Cerca Articolo

Share |

Billy Elliot Flamenco-style

Gennaio 2010
È inglese, dell’Essex, ma in Spagna (dove vive) nessuno gli crede. Soprattutto dopo le sue esibizioni di flamenco, che gli hanno guadagnato già una fama internazionale nonostante la giovane età. Ecco a voi Jay Markwick!

di Derek Workman

File audio:

Jay Markwick
Jay Markwick


Speaker Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent)

In 2004 the magazine Total Film voted Billy Elliot the 39th best British movie of all time. It tells the story of a miner’s son who, against his father’s wishes, becomes a ballet dancer. In Spain today, there is an even more remarkable story: one of the country’s most promising young flamenco dancers is an English teenager called Jay Markwick, whose family moved to Spain when he was eight. Before that he had started dancing in his native county of Essex. His little sister went to dance classes while he played football, but he used to correct her steps when they got home. His mother told the teacher, who soon realised that she had a talented young dancer on her hands.
In Spain Jay Markwick has become a rising flamenco star, but, as he explains, the Spanish find it hard to believe that he is English:

Jay Markwick (Standard British/Essex accent):

Most of the Spanish don’t believe that I’m English because we never say I’m English until the end of the show, not always, anyway, but when we do, that they can never believe it. They always go up to me, saying, “Your parents must be Spanish, you must have been born in Spain, your grandparents must be Spanish, you’re Spanish from somewhere!” But no, I’m 100 per cent English, (my) parents are English, born in England, but they still don’t believe me!


And, like Billy Elliot, he finds that dancing takes him into another world:

Jay Markwick:

When I’m on stage, it’s not till the end that I kind of... a lot of time... realise there is actually people there. I get the adrenalin when I come on and the feeling of it when I come off. In dance I just kind of... dance inside, type of thing. It’s really hard to explain, that I just dance, with the passion things.


A Story of Constant Evolution...

Flamenco is considered a very Spanish art, but its origins go back to the Katakhali dancing of India. It was brought to Spain by the gypsies, who still see it as their own, but it was also influenced by Moorish and Jewish cultures, as well as by the historic musical culture of Andalucia. Whatever its origins, the gypsies have brought together the assorted musical genres, and tranformed them into the flamenco we know today, but it wasn’t until after 1700 that it became truly popular.


Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries flamenco flourished, achieving a peak of popularity between 1875 and 1900, when practically every Andalucian town had its singing café: the café cantante. During the years of the Franco dictatorship (1936-76), true flamenco was banned, as it was seen as subversive. Only the “cliché” version – with the big colourful dresses – was allowed. This led to its current image, which is very different from the original. This is, however, beginning to change, with the advent of flamenco joven, or “young flamenco,” a version that is more worldly and upbeat than traditional flamenco.


Flamenco dancing involves improvisation. It’s the dancer’s spontaneous expression of the moment’s emotions, called duende by the Spanish. The word actually means a goblin, but, to the flamenco dancer, it signifies an inner force that fuels an inspired performance. The rhythms of flamenco are so complicated that they require total concentration.


Aficionados say that, to appreciate authentic flamenco, you must hear it with a small group of friends, at midnight somewhere in the South of Spain, when there is nothing around but the voice, the guitar and the body of a dancer moving in the moonlight.

Torna all'inizio
submitting your vote...
Hai già votato per questo articolo



miner’s son - figlio di un minatore.

steps - passi.

on her hands - di fronte (lett. per le mani).

actually - realmente.

the gypsies, who still see it as their own - gli zingari, che lo ritengono ancora una loro tradizione.

flourished - prosperò.

achieving a peak of popularity - raggiungendo il culmine della popolarità.

more worldly an upbeat - più moderna e allegra.

a goblin - un folletto.

that fuels an inspired performance - che ispira un’esibizione appassionata.