Gypsy Flag

Why so many colors in the new poster for Escuela de Ritmo?

The poster, designed by Luis de La Tota was inspired by the Gypsy Flag of Spain (La Bandera Gitana).

Descending from a long line of Gypsy ancestry, Luis feels a strong connection to this flag

The colors are celeste which represents the sky los cielos,

green which represents the earth la tierra

and the red wheel represents the wheel of the Gypsy Caravan.

The Gypsies and Flamenco

What does the Gypsy flag have to do with Flamenco? Although Flamenco is considered the music of Andalusia, the Gypsies of Southern Spain have long since been recognized for adopting and keeping alive the art form, passing it down orally generation to generation inside their families.

Earthy Green and Sky Blue….the the flag symbolizes for me

Having a strong interest in gardening and sustainable living, I’ve always been a person that loves to be outside. Nature has always accented my good times giving a soft reassuring glow to the world I live in, and I’ve always looked to nature for help in my harder times, finding comfort when I  notice how the tiniest little green leaves of life seem to sprout up in between the cracks of oppressive gray concrete in the cities I’ve passed thru. Life always finds a way, and nature always proves as a perfect example of triumph thru grace in adversity.

Many of Flamenco’s verses connect nature and humanity, here is one of my favorite letras sung by Joselero de Moron

Soy arroyo y no me enturbio

aunque me caiga una tormenta

Ay aunque me caiga una tormenta

me mantengo claro como el agua entre dos piedras

 I am a creek and I don’t cloud

even if a storm falls upon me

even if a storm falls upon me

I remain as clear as the water that flows between two rocks

Red Wheel and Freedom

For me, the red wheel of the Gypsy flag, represents the vehicle Flamenco provides to emotional and physical freedom in my life.

Like most people, I discovered Flamenco because of the element of dance. The Flamenco body is unique in that it embraces us all, men and women alike as we are. Flamenco places more importance on the grace and compás the dancers carry rather than if the dancer is skinny or curvy. The dancer has freedom thru improvisation and we can keep our bodies as nature intended.

It wasn’t until after the suggestion of my first dance Maestra that I began paying more attention to the Flamenco singing. It can be challenging to discover the beauty and meaning of the cante (singing).  Most of the time, because of the language barrier, it’s hard to feel a verbal connection to Flamenco music. The verses are sung in Andalusian Spanish and in partial Caló (the language of the Gypsies) making interpretation tricky.

The Flamenco voice can also be difficult to adjust one’s ear to. To many of us the flamenco singer sounds as if she is constantly crying. We don’t understand that much of the time the grittiness of flamenco music lies not so much in what seems to be crying but deep emotional expression. Because crying isn’t always for sadness, we cry for extreme joy, and when we laugh too many of you out there have turned to look at someone you thought might be crying and it turns out that they are just truly laughing or vise versa? It seems to me that in a world where emotions are free to roam, joy and sadness would grow side by side in the same patch of green earth and it might be difficult to distinguish the two at first glance, you’d have to take a second look.

Expressing our emotions is something we learn to do. For some it comes easy, others not so much. Looking at the red wheel that connects two symbols of nature in the Gypsy flag, the blue sky and green earth,  I think of how flamenco has given us the freedom to let our celestial emotions and our earthbound bodies merge and express who we are as beautiful people.  Written by Estefanía Sanchez

To learn more about Flamenco dance and rhythms,

join us every Monday and Wednesday 6: 30 pm at La Escuela de Ritmo, Boise ID

See classes tab for details.

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