Macarina Dances Flamenco in Sana’a [Archives:1998/10/Last Page]

March 9 1998

Macarina danced to the tunes played by her guitarist for more than one hour in each performance. Generally, the flamenco dance reflects the woes of loves. However, Macarina did a more jovial and merry dancing routine usually performed by the gypsies of Spain.
Historically, flamenco is the self-expression of the gypsy people, some of whom were slaves in Spain. It reflects their culture, religion, and their daily life. As we know, gypsies originally came from India. One large group settled in Eastern Europe and the other main group went to Spain via Egypt.They actually moved all around the old world.

Thus, flamenco is influenced by four musical traditions: Indian, Arabic, Moorish and classical Spanish. Flamenco, however, is not really the most common dance in Spain. Other regions in Spain have their own popular dances.
Like the blues for American negro slaves in the old days, flamenco expressed the suffering and pain of the gypsy slaves. That is why it is considered a very profound way of self-expression. Flamenco consists of three elements: dancing, singing and guitar music.

This is Macarina’s first visit to an Arab country. She noticed that the Yemeni architecture has many features similar to the Arab architecture in Spain. Internal relief work on the wall showing flowers and other plants in Yemeni houses has its similar counterparts in old Spanish homes.
Macarina has been doing the flamenco dance for the last nine years. “There are different ways of learning flamenco,” said Macarina. “One of them is to dance with the gypsy people in the streets, or, alternatively, you can enroll in a special institute,” added Macarina. She learned to dance flamenco in an institute in Chile, her home country, at the hands of Spanish instructors. “I was part of a troupe of nine female flamenco dancers who performed in shows all over Chile.”

She later left Chile to France where she met the guitarist and singer, Cippo and Claudio, who accompany her now. “Flamenco needs at least three persons to perform: a guitarist, a singer and a dancer,” explained Macarina. “A flamenco dancer does not really need special physical characteristics like a ballet dancer. A strong personality and maturity of character are very important. There are some flamenco dancers who continued to dance well into their forties.” The dancer can be fat or thin, tall or short. “She must have a very sensitive sense of hearing because the flamenco rhythm is mathematical and has special sensual tunes that must be respected,” added Macarina.
In brief, you must really love flamenco to able to perform it,” announced Macarina.
It remains to say that the show at the Taj Sheba was highly popular with Yemeni and expatriate audiences alike. The spectators cheered wildly and tapped their feet to the Latin rhythms. “It was as successful as the tango dancing before it,” aid Mr. Shankar of the Taj. He added, “we are looking forward to the French week soon.”