- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2006

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Five may be the lucky number for flamenco aficionados visiting Spain’s Andalusia region this year.

The region’s tourist board has drawn up five five-day Routes to Flamenco, all in the sunny region where the art form originated. The venues, which are offering free shows, concerts, demonstrations and lectures, are designed to help visitors learn more about flamenco. Two more flamenco routes are being planned.

Each route follows a basic format, but the order of the events as well as the towns and venues may vary depending on the dates. The free programs take place in locations such as cortijos, or country estates; penas, traditionally the private clubs for local aficionados; palaces; wineries and vineyards; and hotels.

The five five-day Routes to Flamenco and the dates available are:

• Route of the Bajan (guitar). From Moron de la Frontera to Algeciras, stopping in Jerez, Sanlucar de Barrameda, San Fernando, Rota and Arcos de la Frontera; June 12 through 16 and Oct. 16 through 20.

• Route of the Creation. From Almunecar to Rincon de la Victoria, passing through Lanjaron, Granada, Guadix, Fuente Vaqueros and Nerja; Oct. 3 through 7 and Nov. 6 through 10.

• Route of Cayetano: the Abandolaos Singing. From Puente Genil to Cordoba, through Lucena, Cabra, Montilla and Aguilar de la Frontera; May 2 through 6 and Sept. 25 through 29.

• Route of the Basic Singing. From Seville to Cadiz, visiting Utrera, Lebrija, Rota, Los Palacios, Villanueva del Ariscal, Arcos de la Frontera and Jerez de la Frontera; April 17 through 21 and Dec. 11 through 15.

• Route of the Great Figures. From Seville to Malaga, visiting Carmona, Arahal, Marchena, Puebla de Cazalla, Osuna, Antequera, Archidona and Alcala de Guadaira; May 15 through 19 and Sept. 11 through 15.

For more information on the Routes to Flamenco, visit www.andalucia.org/flamenco.

The daily program is devoted to:

• Discussion of the history of flamenco with demonstrations by a flamenco singer (cantaor) and a flamenco guitar player (tocaor).

• Interactive flamenco class demonstrating basic styles and flamenco’s key characteristics: compas (beating), toque (guitar playing), cante (singing), baile (dancing). Participants learn the art of clapping hands for the compas.

• Talk about flamenco singing and performance by a leading artist.

• Guitar concert and lecture about guitar playing.

• Dance show and discussion about dancing.

Participants in the programs include Eduardo Rebollar, Alicia Gil, Alberto Garcia Reyes, Jose Valencia, Daniel Mendez and Manuela Vargas. The talks are in Spanish, but there are simultaneous audiovisual presentations and texts in English as well as an English-speaking host from Turismo Andaluz.

Travelers can explore the villages and towns along the route, stopping at historic and cultural attractions, at the guitar maker’s place or the flamenco dress shop. Directions, estimated travel times, even global positioning system tracking are included as well as the best place to stop for lunch and a glass of the region’s renowned jerez, or sherry. Travelers can make reservations for the free flamenco events on the Web site.

Tour operators offering packages to Andalusia — and helping arrange trips to the region — include:

Central Holidays www.centralholidays.com or 866/521-4180.

Spanish Heritage Tours, www.shtours.com or 800/456-5050.

Sun Holidays, www.sunholidaytours.com or 800/422-8000.

More information about Andalusia also is available from the Tourist Office of Spain, 212/265-8822 or www.spain.info — or visit www.andalucia.org.


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