The Spanish dance is a good example of an ethnological theatre dance fashioned by traditional style which has still retained all the earmarks of its folkloristic base. Since it has come of age as an exciting theatre art, it has enjoyed tremendous popularity all over the world. It could be said that after the First World War, the South American dancer La Argentina conquered the theatre for the Spanish dance, and it was said by the great Russian-born French critic Andre Levinson: “She alone has revived and developed an art form too long debased by the gypsies of the music hall.” But we could also say that it antedates all theatre dances in Europe since we know of Spanish dancing during the Golden Age of Hellenic supremacy in the fifth century before Christ, and at the time when the Romans had established their empire, “las Andaluces delicias” ― those dancing girls from Cadiz ― were already touring the then-known world. With the invasion of the southern parts of Spain by the Moors, the province Andalusia became the nerve center of the Spanish dance. Music and dance were part of the social entertainment in the caliph’s palace. When Spain became reunited and culturally important again under Ferdinand and Isabella, the dancer entered the theatre with the help of the drama. Even the Church, particularly in Sevilla and Toledo, opened its door to the dance and ― this is mentioned as an ironic twist of history ― Jewish dancing masters were quite active before the Inquisition. Curt Sachs, in his World History of the Dance, tells us that as early as 1313, Rabbi Hacenben Salomo taught the Christians to perform a choral dance around the altar of St. Bartholomew in Zaragoza.
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