THE FLAMENCO SHAWL
Have you ever observed that mantle that accompanies the grace and charm of flamenco dancing? This striking garment is known as Flamenco Shawl or Manila Shawl (capital of the former Spanish colony of the Philippines). Typical of Flamenco, Andalusian women, Madrid’s manola, and even casticism; This fundamental piece for the dance has its origins in China and traditionally they were made in silk with handmade embroidery, whose motifs were centered on different elements of Eastern culture.
It is a complement to the flamenco costume that is used mainly by the bailaoras, although the cantaoras sometimes also carry it. It was introduced in the Spanish costumes in the mid-16th century, however its popularity increased during the 18th century, where it was also used in multiple regions of Latin America. It was here when the shawl evolved in its design. The oriental theme was superimposed by birds, rosettes and flowers, which had a particular meaning; if his motive was lilies it meant purity, in the case of daisies it was related to impatience; the roses with secret, among many others. In addition, a very characteristic element, the fringes, was added.
It is amazing how a simple garment brings great showiness and grace to dancing, dancers and their movements. Achieving this grace and colorfulness requires its own complicated technique, developed only by those bailaoras who already have great command of flamenco dance; Without a doubt, moving the shawl to the beat and making it become a part of the body is something that requires great practice.
But, how did the shawl become something fundamental in flamenco? This piece was commonly used by the ladies of the time, both in the wealthy classes and in the popular strata. Names emerge as Pastora Imperio, La Macarrona and Matilde Coral, who by then were a symbol of flamenco, which promoted the use of this clothing in the Sevillian school.
If you are thinking of finding the most suitable shawl for you, here are a couple of basic tips to choose from. A very important detail when purchasing the shawl is that it must be large enough so that it can cover your two arms stretched across. About the design of your shawl, the market offers a wide variety of colors, styles and designs at the time of your purchase. Among the most common colors we have black, white, ivory and red, the choice will depend exclusively on your personal taste.
As for models and designs, we can find those of cicadas, with large roses and carnations embroidered in bright colors; we also have those of flowerpots, which mix bamboo with flowerpots full of flowers. And finally, we cannot put aside the black and ivory embroidery pattern; and the Elizabethan, who presents the embroidered corners and whose center remains empty or, in some occasions, presents small bouquets of striking flowers.