Monday, September 2, 2013

The Spanish folk dance form 'Flamenco', is said to have originated in India.

It was the night of Sharad Poornima, the brightest full moon in all of north India. But when a young man
proudly tossed his mane of hair and took to the stage, a shadow fell across the moon. That intoxicating night, as the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur lay bathed in moonlight, someone shone brighter than the moon. It was flamenco dancer Farruco's night and everybody knew it. Even the moon.

Farruco has been dancing since he was four. He's 21 now, has toured the world, and has performed at most prestigious venues across the globe. Yet, the Mehrangarh performance was special. As Farruco danced to the guitar of celebrated guitarist Antonio Rey, the air was electric. Because that night was a homecoming after all.

Flamenco is believed to have originated in India, announced Spain's ambassador Ion de la Riva to tumultuous applause. And the Spanish government is planning to explore this by making Jodhpur the flamenco centre of India, The initiative will be in collaboration with the annual Rajasthan International Folk Festival (Riff) in Jodhpur, organised by the Jaipur Virasat Foundation.

"Jodhpur will be the flamenco capital of India. We are planning to set up a school in Jodhpur and put together collaborative productions, hopefully by next year itself if things work out," says de la Riva. "There will be an institutional agreement between the Institute of Gypsy Culture in Spain and Riff."

But why Jodhpur? "Because there can be no better venue than Mehrangarh Fort. We have been speaking to Maharaja Gaj Singhji, and he is very enthusiastic too. The entire initiative depends on Riff really," says de la Riva. "Ideally, we'd like to have the classes at Mehrangarh Fort, but let's see what they can organise. In fact, Farruco has already told me that he would like to come back and work with artistes here for a month every year. All the other artists also want to come back. So we could organise workshops with them and Rajasthani and other Indian artists. I personally would love to have sarangi player Ustad Kamal Sabri but it's up to Riff to pick Indian artists." {Read on}