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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Flowering of the Hands

"Your hands should move like doves." -- from Carlos Saura's Flamenco

One of the myriad of things I am learning to do in flamenco is move my arms and hands carefully and gracefully. In flamenco, you make these undulating and flowing embellishments with your hands. They are called floreo.

The flowering of the hands.

I like practicing these movements because I happen to like my hands a lot. They have always been one of my favorite parts of me.

When I was little, I used to twirl my hands and wrists and watch them move like they had a life of their own. Like they were sea creatures swimming or ribbons made of silk.

I have been making flamenco hands my whole life and I didn't even know it until now.

Below are two excerpts from the movie Flamenco that beautifully illustrate the concept of the floreo.

Flamenco Hands, originally uploaded by vergentino


katie March 26, 2008 at 8:40 AM  

The little details mean so much and have such an impact on the art form.

Anonymous March 26, 2008 at 9:13 AM  

I always thought Saura's "Flamenco" was far better than his "Tango". Pure, elegant, powerful. I especially was blown away by that 12-year-old boy...

I also always thought that Flamenco was an awful lot like tap dancing :-)

Elizabeth March 26, 2008 at 9:47 AM  

I love the posture, that upward curve of the front body. Saura's "Flamenco" is something wonderful. I agree with johanna that it is more "pure" than "Tango", but I love that one too.

tangobaby March 26, 2008 at 10:28 AM  

Hi Katie,

You are not kidding about the details. ALL of it is details from the head to toe and it is very overwhelming to keep track of it. I am trying to take it one detail at a time. But that is true of all dance. It all has a stylized look, some more to a formal degree than others.

Hi Johanna,

I did not know about this movie until Tangocherie mentioned it. I need to get a copy for myself.

Flamenco is like tap dancing! Which is why I can't do it! And with a bit of belly dancing thrown in for fun. ;-)

Hi Elizabeth,

The posture is beautiful. It may be unattainable for me but I will try. I have watched Saura's Tango several times and look forward to seeing Flamenco. I am sure it is beautiful, just based on these clips.

Psyche March 26, 2008 at 11:12 AM  

It's so beauuuuuuutiful!

tangobaby March 26, 2008 at 11:50 AM  

Hi Psyche,

The floreo are beautiful, when done well. The movements can be infinitesmally small and delicate but make such a powerful impression. I am hoping my hands look like that someday.

ModernTanguera March 26, 2008 at 2:27 PM  

Johanna, I have always thought the same thing about Flamenco being similar to tap dancing!

And Tango Baby, beautiful, intricate hands are absolutely captivating. It's part of what I like about belly dancing (a dance form where I once again am a complete beginner and have to start over with understanding how my body works - it would be neat to compare experiences with beginning new dances).

tangobaby March 26, 2008 at 2:53 PM  

Hi Modern Tanguera,

I think flamenco and belly dance must be very closely related. I am sure that the Arabic influence in Spain and/or gypsy traditions in both countries have given similar aspects to both dances, including the graceful, expressive arms and hands.

I'm not an expert on either dance but that is my uneducated guess.

I would love to share more with you about our other dance exploits. I adore bellydance and tried passionately to do it for about a year and I would love to know how you are doing with it. And you could be a great resource for me with my ballet woes. My email addy is on the sidebar, just in case.

Oh, I love your blog and happily added it to my blogroll so I'll be checking in with you again soon.

paris parfait March 28, 2008 at 4:52 PM  

Wonderful - sounds like you're enjoying your flamenco classes!