Yumi La Blanca
PUENTE de SEVILLANAS 2020
Updated: Aug 25, 2020
Sevillanas - our culture
Sevillanas is a way of socialising for flamenco lovers. As a type of dance done in pairs, it’s not just one of the first dances a beginner of flamenco learns. It’s our common language in Spanish and flamenco communities.
In Spring, our season of Feria, we’d immerse ourselves in endless Sevillanas, in our best costumes, surrounded by Spanish-themed ornaments. We’d be dancing together, or watching other people dancing together, or singing, or playing the music, while consuming delicious tapas and sangria…
This year, however, many Feria events and live flamenco shows met inevitable cancellations due to the pandemic. This dispiriting situation was the same everywhere, including Spain, the UK, and Japan.
The Feria from Tokyo to online
Japan is known for having massive followers of flamenco. Their official association, La Asociación Nipona de Flamenco, aka ANIF, established in 1990, celebrates their remarkable 30th year this year. To make it even more memorable, they had planned to organise a huge Feria in Tokyo, showcasing Sevillanas by 2,020 dancers in the year of 2020.
Though this exciting plan ended up in downhearted cancellation, their passion conquers disappointment. They came up with an alternative, uplifting idea: a baton relay of Sevillanas through online - PUENTE de SEVILLANAS 2020.
The Bridge to connect
This ‘bridge’ of Sevillanas represents as a relay of SNS video posts: you perform only one verse of Sevillanas sung in Japanese, then nominate who would be the next. Starting on 29th April 2020, the date when the original event was supposed to take place, ANIF marked it not as a date of cancellation but as a date of beginning.
Since then, the number of participants continues to grow. While the physical place has transferred from Tokyo to cyber space, the concept remains the same: connecting with each other, looking at a bright future, through enjoyment of Sevillanas.
While the majority of the contributors are based in Japan, the movement has travelled overseas, reaching Spain, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia… hence the nationalities have become borderless too. Even internationally famous flamenco stars are found: José Galván, Esperanza Fernández, Curro Fernández, Concha Jareño...
Sevillanas – our hope
On 6th June, I unexpectedly received a message from my dance teacher in Japan, Eiko Takahashi, giving me a ‘baton’ to take part in this project. The fact that she thought of me made me feel very appreciative - I was just one of her elementary-level students such a long time ago for one year only…
Thinking of someone is indeed the main thing of this project: we care about each other through flamenco and Sevillanas. We are distant, but still connected.
This project is ongoing. By the time ANIF can finally re-organise the real Feria, it’ll easily have hosted over 2,020 participants worldwide. Sevillanas isn’t just a partnering dance from Spain. It has a potential to spread our hope for arts and humanities overseas.
‘PUENTE de SEVILLANAS 2020’ video by Eiko Takahashi, my teacher
About ANIF (in Spanish)
About PUENTE de SEVILLANAS 2020 (in Japanese)