The Zambra Mora

Dance has always been an important part of culture, and the changes in them tend to reflect the environments they are preformed in. The flamenco is no exception, and depending on the provenance of Spain you were in, affected the style of the dance. In Granada, they had a unique version called the Zambra. It was formed in a neighborhood known as the Sacromonte, located in the valley of Valparaíso, and made of caves that were carved into the hill side. It became the community for those the Catholics were trying to destroy. Specifically, the Gypsies and Muslims who had been treated so poorly after the conquering of Granada. Their cultures mixed and blended, affecting different aspects of each of their lives, including a Moroccan wedding dance we now know as the zambra. From the flamenco, it has floreos, heavy travel steps, and beautiful turns. From its Arab origins, it has shimmies and hip circles. This gives the dance a sensual feeling, and that, coupled with their desire to destroy the cultures of both factions of this community, forbade the dance. It was forbidden for centuries, but the gypsies (who were forced from their Nomadic life and stayed in the Sacrement after everyone else left) kept the dance alive, and if it was not for them, this dance and rich display of culture would be lost. After the dance was unbanned, it witnessed a flare in popularity before it began to fade. Today it is danced within Flamenco communities, and you can watch shows still in the Sacromonte, performed by the gypsies that still live there. If you ever find yourself in Granada, make sure to check them out.

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