The Complicated History of Flamenco in Spain
August 29, 2021
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The Complicated History of Flamenco in Spain

The music, born of gypsies in the country’s southern regions, was embraced by foreigners long before it became a national symbol

By Sandie Holguín, Zócalo Public Square

smithsonianmag.com
October 24, 2019

During the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, an advertisement for the Bates textile company in the Pavilion of Spain’s official guide book featured a fetchingly posed young woman, rose in mouth, with a ruby red bedspread draped over her body to form the likeness of a flamenco dress. The text beckons us to “fall in love with Spain—and Bates’ ‘Flamenca!’” and encourages us to discover “fashion’s new passion in bedspreads … each bedspread smoldering with two tones of a hot-blooded color.”

In the U.S. and elsewhere, flamenco is a pervasive marker of Spanish national identity. For proof of its currency in pop culture, look no further than Toy Story 3: Buzz Lightyear is mistakenly reset in “Spanish mode,” and becomes a passionate Spanish flamenco dancer. Indeed, the world outside Spain often stereotypes the nation as inhabited by flamenco dancers, singers, and guitar players who are so “passionate,” they have little time to engage in the day-to-day world of the mundane. …

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