Learning Flamenco with an ECU scholar

Hispanic Heritage Month

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Today, I am a student in Professor Gabriela Estrada’s class at East Carolina University.   

“If you know, and you start listening, which is the key to learning Flamenco, you learn that these are stories. That this is poetry,” says Estrada 

Estrada breaks down the parts of a Flamenco performance.  

“It has the dance, the toque, the guitar playing, and the singing,” Estrada said.   

Estrada is a scholar in this arena, even living in the Spanish city it originated from. 

“The minutes I stepped in Sevilla, there’s this connection. There’s this connection, I don’t know. The same way you felt going home after not being home,” Estrada said.  

She brings all her expertise to East Carolina University School of Theatre and Dance, explaining to the students how it’s a mixture of different cultures.  

“It’s talking about relations to the Roma people, but also the Roma people – not all over – but the people who collaborated who became this melting pot of Castilian, African, Latin American, Castilian Spanish and the Moorish genealogy that happened there,” said Estrada.   

When it made its way to America, Flamenco was also influenced by Latin American artists. I was able to book a private session with the professor, learning about what all goes into the performance.   

While I did not have the same grace of Estrada, she assured me in Flamenco, It’s not about being perfect.   

“Flamenco is a universal art form. It’s about your soul,” she said.

At the end of our session, I discovered it’s not about copying Estrada’s dance moves, but instead, adding my own unique flair to make it truly “Flamenco.”  

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