The Gilded Serpent

Gilded Serpent presents...
Flamenco Dance: Secrets of the Professionals
Book reviewed by Surreyya Hada

Flamenco or not, I guarantee this book will take your dance to the next level.

In one of my moments void of dance inspiration and full of dance desperation, I came to Lynette and asked her for some help.  My incessant begging and pleading resulted in this book review (which is incredibly overdue – apology to editor of GS and author of book). I wasn’t sure if I was being punished at first.

Living a large part of my life in Texas, I was exposed to many Latin cultural soul searching efforts in various forms. Flamenco was one of them. We were all given the mandatory dance lessons in elementary school, from an often older plump school teacher with warm hugs, endless enthusiasm and neon magenta lipstick that just wanted to leave its impression and coffee breath aftertaste hanging on your cheek.  Then there were Mom’s event center adventures in her effort to “give this family some culture!” which I dreaded more than nails on a chalkboard. Hard seats in a cold venue, taking in what seemed to be endless hours of forced theatre while some man wailed painfully in Spanish and a guitar hacked away. I did like the costumes, I did like the palmas. Outside of that, I was bored senseless, but did leave with a morbid sense of curiosity.

Alas as years passed and taste buds changed, I welcomed the passionate music and fiery dance into my heart after several interludes in the music industry and theatre. Just a few years ago, I saw an ANDRÉS MARÍN Y SU COMPAÑÍA FLAMENCA at the Brava Theatre - that experience completely hooked me.

How anyone can question the shared influences of Middle Eastern dance and Music and Flamenco dance and music is beyond me. You would have to be blind and deaf. 

However, having a love-hate relationship with Flamenco over the years, I came into this book with little expectation. Never did I imagine I’d come away with a new awareness of belly dance and heightened sense of professionalism through the eyes of a Flamenco book!

Paco Sevilla, one of the foremost flamencologists, writes nearly an encyclopedia and professional reference book for the ambitious dancer let alone, flamenco enthusiast, musician or dancer.  A guitarist and instructor, Sevilla clearly organizes a multitude of topics in an easy read that is interesting, colorful and far from boring.  While your aptitude of flamenco is tested, you are provided an excellent history lesson with an entrée of performers and musician to surely inspire further reading and research.

What I found in this book is an endless resource of wisdom I can continually draw from and refer.

Author Paco Sevilla

As a musician and dancer, I appreciated Sevilla’s experiences and viewpoints on communication, interpretation and style.  With a very common sense driven perspective, Sevilla takes the reader on a very personal lesson, forcing them to face fears, address shortcomings and inspire emotions and bring them out into their dance.  His skill in writing, instruction and years of experience are paramount, but not condescending to the reader at any time.  Sevilla takes great care in relating the material to all walks of people, ages, experience levels and challenges your intellect in harmony.

Obviously some knowledge or curiosity of flamenco will help you become interested in this material, but the skills and subjects transfer quite readily to a variety of forms.  From music comprehension, posture, practice, emoting, getting the most out of a dance lesson, communicating with musicians, choreography tips, expression, stage presence – you name it, it is covered. 

What Sevilla does in this book is help to identify the magic, the mojo, and the presence that set so many flamenco pioneers apart from their contemporaries.  It also takes you on a profound leap inward to analyzing and improving your own style and persona. 

If you are a reader I STRONGLY encourage you to have this book in your collection.  It has a wonderful anthology of images, and each book is lovingly hand made – not off an assembly line.  Very special, it should be an essential part of every dancer’s collection.

purchase through authors website here-

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