on the planet, so you’ll have the widest range of shoes, colors, style and sizes available at the tip of your fingertips, wherever you are. These shoes are oozing Spanish style. They’re full of passion and character and they’re made with love and pride.
So, if you want to get heads spinning and eyes turning, slip on a pair of our passionate beauties - and step out onto the dancefloor in gypsy style.
Your perfect dance partner
Slip on a pair of Viscata espadrilles and dance the night away in comfort and style. We have the largest selection of Spanish espadrilles available anywhere online, so we have a pair of espadrilles for everyone. Espadrilles are now fashionable all over the world.
We have beautiful open toe espadrilles, stunning espadrille wedges, sophisticated lace up espadrille sandals and even platform espadrilles sandals that will make a vivid statement about your own personal style. We even have men’s espadrilles that are a perfect alternative to traditional sneakers.
Our espadrilles are full of Spanish style and passion and are great to complement casual attire or dress up your outfits for more sophisticated nights on the town. Whichever pair you decide to wear, you can be sure that you will be the star of the show - and the centre of attention on the dancefloor when you’re stepping out in style.
Here are five beautiful shoes that encapsulate the passion of this most traditional Spanish dance. Slip on a pair and dance the night way in comfort and style all night long.
Dance your troubles away in the Formiga wedge
When you dance, you need freedom to move with flexibility. Our Formiga low wedges are just the right height to elongate your legs while being comfortable enough to stay standing for hours on end.
Easy to adjust to your feet thanks to their sleek ankle straps, these shoes will feel perfect for you just outside the box. This classic wedge is bound to become your “go-to-shoe” for casual comfort. Plus our Formigas are handmade with extra-breathable materials so you’ll feel cool and fresh even after a long night dancing.
So classy and versatile, these shoes will live in your wardrobe forever!
When in doubt, buckle up the Estartit wedge - and dance it out
Do you want to upgrade your style without putting in lots of extra effort? The Estartit wedge is the answer to your prayers.
These wedges are the real thing. With an elegant silhouette and a comfortable fit, the Estartit will be the perfect additions to your summer shoe collection.
Pair them with a feminine summer dress or match them with a flowy skirt for a super boho chic look. The Estartit will instantly make any outfit look ultra-sophisticated. Don’t miss out on all the eye-catching variations, including the attractive bicolor jute version. Compliments guaranteed!
Take a shortcut to happiness by dancing in the Reus wedge
Sometimes the best style is simply to stick to what you know best - old school cool. Our Reus wedge is a perfect example of a traditional Mediterranean espadrille.
With its clean and simple shape, you’ll never go wrong with this extra comfy espadrille. We think you’ll fall in love with its super stylish and contemporary design.
Pair them up with casual, party or more dressy wear. Whatever the occasion, these head turners will help you turn heads and steal the show - every time.
Dance to express yourself in the Caseta wedge
It’s time to nail that look… actually, every look! The Caseta wedge is a real style saviour - it goes with everything. These classic wedges are really easy to dress up or down depending on the occasion.
With a modern pointed toe box and a contemporary v-vamp, we’ve transformed a classic espadrille wedge into an on-trend piece. This is a must have for any seasonal wardrobe.
Plus, you can wear them proudly, confident in the knowledge they are partially made from recycled plastic ocean waste. These shoes look good, do good and make you feel good. An easy way for you to protect the ocean’s from the scourge of plastic.
Dance with your feet and dream with your heart with the Cavall wedge
The Cavall low wedge is the perfect option to show off your wonderful summer pedicure.
If you’re always on the go, embrace the feeling that you’re unstoppable with these extra comfy and stylish open-toe wedges.
Our Cavalls will add an extra feminine touch to your spring and summer looks with its flirty open-toed silhouette. We love them with palazzo trousers (but they’re also a perfect match for your mini- skirts or distressed jeans.
So, what are you waiting for? Pick the Cavall low wedge. Who says your working shoes can’t be super cute and flattering as well.
Life is too short. Remember that we can't always choose the music life plays for us but we can choose how to dance it.
Why not do it the Viscata way?