Arts & Entertainment

Spanish dancer: Flamenco’s stature is much greater than that of reggaeton

By Carlos Meneses

Sao Paulo, Dec 16 (EFE).- Spain’s Eduardo Guerrero, widely recognized as one of the world’s leading flamenco dancers, said his art form is constantly growing and evolving and even has the potential to compete commercially with musical styles with more mass appeal like reggaeton.

Now touring Brazil as part of “Flamenco Autentico,” a spectacle of Madrid’s Teatro Real that was produced by SO-LA-NA with support from the Spanish government, Guerrero reflected during an interview with Efe on the past, present and future of Spain’s most international music and dance tradition.

Guerrero, who is also a flamenco choreographer, presented his work titled “Faro” in recent days in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and on Saturday will wrap up his brief tour of the South American country in Brasilia.

Other projects on the horizon include the premiere in March of his latest project, a work titled “Bailar no es solo bailar.”

“I have lots of dreams because I wouldn’t be able to live without dreams,” Guerrero told Efe at a Sao Paulo hotel hours before taking the stage for a new performance.

He said of flamenco that it is an art form that “must constantly evolve, constantly grow,” adding that it would not survive otherwise.

In that regard, he said it is always a positive sign when artists from the world of jazz or pop incorporate flamenco into their albums or are influenced by that art form.

“That helps give us another megaphone for audiences that may not be aware that flamenco exists, even though flamenco has been recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” Guerrero said.

“It gives us a super-interesting visibility” and assists with the process of reaching new audiences, “because flamenco is always said to be for older people and that attracting young people is more difficult,” he added.

Guerrero mentioned 30-year-old Rosalia, a winner of 12 Latin Grammy awards and the contemporary Spanish flamenco-pop fusion artist with the most global reach, as someone breathing fresh life into that art form.

But he also recalled that legendary figures such as Enrique Morente, Camaron de la Isla and Paco de Lucia had earlier made major contributions to flamenco’s evolution.

“We can say that Camaron was the biggest revolutionary in the history” of flamenco, Guerrero said.

An artist who began dancing at age six and trained alongside teachers of the stature of Mario Maya, Antonio Canales and Monolo Marin, he said reggaeton has a long way to go to be placed in the same category as flamenco.

“At the end of the day, reggaeton is a fad. It’s come on the scene, but is it intangible cultural heritage of humanity? Has it been around as long as flamenco?” he said. “For now, flamenco is much greater” as an art form.

Guerrero added that flamenco is in good hands with artists such as Israel Fernandez, Kiki Morente and Niño de Elche now carrying the torch.

But he insisted that going forward it is essential for flamenco artists to connect with the world around them: “I can’t dance to lyrics about working in a mine because I haven’t worked in a mine, and I don’t know anyone who’s done that.”

“If we want to showcase flamenco right now, we’ll need to talk about today’s social situation; we’ll need to talk about the wars that are happening, the economy, gender reassignment, sexuality, climate change …,” Guerrero said. EFE


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