cadiz summer flamenco
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Cadiz Summer Flamenco 2001

Teatro de Verano

Jueves Flamencos

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Cadiz gave us some lovely dancing in the summer of 2001. Here are some photos and a brief review to give you an idea.

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There were two main outside venues in the old part of Cadiz, both virtually overlooking the Bay of Cadiz.

bailaoras

 

 

Teatro de Verano

Saturday 4th August 2001

 

young flamenco dancers

 

flamenco dancer

 

jaleo - shouts of encouragement!

 

male dancer

The Teatro de Verano (set in beautiful botanical gardens) hosted the flamenco dance competition sponsored by the Cadiz town council with monetary prizes. What was unusual and most gratifying was that the only category was Alegrías, the dance that is perhaps most typical of the Cadiz region.

There were a total of ten groups that night: five soloists and five dance groups. The average age was certainly young, so it was not the same creature as a national competition. Nevertheless the dancing was of the highest standard and well appreciated by those lucky enough to be present.

The evening glistened with stars and a brisk wind in the early hours, as Spanish families chatted away with bocadillos (bread rolls) prepared for a long flamenco session.

Four young boys dancing their choreography with such good taste took the group prize. A young girl with a mature style won the overall soloist prize.

bailaores

For what it is worth, the money that is won is never enough to pay for all the actual performers and costumes required, let alone run-up rehearsals. People forget that a dancer (or her father if she is young) still needs to pay professional singers, guitarists and palmeros (handclappers) to present dance authentically. Often the singer will expect the highest cut, as well as the guitarist in a group, because they need to be very good to accompany well. Also you are judged on your accompanying group as well.

dancing in a bata de cola flamenco dress

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escobilla de alegrias

 


Jueves Flamencos Cadiz
Flamenco Thursdays from 19th July to 30th August 2001

 

 

fernando de la morena

 

bocadillos at the bar

 

dancers

The Jueves Flamencos (Flamenco Thursdays) are organised by the (Flamenco Club) Peña Flamenca el Mellizo de Cadiz together with the Town Council.

They have grown in stature to full performances with a noticeable sound system inside the historical setting of the Baluarte de la Candalaria.

In the old days (1980s) they were smaller intimate meetings of the Peña. I remember standing in the street next to the Peña where most people had gathered and watched from a distance the local singers. The price to get in was only about 300,- pesetas, but even today at 1.300,- pesetas a ticket, it is still excellent value.

entrance to the peña flamenca el mellizo

However the evening did have the commercial feel to it, which is a pity, because it meant everyone was packed together on very uncomfortable seats, while waitresses in black and white uniforms hurried to and from the bar with platters of fish, beer and sherry bottles. This would even distract the most diehard aficionado from the longwinded lament of a martinete by Fernando de la Morena (9th August 2001).

For the first time this year they even put up a big white screen upon which to project the performers as you ordered your cerveza and bocadillos from the bar. I hope they do not lose sight of the intimate family style of presenting flamenco that has kept it at grass roots level.

 

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Content "Cadiz Summer Flamenco" and photographs © Simon Zolan 2001

The XXIII Concurso Provincial de Cante por Alegrias de Cadiz is scheduled between 30th August and 1st September, a singing competition dedicated to only Alegrias. This year there are three prizes of 200.000,- ptas, 100.000,- ptas and 50.000,- ptas. I am told next year it becomes a national level competition, though it is open to everyone over 16 years of age already (see my other articles on prizes and competetions). The final on Saturday (1st September) is held in the Asociacion de Vecinos "La Tacita de Plata", in a road called Calle Bulerias number 7.... What else would you expect!

The rules are vague about the judges' panel: "...personas de reconocida solvencia dentro del mundo de flamenco. Su fallo es inapelable." This could mean just about anybody, and then who elects the panel...? Well this is how flamenco is, but if it wants to step up a level then it must profess a better organisation.

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