Fridays at Noon: Sonidos Negros — On the Blackness of Flamenco with author K. Meira Goldberg, “La Meira” - 92Y, New York

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Fridays at Noon

Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco with author K. Meira Goldberg, “La Meira

K. Meira Goldberg, Raquel Heredia and Kiko Mora
Negro Meri in Danse Espagnole de la Feria

K. Meira Goldberg, “La Meira”, author of Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco, reclaims the rich history of flamenco dance by discussing the relationships between flamenco, the politics of Blackness and the construction of race in the Atlantic world.

Flamenco dancer, Raquel Heredia, “La Repompilla”, in a rare NYC performance, expresses the deep soulfulness of her Romani ancestry, thus illustrating the central tenants of Goldberg’s recently published book. The Roma were impelled by discrimination to develop, over a long history, the distinctive rhythmic acuity unmistakable in the flamenco world.

A short film, Danse Espagnole de la Feria, shot by Lumière (Louis and Auguste Lumière were innovative cinematographic pioneers) at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900, features the first male flamenco dancer ever recorded, a black man of Cuban descent, Jacinto Padilla, “El Negro Meri.” Scholar Kiko Mora, who identified this dancer, joins Goldberg in a roundtable discussion.

…“Sonidos Negros is a majestic work — readable, revelatory, and bringing to bear all Goldberg’s previous work in research and practice to reach this tome of truth. She speaks in a voice both personal and professional, inviting us in to share the insights of a life lived in Flamenco, insights that may well shake up the ways in which scholars and lay readers, alike, perceive what it means to look at what we think we know, or realize we don’t know, with new eyes.” — From the Foreword by Brenda Dixon Gottschild, award-winning author

$15 in advance / $25, 2-hours prior to performance

Program is subject to change.

ABSTRACT: Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco by author K. Meira Goldberg

How is the politics of Blackness figured in the flamenco dancing body? What does flamenco dance tell us about the construction of race in the Atlantic world? Sonidos Negros traces how, in the span between 1492—the year in which Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula coincided with Christopher Columbus’s landing on Hispaniola—and 1933—when Andalusian poet Federico García Lorca published his “Theory and Play of the Duende”—the Moor became Black, and how the imagined Gitano (“Gypsy,” or Roma) embodies the warring images and sounds of this process. By the nineteenth-century nadir of its colonial reach, Spanish identity came to be enacted in terms of a minstrelized Gitano, a hybrid of American and Spanish representations of Blackness.

The imagined Gypsy about which flamenco imagery turns dances on a knife’s edge delineating Black and White worlds. Teetering between ostentatious and damning confusion and the humility of epiphany, this figure relates to an earlier Spanish trope: the pastor bobo (foolish shepherd), who, seeing an angelic apparition, must decide whether to accept the light of Christ—or remain in darkness. Spain’s symbolic linkage of this religious peril with the Blackness of enslavement constitutes the evangelical narrative which vanquished the Moors and enslaved the Americas, an ideological framework that would be deployed by all the colonial slaving powers. The bobo’s precarious state of confusion, appealingly comic but also holding the pathos of the ultimate stakes of his decision—heaven or hell, safety or extermination—opens up a teeming view of the embodied politics of colonial exploitation and creole identity formation. Flamenco’s Sonidos Negros live in this eternal moment of bulla, the confusion and ruckus that protect embodied resistance to subjugation, the lament for what has been lost, and the values and aspirations of those rendered imperceptible by enslavement and colonization.

K. Meira Goldberg

K. Meira Goldberg, “La Meira”, is a flamenco performer, teacher, choreographer and scholar …

Raquel Heredia

Raquel Heredia, “La Repompilla”, was born March 19, 1979 in el Barrio de la Trinidad, Málaga, Spain, to an illustrious line of Roma flamenco artists …

Kiko Mora

Kiko Mora (PhD, The Ohio State University) is professor of Semiotics of advertising and culture industries in the Department of Communication …

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