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  • Zorica Newman


Updated: Dec 25, 2020

In case you’ve been wondering what do Spanish terms that your flamenco teacher is using mean, here’s a handy list of basic flamenco terms and phrases for you to memorise, so you can enjoy flamenco in its native language:

Term: Meaning:

El baile Dance

El bailaor Male dancer

La bailaora Female dancer

El guitarrista Guitar player

El cantaor Male singer

La cantaora Female singer

El cuerpo The body

La colocacion del cuerpo The (correct) positioning of the body

Los manos The hands

Los pies The feet

La punta The tip of the toes

La planta (la media planta) Striking of the ball of the foot against the floor

Braceo Movement of arms

Floreo Movement or articulation of fingers or hands

Las palmas The hands

Palmear To clap hands (Span. ‘hacer las palmas’)

Jalear To shout during dance

El jaleo The shout, a vocal encouragement to the performers (e.g. when the audience shouts phrases like: Ezo!, Arsa!, Olé!, Toma!, Vamo!)

El duende The magic, or the spirit of flamenco artistry

La llamada Literally ‘the call’ or the opening of the dance

La entrada The beginning

Compás The rhythm, beat. also, a unit of rhythm

El final The end of the dance

La letra The lyrics

El marcaje The marking steps, used during the lyrics

El paso The step, in a dance

Escobilla The brushing steps, a section of footwork in dance

El paseo The walk, refers to parts of the dance where emphasis is on graceful walking and movements of the upper body and arms; sometimes used to refer to the part of the ‘alegrías’ (cheerful, upbeat melodies) which is more commonly called the ‘silencio’(silence).

El remate Footwork during and at the end of the lyrics.

Zapatear The footwork, to do the footwork

Las zapatos The shoes

Desplante A point in the dance that marks the end of a section, a climax where the dancer pauses and the audience applauds. Also called ‘La subida’ (the climb).

La oposición The opposition, refers to the asymmetry of flamenco; e.g. in dance: if the arms are going one way, the face will look the other.

Estampa A personal stamp, a signature look: the stance, the form, and the dress

El vestido The dress

La falda The skirt

La flor The flower (worn in hair)

El abanico The fan

Mantón de Manilla Manilla shawl

La peineta Hair comb

Las castañuelas Castanets

Please note:

This list is not exhaustive. Ask your teacher for the meaning of any other Spanish flamenco terms that she may introduce throughout your course.

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