Course Description

Course Name

Flamenco: Artistic and Cultural Expression (in English)

Session: VSVS1121

Hours & Credits

45 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


Prerequisite: none; class taught in English.

Students: foreign students from the academic program ISA

Contact hours: 45

Course Description:

Flamenco today encompasses such a broad spectrum of sounds and influences that it’s difficult for someone approaching it for the first time to tell what is old or new, or, what flamenco is in the first place. Meanwhile, musicians, dancers and singers from around the world are embracing this art form as a means of expression. This course aims to inspire interest in all aspects of this art form: singing, dancing and guitar!

Designed to provide a complete experience of flamenco, this course includes practical, participatory workshops with professional flamenco artists, lectures and readings focused on flamenco’s history, as well as audiovisual material familiarizing students with the various flamenco rhythms and styles.

Students will be given a general introduction to flamenco as a cultural phenomenon in the context of Andalusian society, and common misunderstandings and preconceptions will be addressed. Flamenco´s changing image due to publicity campaigns and politics will also be discussed.

Throughout the practical workshops, students will learn to recognize various flamenco palos, to play palmas, and to dance bulerías. Students will also be given the opportunity to compare flamenco as seen in tablao and theater settings.

Significant and innovative artists in the history of flamenco will be discussed throughout the course and reflections on the future of flamenco will be made in the context of recent changes. For the first time in its brief history, flamenco has become a true point of convergence for Spanish and foreign-born artists.


Historical Overview of Flamenco History

▪ Introduction: Cante, Toque, Baile

▪ Important Terms: compás, palmas, jaleo, palo, juerga

▪ Flamenco…what kind of name is that?

▪ Cultural Influences in Andalusia

• The Inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula: A Melting Pot

• The Gypsy Story

• Five Cultures: Christians, Muslims, Gypsies, Jews and Africans

▪ Flamenco in the 19th Century

• Flamenco Academies: Codification of Flamenco

• The Golden Age: Cafés Cantantes

• Creation of European Exoticism: Carmen!

▪ The Mines: Foreign Investment, Migration and Flamenco’s Evolution

▪ Flamenco in the 20th Century

• Federico García Lorca and the Cante Jondo Competition in Granada (1922)

• Opera Flamenco 1920-1936; 1940-1950

• Franco and Flamenco: Gender Roles and Creation of “Typical Spanish”

• Flamenco in New York and Hollywood: Carmen Amaya, Sabicas, Antonio “El Bailarin”

• Flamenco Festivals and Flamenco Tablaos: 1970’s

▪ Looking Towards the Future: 21st Century and Beyond

• Museo del Baile Flamenco Cristina Hoyos (2006)

• UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (2010)

• Fusion and Confusion: True Fusion or Aflamencado Music

• Flamenco Abroad: Santa Fe, Tokyo, Copenhagen


▪ Guitar

• Terms: falseta, rasgueo, pulgar, cejilla

• Andalusian Cadence

• Trends and Important Artists

• Montoya, Niño Ricardo y Paco de Lucia

▪ Song

• Terms: melisma, quejío, ayeo, matiz

• Recurrent Themes

• From Fandangos to Solea: Over 200 Styles

• Trends and Important Artists

• Niña de los Peines, Mairena, Chocolate y Camarón

• Film: Flamenco

▪ Dance

• Terms: marcaje, remate, zapateo, patada

• Which styles do you dance?

• African and Indian Influences

• Film: Latcho Drom

• Trends and Important Artists

• Argentinita, Vicente Escudero, Antonio Gades

▪ Juerga: A Flamenco Gathering

• Who, When and Where?

• Improvisation

▪ Evolving Expressions: Tablao vs. Theater

• Peña Torres Macarena

• Teatro Central


Cisneros-Kostic, Rosamaria. An Investigation of the Paradox of Andalusia: History, Politics and Dance Art. University of New Mexico, 2009. Unpublished Thesis.

Heffner Hayes, Michelle. Flamenco: Conflicting Histories of the Dance. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2009.

Flamenco. Dir. Carlos Saura, Canal+ España & Juan Lebron Producciones, 1997. Film.

Latcho Drom. Dir. Tony Gatlif, K.G. Productions & Canal+, 1993, Film.

Leblon, Bernard. Gypsies and Flamenco. Hertfordshire: University of Hertfordshire Press, 1994.

Lorca, Federico García. In Search of Duende. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1998.

Pohren, D.E. The Art of Flamenco. Morón de la Frontera: Society of Spanish Studies, 1967.

Schreiner, Claus, ed. Flamenco: Gypsy Dance and Music from Andalusia. Portland: Amadeus Press, 2000.

Washabaugh, William. Flamenco: Passion, Politics and Popular Culture. Oxford: Oxford International Publishers, Ltd., 1996.

Methodology and Assessment:

Lectures will be supported with audiovisual material and presentations by professional artists and will be participatory. Texts and audio recordings will be provided to reinforce the material covered. Tuesdays will be dedicated to lecture material, while Thursdays will be dedicated to practical workshops. All flamenco performances occurring outside of class time will be optional and attendance during these activities will not affect students’ grades in any way.

Course Evaluation:

20% Tasks and attendance 40% Final exam 30% Projects 10% Subjective evaluation (students are expected to come prepared to class and profesor will value that students are showing a mark of improvement)

Spanish Grading Scale:

Matrícula de Honor 10 Sobresaliente 9 – 9,9 Notable 7 – 8,9 Aprobado 5 – 6,9 Suspenso 0 – 4,9 No Asistencia (Student has exceeded the allowed number of unexcused absences)

Please find as a reference the following grading scale conversion. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the student’s home university or institution to determine the final grade equivalencies.

Matrícula de Honor = A+ Suspenso = F Sobresaliente = A No presentado = Incomplete (attended Notable = B classes but did not take final exam) Aprobado =C No Asistencia = Incomplete (enrolled in the course but did not attend class)

Appeal grades: The deadline for claiming notes is 30 days from the reception at the university certificate.

Homework Assignments and Participation: Students are responsible for completing assignments in a timely manner. Late assignments are only permitted with justified absence. A component of students´ homework assignments will be a Flamenco Diary (questions to guide entries will be provided), which will facilitate the writing of the final paper.

Flamenco Diary: Students will maintain an electronic Flamenco Diary documenting his/her experiences during the class sessions and any contact with flamenco outside of class. This journal will serve as a tool for reflection as well as provide students with solid information for the final paper. It will also be turned in periodically for evaluation. A final hard copy will be turned in on the last day of class.

Class Attendance: class attendance is obligatory, it is checked every class day and it is reflected in the course attendance sheet that is sent to the University. Eighty-five attendance is required for the successful completion of the course. If a student exceeds this limit, the grade in the transcript for this subject could appear as “not attended course”

Justified absences: Medical Certificates: certificates will be considered only if issued by a physician (not notes from the family explaining the student absence). The certificates must include the exact dates for which a student should be excused for having missed classes. Courses cannot be taken as auditors, so attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class. Tardiness: It is expected that students arrive to class on time and that they return directly to class after any given class break. Arriving 10 minutes late (or more) and/or early class departures are considered unexcused absences and will be taken into account as half an absence.

Special accommodations: Students with special needs who requiere reasonable modifications, special assistance or accommodations in this course (either for properly following-up clases, to take exams, etc.) should direct their request to Academic Coordination during the first days of the course.

*Course content subject to change