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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bitterness over Santa Cruz Carnaval Gala

Rafael Amargo

Rafael Amargo (amargo, unfortunately, means bitter), the Spanish flamenco dancer who has been brought in to "reinvent" the Gala for the Selection of the Carnaval Queen in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, this year has attracted much criticism already from participants after it was revealed that he is to hold castings to choose only the best two or three from each group to perform for the public and international TV. Some even interpret it that "he does not want the fat ones, old ones or ones who can't dance."

The cat was let out of the bag when newspaper, El Día, published an interview with the dancer last Sunday, in which he says, among other things:
"In the gala there will be those who are at a level for a television spectacular .... Imagine the case if one should fall over, another is a bit overweight, one is shorter than the others, another starts to laugh ... Designers have worked to ensure that everything is at its finest and, behind the scenery, there are 500 members of groups laughing, dancing, smoking and having a party ... No Sireee!"
(Yes, imagine that: people enjoying themselves and, at carnaval too! :)

Last night comparsas (dance troupes) signed a letter, addressed to the town hall, refusing to participate in the gala. Meanwhile, on Monday, Amargo signed his contract with the town hall to direct the gala, which will cost close to one million euros to produce, something that has also raised a few hackles.

Many resent that "an outsider" - Amargo is Spanish, not Canarian - is meddling and say that, "The carnival is ours." Whilst Amargo himself says that Canarians are very quick to defend themselves, without really understanding or seeing why.

El Carnaval amargo de Rafael

Image: Renatozaf [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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