Flamenco is a genre of Spanish music and dance hailing from Andalucía in southern Spain. At its core are four elements: cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance) and palmas (handclaps). Flamenco is credited to the gitanos or Romani people, whose earliest recorded arrival to Spain from northern India dates to 1447. During this time, Andalucía or Al-Andalus as it was known was a unique melting pot of Arabic, North African, Sephardic Jew, Andalusian and gitano cultures, laying a foundation for what later would become known as flamenco.
One of the most exciting aspects of flamenco for the spectator is its improvisatory nature. There is an organic spontaneity that infuses each performance as singer, guitarist and dancer respond to each other’s energy, phrasing, and groove — the result can be truly electrifying.
Today flamenco is performed and taught worldwide by an expanding network of international artists. UNESCO has recently recognized Flamenco as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.