The malagueñas as a dance are a traditional flamenco palo of Malaga which emerged in the early nineteenth century and has its roots in the old fandangos of the area, differing from these because their touch is increasingly slower and sustained, achieving an exceptional richness.
What are the Malagueñas?
The dance of the malagueñas typical of Malaga is a type of musical composition similar to the fandango that is usually danced with the typical costumes of the province such as the malagueña de lujo or bolerothe one of verdiales and the marenga. It is usually danced in pairs and some of the steps are the braceos, the paseíllo and the careos.
Origin of the Malagueñas
The dance of the malagueña arose at the beginning of the 19th century in the region of Malaga as a sung dance derived from flamenco. Throughout this century, it continues to be performed throughout Andalusia, gaining great popularity and being in great demand by the public.
Nevertheless, there were already some precedents, such as the Tiranas, the Jabera, the Fandango Rondeño and other types of danceable fandangos that accompanied the dances of the Bolero Dance School since the middle of the 18th century. It is precisely at this time that the Fandango Verdial, mother of the “malagueñas del flamenco”, which has multiple variants.
Cultural and social importance
The Agrupación de Coros y Danzas de España (Spanish Choirs and Dances Group) was the one who established the canons that, at present, are maintained as the basis of the schematic structure of the malagueña as a dance. A perfectly defined and explained concept that turns the dance by malagueñas into a graceful piece with a beautiful poetic-folklore content, most of the times of costumbrista character.
One of the main architects of the transformation of the malagueñas as a dance is José María Alonso, who in the late 70s and early 80s, with his work and that of other modern singer-songwriters, created a canon to follow when composing malagueñas to dance at a party.
At present, we can find different modalities of Malagueñas dance, differentiated in their rhythm and beat, which determines whether they can be danced or not. At the end of the 90’s they began to be sung respecting the rhythm and meter to make them more danceable, giving rise to the “malagueñas de fiesta”.
How are the Malagueñas danced?
The malagueña is a flamenco dance that is danced collectively, usually about five, six or more pairswhere the dancers form corridors, tunnels, figures and braids. The music is usually quiet and the choreography consists of a circle of couples where the man faces the woman on the left, and both have their backs to the other couples.
But, how do you dance the malagueña? It begins by dancing on the same spot for several bars, and when the half turn is indicated, the men turn to the outside of the corro, and the women to the inside, to dance with the opposite couple for another series of bars.
When the commander indicates the complete turn, the man turns to the left and moves to the outside of the corro, and at the same time, the woman turns to her left and goes around while moving around the inside, until she is again in front of a new partner. A process that is repeated throughout the entire interpretation.
What do Malagueñas contribute to flamenco?
The malagueña is a cante with copla of four or five octosyllabic verseswith consonant and assonant cross-rhyme, which normally become six by repetition of the first and third. A cante that does not follow the compas, which in the world of flamenco is known as “cantes libres”. That is, performed at the will of the interpreter.
Among the predominant themes are those dedicated to love and mothers, so it is common to see them in an atmosphere of respect where silence reigns. Here are some examples:
At a mother’s grave
A flower never dries up,
Because it is watered by their children
With tears of pain.
Another example would be:
Like the swaying of the waves
rocking every beat
like the swaying of the waves
that is gradually approaching
and gently kisses you
you are the bride of the sea
In short, the malagueñas are a dance with its own characteristics.. And, although they resemble the verdiales, they are part of a more recent era. A variant of the fandango that you can not miss the opportunity to see live if you spend a few days in the city of Malaga.
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