Passionate bullfight and flamenco

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Saturday, August 9, 2014


WHEN in Spain, do what the Spanish do -- so we wanted to watch a bullfight in Sevilla. I had experienced watching one before in Madrid a long, long time ago and for me, it is the most thrilling passionate sport.

Bull fights have been frowned upon by animal lovers but if you kill the sport, it is like canceling the NBA in America or the Superbowl. During fiestas, the highlight is always a bullfight. Perhaps it is like having a cockfight derby here during our big fiestas as well.

We headed for the Plaza de Toros to check the schedule if there were any. There was one for that weekend but we had arranged bookings for another destination so we were content to take a tour of this late Baroque building built in 1761. The Plaza de Toros has been declared a Historical Art Monument.

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Our tour guide brought us to the stands of the ring and she pointed out the balcony occupied by the Royal family. This bullring in Sevilla is the oldest in the world and it is in this ring that the corrida (bullfight) was moved from horseback to foot. Many fights that have been the crowning glories in the lives of matadors have taken place here. Ole!!! It can seat 12,000 spectators.

After the bullring, we were brought to the Museo Taurina, which is located beneath the seating area of the stadium. Our guide walked us through the history and evolution of "Bullfighting in Spain." There were four modules all dedicated to the story of tauromancy, which means the sport of bullfighting. We were given a glimpse of the best matadors of all time, Juan Belmonte and Joselito "El Gallo," and ending in wardrobes and paraphernalia of the bullfighters.

There is a singular time in bullfighting history when both the bull and a bull fighter fought so bravely that both the bull and matador were declared winners. Bullfighting is such a passionate sport. The matadors with their tight costumes and movements express this passion! Bravo!

Then we were brought to the stables of the horses for the picadors. It was immaculately clean. Apres, we proceeded to the chapel where the matadors pray before a fight. As I have written before, Sevillanos are faithful devotees of the Gran Poder (which is the Nazareno) and the La Macarena (which is our Dolorosa) and there were prayers to them in the chapel.

The matadors are "demi-gods" and superstars to the Spaniards just like the sumo wrestlers are to Japan and of course the basketball players of the NBA as well as our local players like James Yap et al.

Moving on from the passionate bullfight, we went to see something equally passionate, which was a flamenco show at the Museo del Baile. As Andalucia is the origin of the flamenco, we learned more about the evolution of the dance from their museum. The museum was founded by the well known Flamenco dancer, Cristina Hoyos.

We think of flamenco only as a dance but a whole show consists of four elements: the cante-which is the singing; toque-the guitar playing; baile-the dance; and palmas- the handclaps.

Flamenco is considered genuine Spanish art. It is very intense and as they say, the musical outlet of the poor and the oppressed. The eye and facial expressions are passionate, the arms, the hands and upper body movements are concentrated and the feet stomp and kick with dexterity and adroit emotion.

We were blown away with the complete show. There is so much drama just looking at the expressions of the dancers. I salute the guitarist who practically played throughout the whole show! Que fabuloso!

We went home that evening totally satisfied and very well informed.

Perhaps, the many years of colonization under Spain must have filtered down the infatuation for these two passionate art forms in sport and in dance. It was a good day indeed!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 09, 2014.

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