Lithuania also dances the Flamenco

  • 2009-11-04
  • By Francisco Javier Gregorio

SPANISH BEAUTY: The expressive emotions and movements of flamenco.

VILNIUS - Flamenco is one of the most famous Spanish dances and one of the national symbols of this Mediterranean country. However, flamenco is danced by thousands of people in every country of the world, from Spain to China, from Lithuania to Australia. Lithuania couldn't be the exception.    
This dance was born in southern Spain in the 18th century. Gypsies were the main social group who were developing it and since then, flamenco is much related with their culture. Moreover, there are different symbols which distinguish flamenco from other types of dances; the special dresses, the movements, the incredible sounds of the Spanish guitar… In fact, over time flamenco has inspired different novels, films… not only Spanish, a lot of artists from many countries found the inspiration for their works in flamenco.

Lithuania is a remote country from Spain, with other traditions and a different language, but flamenco has found in this Baltic country another place where flamenco feelings can be expressed. Hundreds of Lithuanians have discovered this dance, which has stolen their hearts. The oldest academy of flamenco in Lithuania is Flamenco Akademja, which is teaching almost 40 flamenco dancers in Vilnius and Kaunas. Beatrice Tomaseviciene is the director, apart from one of the best flamenco dancers in Lithuania. She started to dance flamenco in Moscow between 1992 and 1995, when she studied at the Russian Theatrical Art Academy and she became a teacher in 2002. "I dance flamenco because it is full of various emotions, which can be expressed in a simple way. It is easy for a person who has never been a dancer. The main thing is that you can express your feelings very easily, without any restrictions. For example, in Lithuanian dances there aren't any possibilities to show such strong emotions as anger, disappointment or sadness," she says.

Flamenco has some special features with respect to other dances, something which Tomaseviciene tries to explain. "If you look at the different cultures around the world, you will see that there are lots of beautiful and special dances. All of them have something original, unrepeatable. But flamenco is admirable for its stylistics and the methods which help to express these emotions, for example, Zapateo."

After seven years of teaching, Tomaseviciene has her own opinion about the relationship between flamenco and her own compatriots. "In my opinion Lithuanians like to dance flamenco, but the modesty and self-consciousness of the Lithuanian people don't let them start to dance. Those ones who start to dance always learn in a good way. People from Spain are more impulsive and they show their emotions more. Lithuanians are more reserved, they think longer, they show their emotions less. Maybe here people like this dance because it helps to dispose of these complexes," she adds.

However, like everything in this life, if somebody wants to learn flamenco they need to work and dance hard. "I used to apply various methods of teaching, which are used, for example, at the classical dances, but generally you have to create them yourself. I think my enthusiasm is one of the things which attracts people to dance flamenco. When people start to dance they keep loving flamenco for a long time. There are some dancers who are still dancing since the first day I started to teach flamenco," she explains.

Definitely flamenco is a good way to learn a different dance, to express the feelings and to know more about other cultures. Moreover, the winter is near and it's better to learn a new thing than, for instance, to stay at home and watch TV.
"Flamenco for me is a lifestyle, so there is some special thing this dance might have," Tomaseviciene concluded.