Monday, December 10, 2012

~The Dance of the~!El Matador!

Let's begin here...The Running of the Bulls!Most famous running of the bulls is that of the seven-day festival of Sanfermines in honour of San Fermin in Pamplona,Spain.
Spanish tradition says the true origin began in northeastern Spain during the early 14th century. While transporting cattle in order to sell them at the market, men would try to speed the process by hurrying their cattle using tactics of fear and excitement. After years of this practice, the transportation and hurrying began to turn into a competition, as young adults would attempt to race in front of the bulls and make it safely to their pens without being overtaken.When the popularity of this practice increased and was noticed more and more by the expanding population of Spanish cities, a tradition was created and stands to this day.
     **********Animal rights groups protest against the tradition**********

I understand the tradition! But,I also get's a cruel way for the fellas to die! 

After entering the Bullring...the dance begins..

Indeed,it is a sight to behold! What I learned from researching for my "Christmas in Spain Party"about this "dance" was amazing! Indulge me,while I share.

In Spanish, the word torero describes any of the performers who actively participate in the bullfight. The main one who is the leader of the entourage and who kills the bull is addressed as maestro (master) and his formal title is matador de toros (killer of bulls) but the word "matador" by itself is not used in Spanish. The term torero encompasses all who fight the bull in the ring (picadores and rejoneadores). The other bullfighters in the entourage are called subalternos and their suits are embroidered in silver as opposed to the matador's gold.

           **********Bullfighting is considered a Performance Art**********

YES! The First Female Matador...CRISTINA SANCHEZ looks like the sort of Spanish woman you might see dancing Saturday night away in a Madrid discotheque. She can also_Dance with a Bull.....

Many male Matadors refuse to fight in the same bullring because of her gender. And,the fact that it's always been a male dominated activity! Her first bullfight was February 13,1993_she retired in 1999.

Types of Torero:
Matador de Toros
A matador de toros "killer of bulls" is considered to be both an artist and an athlete, possessing great agility, grace, and coordination. One of the most famous matadors was Juan Belmonte (1892–1962), whose technique in the ring revolutionized bullfighting and remains the standard by which bullfighters are judged. The style and bravery of the matador is regarded as being at least as important as whether or not he actually kills the bull. The most successful matadores used to be treated like pop stars,with a matching financial income, cult followings and accompanied by lurid tabloid stories about their conquests with women.

One of the most famous bullfighters in history was Manolete.He died as a result of injuries from a Bullfight in 1947. I watched this movie about his story_fascinating,loved it!

The American writer Ernest Hemingway aspired to be a matador. His novel and the movie "The Sun Also Rises" has autobiographical elements and includes bullfighting themes.Spain honored him by creating a stature in his image!

A picador is a bullfighter who uses a special lance called pica while on horseback to test the bull's strength and to provide clues to the matador on which side the bull is favouring.

They perform in the tercio de varas which is the first of the "three stages in a Spanish Bullfight".

The shape of the lance or pica is regulated by Spanish law to prevent serious injury to the bull which was viewed as cheating in the past. The bull charges the horses in the ring and at the moment of contact the picador lances the bull in the large muscle at the back of the neck, and thus begins the work of lowering his head. The picador continues to stab the bull's neck leading to the animal's first major loss of blood. During this time, the bull's neck muscles do fatigue, as a result of the bull charging the picador's horse and trying to lift the horse with its horns. This weakens the bull further and makes it ready for the next stage.

To protect the horse from the bull’s horns, the horse is surrounded by a 'peto' – a mattress-like protection. Prior to 1928, the horse did not wear any protection and the bull would frequently disembowel the horse during this stage. "Ole" seems to antagonize and aggravate the bull_in other words_it's on!

The banderillero is a torero who plants the banderillas aka (little flags). These are colourful sticks with a barbed point which are placed in the top of the bull's shoulder. Banderilleros attempt to place the sticks while running as close to the bull as possible. They are judged by the crowd on their form and bravery.Sometimes a matador who was a particularly skillful banderillero before becoming a matador will place some of the banderillas himself. Skilled banderilleros can actually correct faults in the manner in which the bull charges by lancing the bull in such a way that the bull ceases hooking to one side, and thereby removing a potential source of danger to the matador.

The decorations and elaborateness of the costume of the toreador's outfit is called in Spanish
traje de luces  meaning the "suit of lights".

                                         Present day Matador Israel Lancho

The Dance continues....

Pasodoble_Ballroom Dance
Pasodoble is based on music played at bullfights during the bullfighters' entrance (paseo) or during the passes (faena) just before the kill. The leader of this dance plays the part of the matador.The follower generally plays the part of the matador's cape, but can also represent the shadow of the matador, as well as the bull or a flamenco dancer in some figures. Its origin dates back to a French military march with the name “Paso Redoble.” This was a fast paced march, which is why this is a fast-paced Latin American dance modeled after the Spanish bull fight.

My favorite example of this dance comes from my favorite dance show (DWTS) & male dancer,Gilles Marini(French) dancing with Cheryl Burke(Latin)...

Bolero_Ballroom Dance
The bolero is a 3/4 dance that originated in Spain in the late 18th century, a combination of the contradanza_(based on African music popular in Cuba) and the sevillana_(folk music of Andalusia,Spain). Dancer Sebastiano Carezo is credited with inventing the dance in 1780.It is danced by either a soloist or a couple.A version of the Cuban bolero is danced throughout the Latin dance world under the misnomer "rumba". This came about in the early 1930s when a simple overall term was needed to market Cuban music to audiences unfamiliar with the various Cuban musical terms. Here's an example on DWTS_Gilles & Peta :

Other Traditional Dances of Spain:

Jota Aragonesa: This typical dance hails from the north of Spain, namely Aragón, and features a fast tempo as couples dance with their hands raised high above their heads playing castanets. Moorish influences are probable, as it is loosely attributed to a Moorish poet who was kicked out of Valencia during the 12th century.

Several couples join hands and dance in a closed circle in this traditional dance from Catalonia.

Danced in twos or alone along to the music of bagpipes, this traditional "Miller's Dance" is typical throughout Galicia and Asturias.

The zambra began as a Moorish dance, but with monarchs Fernando and Isabel's reconquista of Spain, the Moors were able to conserve the dance by adapting it to Spanish dance customs.

One of the oldest and most traditional dances of the history of Spanish dance, the bolero is a quick Spanish dance boasting sudden pauses and sharp turns.

At one point the most famous dance of Spain, the fandango is a lively, happy Spanish danced in two's.

Paso doble:
A quick one-step Spanish dance.

A passionate dance hailing from gypsies, flamenco is internationally famous.

Sevillana: Lively and joyous dance typical of Seville and reminiscent of flamenco that features four distinct parts.

*Various Sources for information_including "DK Eyewitness Travel_Spain"book.

For almost as long as man has existed he has used dance as a form of communication and personal expression. The Dance of the El the Bullring or Pasodobles on the Dance Floor illustrates...

~“Great dancers aren't great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.”~

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