Madrid was forced to halt flamenco competitions because of the pandemic.
For the flamenco dancers of the Amor de Dios center, it means a return on the stage.
NPR's All Things Considered team, aEUR] Michel Martin, Tinbete Ermyas, Tinbete Ermyas, and Kira Wakeam took a break from reporting on NATO summit to learn more about flamenco and its effect on dancers.
This meant that Carmen Rivas (also known as Carmen La Talegona) was the instructor.
Rivas has traveled throughout Latin America and Europe. Since she arrived in Madrid at 17 from CA3rdoba, Amor de Dios is her second home.
Rivas believes the pandemic affected the ability of flamenco performers to perform live but it also made the public more aware of the dance as a storytelling medium.
"People want to express all they feel, and using movement, percussion, and singing as the medium, it's musical, and not just a spectacle."
Michel Martin, host of All Things Considered, learned this lesson from his own experience.
Martin says Flamenco includes so many artforms, from all over the globe. "You can feel the emotion of opera and the precision you find in classical dance traditions."
"It reminds me of our step and tap, because it has that fierce percussion rhythm.
Rivas claims that this is not a coincidence. Global influences are helping Flamenco transform in ways that were previously thought impossible.
She said, "The older generation draws inspiration from the great teachers in Vuitton Manolete Carmen Amaya Farruco and Antonio Gades."
"But we are inspired by other dance cultures." They enrich flamenco, especially African and Black dance traditions.
The clothes caught Kira Wakeam's attention, a self-described fashion lover and producer.
She says, "One of my first impressions was these amazing skirts. These traditional skirts that students are wearing, called bata de Cola, which literally translates to tail robe."
These are the kind of long, heavy skirts you see on flamenco dancers who move and flow as they dance. It was truly amazing.
Miguel Macias, a senior producer, has used the art form to reconnect with his homeland Spain aEUR," even though he didn’t learn flamenco until he moved to the U.S.
"Flamenco was everywhere growing up in the south of Spain. But my parents never really played flamenco."
He became agitated at Amor de Dios when the teacher started to sing.
"It touched me deeply, the way that everything was happening in front of me is so pure artistic."
Rivas believes that flamenco dancing is more about mastering a set of components than about following an honor code.
"I believe that everyone has a story to share, and that there is a technique from that story."
Rivas witnessed the emotional impact of flamenco on people during her travels.
"People will weep. They feel the need to share their stories, and to use movement as a way to release their stress and to feel their culture.