• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Flamenco performance traces the Spanish diaspora

December 11, 2014

Three hundred years ago, flamenco was an obscure dance performed only in southern Spain. There it might have remained, the pastime of peasants and Roma, unknown to the outside world. But flamenco spread: Today, dancers stomp feet and click castanets across the Americas, from Buenos Aires to Montreal.

This theme of migration informs the new show “Con El Alma Aferrada” (“With the Soul Clinging”), performed this weekend by flamenco troupe Al Ándalus. Forty-eight dancers use this far-flung art form to tell the story of migrating peoples. The show takes place this Sunday at the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center.

“Migration is complex and often painful,” said Rocío González Urrutia, director of Al Ándalus. “It means leaving what you have in the hopes of something better. Oftentimes, however, that which is idealized isn’t found or satisfied, and one has to continue living with that – go on despite everything and maintain hope above all.”

She added that “Alma” focuses on the first third of the 20th century, when 5.5 million people left Spain for the Americas, bringing flamenco with them. The show represents the Spanish diaspora through one of its most famous dance forms.

Courtesy Al Ándalus
While “Alma” is a flamenco show, the choreography hints of tango and other Latin American dance styles. Courtesy Al Ándalus

On the surface, Al Ándalus is a training program for dance students, who frequently perform around the Central Valley. But this description barely skims the surface of their abilities: Instead of the solo work that many people associate with flamenco, the Al Ándalus members perform group choreography, clapping, flipping fans, and stomping heels with perfect sychronicity.

“The popularity of flamenco has been increasing over the years,” said González of the local dance scene. “In the 80s, my mother, Patricia Urrutia, from Guatemala, created one of the first schools for Spanish dance in Costa Rica. Then with the passage of time and with globalization there is more access to study materials, increased contact with flamenco dancers, and it has begun to grow. Currently in Costa Rica there are about five small dance schools and a conglomerate of aficionados that I estimate to be about 500 people.”

“Con El Alma Aferrada” performs Dec. 14 at the Teatro Eugene O’Neill, Los Yoses. 4 & 7 p.m. ₡11,000 ($22). Info: Al Ándalus website.

You may be interested

Costa Rica expands vaccine eligibility to teenagers
Costa Rica
2 views
Costa Rica
2 views

Costa Rica expands vaccine eligibility to teenagers

The Tico Times - May 12, 2021

Costa Rica will vaccinate 16- and 17-year-old teenagers with at least one risk factor against Covid-19, the National Commission for…

Buying property in Costa Rica, Part 1: Due diligence
Real estate
10 views
Real estate
10 views

Buying property in Costa Rica, Part 1: Due diligence

Chris Howard - May 12, 2021

Relocation to a new country can be a daunting task. Not doing the correct research can most often mean the…

PAHO warns Covid-19 is far from under control in the Americas
Latin America
7 views
Latin America
7 views

PAHO warns Covid-19 is far from under control in the Americas

The Tico Times - May 12, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic is far from being under control in the Americas despite the reduction in cases in the United…

The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate