Posted on 16 December, 2022

Italian and Spanish Cultural Activities

Italian and Spanish Cultural Activities

By teacher Ilaria Tomassi

This year, Darwin High School received an International Education Innovation Grant that gave students opportunities to experience cultural activities. Italian and Spanish students enjoyed several activities, including a flamenco workshop and cooking classes.


Flamenco is a form of song, dance, and instrumental (mostly guitar) music commonly associated with the Andalusian Roma (Gypsies) of southern Spain. The roots of flamenco lie in the Roma migration from Rajasthan (in northwest India) to Spain between the 9th and 14th centuries. These migrants brought with them musical instruments, such as tambourines, bells, and wooden castanets, and an extensive repertoire of songs and dances. In Spain they encountered the rich cultures of the Sephardic Jews and the Moors, and their centuries-long cultural intermingling produced the unique art form known as flamenco.

In Week 3 of Term 4, Stage 1 and Stage 2 Spanish students participated in a flamenco workshop, led by our talented flamenco instructor Natalia, who showed us the foundations of this beautiful and passionate dance.

I was delighted to bring my culture to students at Darwin High School and show what you can really achieve from dancing flamenco. Flamenco is all about individual expression; when you dance through your feelings and your own personality, then you create something special, spectacular, and authentically flamenco.

Flamenco is a very visual art; hence the dancers also speak with their hands. The movement of the arms, hands and fingers gives grace and gives magic to the dance. Flamenco dancers also create sounds and sing with their palms or with castanets to communicate when they are happy or when they want to transmit passion, elegance, or even pain, depending on the type of movement the performer performs with their band, which is often accompanied by a guitarist and singer.

During the workshop, students learnt about different smooth and elegant arm movements, as well as footwork (zapateado), a sometimes very intense movement, which is also fundamental in creating flamenco sounds and transmitting those raw emotions. These contrasting movements, in fact, become a true work of art when performed in harmony. 

At the end of the workshop, students performed a choreography with a traditional flamenco fan, which Natalia gifted the students as part of the experience. The workshop was a huge success!

I really enjoyed learning a new style of dance important to other people's culture. It was also very cool to learn more about how flamenco originated and why it began. Ava

Learning flamenco was a great and enjoying experience. I was looking forward to it all week. It was nice to learn from a professional flamenco dancer. David

Learning the Flamenco with Natalia made me feel very in touch with my Spanish culture. It was so fun and interesting to find out the history of the dance and it was a 10/10 experience. Amaia

We really enjoyed learning this beautiful dance from someone native to Spanish culture; and Natalia was an incredibly patient teacher. It was so kind of her to give each one of us a fan. And we loved learning from her. Thank you very much! Hayley and Pearl.

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