Since returning from my spring break trip to Italy, things have been relatively quiet here in Madrid. The semester is winding down a little bit, and people are mostly looking to enjoy their last few weeks in Spain. The finals period begins next Wednesday, so this is our last non-finals weekend here! A few things have happened since we returned though. Lafayette’s taken us to two events – first Flamenco dancing, and then bull fighting.
The flamenco show was an incredible evening. The club was a two-part evening – first they gave us all a dinner made up of wave after wave of tapas. That was delicious; snacking on 10 different dishes is an awesome way to eat dinner. Then, we went into the back room for the real flamenco show. I don’t know how Lafayette did it, but we were put straight into the front row!
The show was definitely a bit different than I expected. I imagined flamenco as a man playing the guitar while a woman danced. Instead, they had about 3 or 4 musicians, playing some guitar, flute, harmonica, and just banging on their seats. But the main sound was the wailing of the singer.
Their music was a mournful tune sung in a very old fashioned style. It sounded incredibly similar to traditional Arabic music, or the way the Torah sounds when sung in synagogue. Then there were two male and one female dancers, tapping their feet really quickly and loudly on stage. It wasn’t exactly entertaining in a modern way, but the whole show was very passionate. The expressions on their faces were extremely emotional. The intended mournfulness of the show was an interesting cultural experience, but I felt the best part of the show was when I caught some of the performers smiling at each other. It let me know they were having fun, and that just made the whole show much better!
Only a few weeks ago, Lafayette offered to bring us to a bull fight. I decided to go, but I won’t talk about it too much because it was pretty horrifying. I’ll just say that they had 6 bulls, and each one was killed in the exact same ritualistic way, again and again. I know that not everyone agreed with me that the experience was bad, but many of us felt this way. I sincerely regret supporting the bull fighting by purchasing a ticket, and I would not recommend the experience to anyone. Truthfully, it’s no different than being involved in dog fighting. For those who say it’s a cultural experience, I would say that it is not a positive aspect of Spanish culture, and should be abolished.
Last Wednesday night, the SLU Madrid – where we all study here – art department had a general performance. Lots of Lafayette students are in the Latin Dance and Tango classes. The performance was great, and it was so much fun to watch! Anyone who comes to Madrid should sign up for those classes if they can! After watching the show, I’m disappointed that I didn’t sign up for them myself. But the whole thing was great, and really fun to see our friends dancing like that.
That’s about all that’s been going on! All we Lafayette kids are doing great (as far as I know), and we mostly want to make the most of our last few days here, while getting excited to go home! – Isaac