While it seems to be accepted that flamenco singing came before flamenco dancing, the debate is over which of its forms is the most complete and which has popularised the Andalusian art the most. And our three protagonists in this article are key to its history and evolution.

Flamenco dance, with all its interpretative variety, has traditionally been passed down through the family and through the great masters, geniuses who have contributed their peculiar form of expression and feeling. flamenco dance flamenco dance always been approached by other artists of classical and contemporary dance in search of inspiration, depth and truth.

This selection of great masters, living legends of flamenco dance, is a sample of this cultural and artistic heritage. Exemplary artists who contain in their mind, their body and their heart the secret of the duende, and its mystery.

The ability to transmit, the originality and contribution of personal forms of interpretation, the dedication of a long life to this passion for dance has made them what they are: MASTERS.

Matilde Coral, a living legend of flamenco dance

Matilde Coral is one of the leading figures in flamenco. Born in Triana, Seville, in 1935, represents the elegance of Triana on a stage. As a teacher, she has left her mark on the outstanding performers of today who were taught by her in Seville. This is the case of Merche Esmeralda and Manuela Carrasco, among others.

She is the director and choreographer of the Ballet Escuela de Baile Andaluz, performer and choreographer of the film Sevillanas, by Saura; creator of the show 100 años de cante flamenco (1994), Medalla de Andalucía, Medalla de Oro al Mérito a las Bellas Artes and Member of Honour of the University of Alcalá de Henares.

Flamenco Dance Matilde Coral

Her importance and contribution to flamenco are brilliantly defined in the book “Tratado de la bata de cola: Matilde Coral, una vida de arte y magisterio”, by Ángel Álvarez Caballero. In it he shows the Matilde’s essential legacy to flamenco dance, for example, with regard to the shawl, which in the words of the bailaora reflects a whole philosophy: “The shawl is fundamental because you have to forget that you have arms; it is very difficult, but you learn”. As for the bata de cola, she says: “The bata de cola is the ultimate, if you can dance well in a bata de cola, then you can wear a dress and do whatever you want with it”.

His school, in the Triana neighborhood, continues to train dozens of dancers who come from all over the world to perpetuate the elegance of Triana, the essence of tradition.

Wonderful documentary in ALL FLAMENCO with Matilde Coral. Don’t miss Caressing the air.

His school, in the Triana neighborhood, continues to train dozens of dancers who come from all over the world to perpetuate the elegance of Triana, the essence of tradition.

José de la Vega, the School of Barcelona

“I was born in the very flamenco town of Utrera (Seville), on 6 December 1931. My cradle rocked to the rhythm of the Soleares and Bulerías of the Perrate family. My first “desplante” came when I jumped of the cradle, defying and standing up to oppression and backyard murmurings for “jumping on the boards”.

José de la Vega is not only a master of the zapateado, but also surprises with its stage presence. He has a very original sense of choreography. His brilliant career, which began in 1953, found its appropriate development in the company of Pi He established his residence in Barcelona, which is why he is recognised as one of the great exponents of flamenco dance in Catalonia.

José de la Vega recounts his experiences in a biography entitled “El flamenco que viví” (2009), where he defines the art that has given meaning to his life: “Dance is the best tribute that can be paid to the human body. Possibly dance sprouted without waiting for the music to manifest itself”.

In the book, José de la Vega recounts his three stages in flamenco: first, as a dancer, when he was a member of the best companies of the time; then, when he created his own dance company; and finally, as a teacher and director of the dance school that he himself founded in Barcelona, one of the main dance schools.

José de la Vega

José de la Vega is a true legend, whose life experiences have been nourished by the great names of flamenco: Pilar López, Vicente Escudero or Carmen Amaya. And not only for his virtuoso and highly personal technique, but also for the sincerity and feeling of his artistic expression.

Blanca del Rey, innovating with elegance

Blanca Ávila Molina, Blanca del Rey (1946), the great lady of flamenco dance, defines her career and restlessness with this phrase: “Questioning is my guide. It leads me to search and to find”.

He made his professional debut at the age of twelve in the Cordoban tablao El Zoco. At the age of 14 she arrived in Madrid, and stayed at the Corral de la Morería, where she met her husband Manuel del Rey. His artistic career was suspended, and he devoted himself to his family and to studying Art History.

This stop, which leads her to the study of art, evolves towards a form of a very personal dance, the creation of which is still alive today. He presents his choreographies where he combines jondo and flamenco purity with a peculiar classicism and innovation. Thus, he created one of the most original dances of singular beauty in the history of flamenco dance: the soleá del mantón (shawl soleá). A creation donated by the Ballet Nacional de España to be part of our dance heritage.

She has been awarded the most important prizes in the world of dance and flamenco and has been the representative of Spanish dance before the European Community. He has also worked on projects for UNESCO, international ballets, Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts, St. Thomas Aquinas Award from the University of Cordoba, and a long etcetera.

In a interview with Blanca del Rey for Zoco Flamenco perfectly defines her essence as an artist and as a teacher: “My dance comes from the deepest part of me. It has always been like that, I am a wild flower. My mind is not configured, it is anarchic and free”, a vital account that helps to understand the genius of the artist and how her legacy will remain in time.

Blanca del Rey.