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In Seville, illuminating an ancient art form

(DAVID LYON FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE)
November 9, 2008
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SEVILLE, Spain - The year 2006 was a noteworthy one for flamenco.

The government of Andalucía, Spain's southernmost region, declared the art form an essential part of Andalucían cultural identity, and the Museo del Baile Flamenco (Flamenco Dance Museum) opened in Seville.

It seems only appropriate that the museum was founded by Cristina Hoyos, one of the most famous dancers of the late 20th century. She performed in Antonio Gades's groundbreaking films, "Bodas de Sangre," "Carmen," and "El Amor Brujo," and now directs the Flamenco Ballet de Andalucía.

It's truly a museum conceived by an artist, with an emphasis on movement and on music, most of it composed for the Museo. Of course, some exhibits delve into the many cultures that influenced the evolution of flamenco. But the video clips explicating the seven most representative styles of flamenco are the most interesting and engaging, serving as a primer to the art for the uninitiated.

They highlight, for example, differences between the contemplative soleá and the expressive bulería. And the video of Hoyos's company performing "El Duende," a piece that she choreographed, brings to life the almost inexplicable Spanish term that means a song from the blood, a melancholy born of the abyss, a spirit that both embraces and defies despair.

Museo del Baile Flamenco, Manuel Rojas Marcos 3, Seville, Spain, 011-34-954-340-311, www.museofla menco.com. Daily 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Adults $14.50, students $11.60, under age 12 $8.70. Inquire about Friday and Saturday night performances, usually $36.

PATRICIA HARRIS

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