Olha Sharapa heads the Ukrainian-Spanish center “School of Flamenco.” This summer she was the first Ukrainian flamenco dancer to go on tour to Barcelona. Olha looks like a modern Carmen. She told The Day about the wonderful and mysterious style of flamenco.
“The history of traditional dance of flamenco in the way we see it today counts for nearly 400 years, or even more. This choreography has stood the test of time,” Olha SHARAPA underlines, “We should not forget that ancient Gypsies reached the south of Spain on their way from India. Therefore today classic flamenco has elements typical of Ancient Indian dances – inclined torso, exquisite moves of hips and fingers, etc. India and Spain are not the only countries that may be considered the birthplace of flamenco. Many things have been borrowed from Arab countries, in particular, Morocco. The Moors’ reign in the south of Spain ended in 1476, when the last caliphate ceased to exist on the territory of modern Granada. That land – modern Andalucia with the capital in Seville – is still regarded the place of origin of the dance of flamenco.”
How come you became passionate about this genre?
“This is a simple question. Who hasn’t seen Carlos Saura’s films Carmen and Flamenco? Apart of them, the director’s works include at least half a dozen of movies after seeing which you will never forget flamenco. It is not simply a dance, but very rich traditions of singing, guitar music, poetry, clothes, and life style. This is Universe! Guitarist Paco de Lucia or dancer Antonio Gades are single tips of the iceberg called flamenco. Unfortunately, only separate names of artistes who made flamenco famous over the world reach us. But the magic of this genre is conquering all the broader space.”
Where did you learn the dance of flamenco?
“I learned to dance flamenco in many schools of Seville and Granada, as well as in Kyiv – specifically my teacher was Svitlana Lipinska from the ensemble Duende and several Spanish choreographers. Besides, I have visited many times the master classes of experienced teachers in Russia and Ukraine. I have been teaching in Kyiv for nine years. Several groups are always functioning in my school – from beginners to intermediate and advanced levels. We have performed many times at concerts and now I feel that my work was not vain. Now I get invitations to give lessons in many cities of Ukraine.”
Who can learn to dance flamenco? Are there any restrictions?
“Let’s not forget that flamenco is a folk dance. For example, every third resident of Andalucia can dance flamenco. Therefore you should not think that everyone willing to dance flamenco must perform on stage to earn money. Anyone, no matter the gender and age, can take up flamenco. The same policy is pursued in all schools in Spain and Latin America, and our school as well. The studying process is everywhere organized in the same way: groups of three-four levels of mastery are working simultaneously, from the beginners (basic level) to those who have been dancing flamenco for two years or more. Choreographic education is not a must for a beginner, because if you get captivated with the whirl of Spanish passions, you can enter any nearest school of flamenco.”