Sunday, 12 October 2014

The History of Belly Dance in Spain & start of Flamenco dance

After reading an article of someone who wrote about the history of BellyDance in Spain, making a big mistake with how it came into Spain, I have decided to explain in a short way by online publication on my blog, the real History of Bellydance in Spain.

Spain has been invaded in several times though History by different civilizations, the Phoenicians (from Lebanon), the Greek, the romans, then the Barbarous (from north Europe), then the Arabs from Syria who were almost 800 years, and then the spanish Catholic Kings made Spain a Christian country again since 1492 until now, only 522 years ago.

The Arabian Culture has been in the Spanish blood since the times of the Phoenicians:

" It is written that the Phoenicians founded the city of Gadir (Cádiz) in south west Spain in 1100 BC, to explote the natural resources in the area.  Based on archaeological remains, the consecueces is that colonisation began around 800 BC, when settlements were founded along the south coast of the peninsula. The most important besides Gadir, were Malacca (Málaga), Sexi (Almuñecar, in the province of Granada) and Toscanos (Vélez Málaga, in the province of Málaga). " fragment from

Those who came from Lebanon already had the knowledge of the Egyptians, so obviously the Egyptian philosophy, Art, architecture, music and the dance.

So since that moment, the Spanish dance was a mixture between the ancient dances of Spain plus the new dances from the other side of the Mediterranean Sea.

Then came the Greek which also cultivated our culture, they were also copying the architecture of Egypt, and obviously again the Dance of Egypt.

On Roman times the Art was protected and published publicly but then came the barbarous which didn't allow to make it public, they were the Visigodos and their type of Art was very cold and not very artisty.

Then the invasion of the Arabs again, but this time with the Muslim religion (711AC-1492), in this moment there was already a rich environment of Spanish-Arabian Culture, and after been for so long the arabs in Spain the dance style that was created, became known as Al-Andalus Dance (Dance of the Paradise Land). Al Andalus means in arabic "The Paradise Land".

Some historians say that the Gypsies arrived to Spain by 1425, these people came from India, where their style of dance was to hit with their hills the floor, like in the Indian Temples, and when they arrived to Spain they got the influences from the Al-Andalus Dance style that was been danced in Spain more than a thousand years before their arrival, by the first Arabian influences. 

This is the reason why the gypsies created Flamenco dance only in Spain. Because there are gypsies communities all around the world, but the Flamenco dance style was only created in South of Spain due to the Al-Andalus Dance Culture.

So I hope that with these lines I help many people to clarify why BellyDance has been performed in Spain since the Arabian cultural invasions since 3 thousands years ago, and that's why Spain is the only place in the world where the Gypsies created the Flamenco dance style that we all know nowadays.

Written by Prof. Amora Shams