A student inside my Online Flamenco Studio has asked this question: “What is aire? Do great dancers act out the meaning of the cante lyrics & allow the vibrations from their movements ripple through the body?”
Technically aire just means “air” in Spanish. In flamenco, aire means means the attitude and energy in the dance.
Each palo (rythm) has it’s own aire so it is not necessarily that the dancer is listening to the music’s lyrics and expressing it. Because to be honest, some lyrics are rather mundane! For example, there are heavy lyrics like “I’m being persecuted”, “My lover left me”, but there are also some that talks about random things like “I’m doing my laundry” and “I like to go out drinking”.
There are so many different kinds of lyrics that are used in different palos. You might even hear heavy lyrics used in palos that are really happy. One thing to remember is the lyrics DO NOT equal the energy of the palo.
You just want to think about the general overall energy of the palo itself.
- Alegrias – happy, light, fun
- Solea – profound, heavy
- Tangos – fun and funky
- Bulerias – fun and funky
- Guajiras – languid, feminine
- Tarantos – profound, heavy
- Tientos – feminine, grounded, sultry
- Solea por Bulerias – aggressive
- Farruca – strong line, masculine
It is always best to know first the aire or the energy of the palo that you are dancing.
Now, aire is also going to be dependent upon the dancer. Here’s an example of 2 of my favorite completely different dancers dancing Alegrias.
In this video even though Alegrias is generally a “happy” palo, Karime Amaya gives off an intense vibe 🔥
Meanwhile, La Truco’s version of Alegrias is light and fun 💃🏻
So remember, aire is the energy of a particular palo and of the dancer. The aire of the palo will dictate the energy of the dancer and how she expresses herself during the dance, not the lyrics. 😉