Leaving a restaurant in the city center of Málaga, Spain, flamenco artist Jaime El Estampio spotted a street musician unnoticed by the group of Notre Dame students and faculty—and he spontaneously began to dance.
Ellen Lavelle, a junior on the trip, says that as soon as El Estampio started clapping, a crowd of tourists and locals encircled the Notre Dame visitors and their local artist guide.
“Jaime’s energy was magnetic and his smile infectious,” Lavelle says. “Flamenco isn’t an exclusive dance; it welcomes everyone. It was born on the streets of Andalucía and although it has become very popular to perform on stage, there are deep roots connected to the dance that keep it a dance for all people.”
Flamenco invites participation and connection: between the dancer and the musician, and between the performers and their audience. Through hand-clapping, foot-stomping, and call-and-response, flamenco draws its participants into a shared experience, creating a community in which everyone is seen and heard. Over the last two years, flamenco has created connections between Spain and Notre Dame and between Notre Dame and South Bend, helping to build a community from neighbors.