彩神网址是多少官方Across China: Moving with grace: Spanish art Flamenco fascinates more Chinese

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SHANGHAI, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- "In Flamenco songs, there's a line that goes: 'I fell into a deep well without a rope,' which is exactly what I feel now," said 42-year-old Tao Jiarong, a Shanghai-based white-collar worker who indulges in the fascinating Spanish art.

Flamenco, a folk art originated in Spain, combines singing, dancing and guitar playing with varied rhythms and rich emotional expressions and is considered as the quintessence of Spain along with the bullfighting.

Dating back to around the 15th century, the art is generally believed to be an artistic product of Gypsies' uprooted lives of grief, protests, hopes and catharsis.

Flamenco has long been synonymous with the famous opera "Carmen" in China, but for Tao, "the deep well" is more like an inexhaustible treasure, to which now she has devoted almost all her spare time.

"Currently, Shanghai has around 150 Flamenco trainees a year, a very small number compared to the city's total population of more than 24 million," Tao said. But the number is on the rise in recent years.

In a neighborhood near Zhongshan Park in Shanghai, Tao comes to the Flamenco dance studio founded by her friend Shi Yiqi every week. More than 20 participants from nearby communities receive introductory training in the studio, where professional foreign dancers help them learn more about the comprehensive art form.

Learning Flamenco is different from learning ballroom dancing, as the latter requires more cooperation and coordination of the dancers while the former enchants the participants with its abundant cultural connotation.

As China has more and more Flamenco lovers, an increasing number of Flamenco studios and workshops have sprung up. Such studios and workshops used to be available only in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei, but now they are almost everywhere in cities including Nanjing, Xi'an, Changsha, Chengdu and Chongqing, according to Shi.

"Flamenco itself is the synthesis of art," Tao said.

Tao still recalls the first time she learned about Flamenco in 1508 during a Flamenco performance of the Spanish national ballet in Shanghai. She was so struck by the grace and passion of the dancers in red dresses that she immediately signed up for a Flamenco training course.

When Tao saw the impromptu Flamenco performances by Spanish dancing masters in the Spanish pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, she had a better understanding of the art form.

About three years ago, Tao decided to change from a dancer to a Flamenco singer. While learning to sing the Flamenco songs, she realized that the exotic art is like a cultural treasure box.

"Flamenco's philosophy is about fusion and acceptance, a kind of attitude. In the eyes of many audiences, the dances and performances express extreme emotions, but ultimately, Flamenco achieves the result of self-reconciliation. I also reach reconciliation with my heart and the world when dancing," said Tao.

Now, in addition to learning to sing with Spanish singers via the Internet, Tao also spends her holidays in Andalusia, Spain, immersing herself in various singing styles with local features, taking part in training and performances.

"Shanghai now hosts several music festivals in summer with Flamenco performances, which has provided the public with more channels to learn about the art. More and more are willing to pay their way to learn the art in Spain," Shi said, adding that her studio alone has more than 150 trainees now.

In music, the dancers with flower earrings flick and flutter like butterflies in their long tail dresses, bridging the differences in cultural backgrounds of China and Spain with their shared love of the arts.

Tao is happy that Flamenco is gaining its popularity among the Chinese, but the country still lacks experienced musicians and singers. Tao and Shi hope to develop more Chinese musicians and backup singers for the art in the near future.

In 2018, they formed Shanghai's first homegrown Flamenco band, which now plays regularly in the municipality.

"The art makes me feel alive. I have a hunch that I'll continue to love it in the future," Shi said.