Antonio Vázquez: “a flamenco dancer has to have his own style”
Antonio Vázquez is a flamenco dancer. Since 2018, he is part of the cast of artists of El Palacio Andaluz. It started in this world by chance. Blessed chance. At the age of 6, his aunt took him, along with his brother, to the academy where he learned to play castanets. He did not want to go, but in the end he got hooked on flamenco and has not been able to leave it.
In Morón de la Frontera (Seville), his hometown, he started his idyll with this art. He continued his training at the Professional Dance Conservatory of Seville and the Superior Dance Conservatory of Málaga, as well as holding different courses with professional flamenco and dance artists.
With 15 years, he traveled the world as a professional dancer. He has toured different tablaos in Málaga, Madrid and Seville. He has also participated with several companies on international tours in Germany, France, England, China and Morocco. He won the first prize of the Andalusian Young Flamenco Competition, organized by the Provincial Federation of Seville of Flamenco Entities, and was semifinalist of the prestigious International Festival “Cante de Minas” in La Unión (Murcia).
He has combined his training as a flamenco dancer with studies in Pedagogy and Nursing. But “his life is flamenco”. They say he is an elegant dancer. Defend that each artist must create their own style and that a good professional has to master all the elements of the dance. In it he works daily.
He has shared the stage with one of his references, Antonio ‘El Pipa’. Dream fulfilled. Admire Antonio ‘El Bailarín’, Farruquito or Manuela Carrasco. He has not yet given up the possibility of being part of the National Ballet of Spain or the Ballet Flamenco de Andaluz. You have plenty left over.
In this interview, this flamenco dancer reveals to us what his career has been and what aspirations he has in the world of flamenco.
Experienced flamenco dancer
Question (Q): Antonio, tell us, how did you start in flamenco?
Answer (A): I started at age 6 in my town, Morón de la Fontera (Seville). My aunt went to an academy to learn to play castanets and she took my brother and me.
The truth is that I did not want to go, but she took us every afternoon. We started dancing and little by little I liked it. In the end, my brother abandoned flamenco for soccer and I … well, to this day (laughs).
(Q): How was your training as a dancer?
(A): I started at the academy in my hometown, because my parents wanted me to focus on my studies and it was a little complicated to move to Seville to attend flamenco classes.
When I finished the high school, I began to study the nursing career in Seville and combined the university with my training in Flamenco at the Professional Dance Conservatory of Seville, where I graduated in four years.
So, I decided to continue my dance studies at the Superior Conservatory of Malaga, where I studied choreography. When I finished I decided to come to Seville to finish the Nursing career, although for me dancing is the most important thing and I put it before everything.
(Q): Outside the conservatories, have you done anything else?
(A): Yes, during all this time I have also taken courses and I have studied with artists from the field of dance and flamenco. However, I think that all this training has helped me to create my own style.
I have had the opportunity to learn from great professionals, both classical dance, Spanish and flamenco. I’ve been taking ‘one and the other’ to create myself, to have my personal stamp.
(Q): And, professionally, what have you done?
(A): I have stepped on several ‘tablaos’ from Málaga and Madrid, as well as working at El Palacio Andaluz before leaving for Málaga. I have also participated in international tours with different companies that have allowed me to dance in France, Germany, England, Morocco and China.
“A flamenco dancer has to have his own style”
(Q): How do you define yourself as a flamenco dancer? What characteristics does Antonio Vázquez have?
(A): They say of me that I am elegant in the tablao. I think ‘that pose of elegance’ is the result of my work in Spanish dance.
(Q): What characteristics do you have as a dancer?
(A): If we talk about technical characteristics, during my training I have worked the gyrations, the zapateado … Although I think that a dancer has to be complete, I mean, that the important thing is to master a bit everything: the feet , the turns, the movement of arms ….
For me, the important thing is not, for example, to have only feet speed, but on the whole to do everything well. Transmit with a gesture of the face, with a good movement of arms … Fit all the pieces so that the puzzle is complete.
(Q): What are the references of Antonio Vázquez? Who do you notice?
(A): I really like Farruquito, Manuela Carrasco or artists like Israel Galván. However, I think that a dancer has to have his own style. You have to see who you admire, but do not copy or plagiarize them, but learn and choose what you like most about them and adapt it to your style.
(Q): Any more classical artist you admire?
(A): Antonio, ‘El Bailarín’, is an artist who has marked me a lot.
(Q): With whom would you like to share the stage?
(A): I have shared the stage with Antonio ‘El Pipa’, I always wanted to do it and that dream I have fulfilled. In addition, he transmitted to me something that I always have in mind when I dance. Now, honestly, I do not set myself the goal of getting on stage with this or that artist. Because for me it is a job and whenever you dance with another person it offers you something that you can enrich yourself with.
“Dancing at El Palacio Andaluz allows me to continue evolving”
(Q): Let’s talk now about your link with El Palacio Andaluz, since when do you work here? And what is your role in the daily flamenco show?
(A): As I said, in the first stage I was in Seville, I worked here for a while. And now, I’ve been part of the cast of artists from this tablao for more than a year.
(Q): What is your participation in the flamenco show that takes place here every day?
(A): Each day and each pass, we interpret different styles. That allows you not to fall into monotony. The best way to learn is to practice and dance at El Palacio Andaluz allows me to continue evolving as a flamenco dancer.
(Q): Is there a flamenco style that you like more or with which you feel more at ease?
(A): I like alegrías a lot. And if we talk about styles, let’s say more solemn, the seguiriyas or tarantos.
(Q): It happens to you, as to other artists, that the mood can influence when dancing a styles or another.
(A): Of course, that influences. There are days that you want to dance something more serious and others that have the courage through the clouds and what you want is something more festive. Your day to day also marks you when you go on stage and you have to interpret a stick or another.
(Q): Why does Antonio Vázquez recommend seeing the flamenco show at El Palacio Andaluz?
(A): Because it is a show that has a great cast, both in number and in artistic quality. We are many professionals and each one has its own style. The show is very good and also includes a tour of the most traditional flamenco and pieces of classic Spanish. It is a very complete performance.
(Q): With what intention do you get on the tablao every day?
(A): With a lot of respect. I think that an artist, first of all, has to have respect to the stage. And I always try to offer the most of myself when I act so that the spectator leaves happy, whether he understands or not flamenco.
(Q): Let’s talk about the future, what professional aspirations do you have?
(A): I have a thorn in my side. I would love to dance in the National Ballet of Spain or the Ballet Flamenco de Andaluz. I have already done several auditions, but I have not had any luck yet. I do not give up and I’ll keep trying. Also, why not, I would like to get some prestigious prize in the field of flamenco and keep living on this.
(Q): But prizes, do you have any, right?
(A): Yes, in 2013 I won the Andalusian Young Flamenco Competition, organized by the Provincial Federation of Seville of Flamenco Entities, and I was semifinalist of the prestigious International Festival of “Cante de las Minas” de La Unión (Murcia).
(Q): Finally, what is flamenco for Antonio Vázquez?
(A): It is a way of life, which I already have more than assimilated. I live for and for flamenco and dance.
Antonio Vázquez, an elegant flamenco dancer with his own style. Let no one tell you how he dances. You have to see it in the tablao. If you visit Seville, enjoy his art at El Palacio Andaluz.