Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Bata de Cola

A-Z Challenge for the month of April. I'll post every day except Sunday, using a letter of the alphabet each day. Today is B. My theme is Flamenco.

B is for Bata de Cola, a Spanish dress with a long train

Maneurering a bata de cola requires strong legs and excellent balance. We used to practice dragging a sheet behind us, saving the delicate ruffles for the real performance.

I was introduced to Flamenco by the Gypsies on the beach in Algeciras, Spain. After studying Flamenco for three years in Morocco and Spain, I returned to the US to learn Classical Spanish dance with a Spanish teacher. I've continued to make Flamenco a life-time study as a passionate hobby. Although I've always belonged to a local performing arts troupe, you won't find me in Flamenco's "Who's Who" as I've also spent my time as wife, mother and now grandmother. Once Flamenco enters your soul, it never leaves.


  1. THAT is a LOT of dress. Gorgeous. I have such admiration for those who can dance.

  2. Wow. Another amazing post!! I love that I'm learning such fantastic stuff from you!! Who knew that this dress had such a gorgeous scrummy name?!?! Bata de Cola!!! Wonderful!

    Take care

  3. Flamenco is a beautiful dance, most certainly but if you put me in that dress... let's just say it would not be pretty :)
    Great post.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  4. Wow, castanets and everything? I remember watching Flamenco on like the Ed Sullivan Show. I should remember the name of the famous male dancer, but his name escapes me! I never was able to play the castanets, but my sister could.

  5. I would fall in a rumpled heap and ruin that gorgeous creation. Great post.

  6. Dancing in that dress take extra talent. My feet are way too slow to even try it.

  7. Both the dance and the music are hypnotic! Love it! And that dress is simply gorgeous. If I were to dance in it, I probably would trip and fall by stepping on the train.

  8. Mybabyjohn,
    Thanks. It is a lot of dress. Often it feels like the dress is dancing you. :)

    Old Kitty,,
    Long ago, before synthetic fabric, those ruffles had to be ironed. Oh my!!!!!

    Hi there and thanks for stopping.

    Flamenco is a life time study. It can't be learned in a 6-week course at the Y. You have to really love it to stay with it. Thanks for stopping.

    Castanets look hard, but in truth, all it takes is a little dexterity and practice. It's probably Jose Greco you saw.

    L.A Colvin,
    It's true that females fall with the bata de cola. Not in performance.... hopefully they've learned by that time, but it's easy to fall when learning. :)

    Susan Gourley,
    It's a lot easier to dance in jeans or a short skirt than that dress.

    When I was learning (so many years ago)we were always tripping and falling in practice. The Spanish teacher's mother sewed 6 of those dresses for our class. Think of the hours at the sewing machine. They used to sew fish line into the edge of the ruffle to make it stand out. What a lot of work.

    Thank you everyone for your interesting comments.

  9. I've been to a Dance Show featuring Flamenco and was just amazed by the movements and dress. It was so full of energy and mystery. I wish I could have seen you dance.

  10. I saw Gypsies performing Flamenco while in Spain. Such a beautiful dance!
    It's so nice to meet you!

  11. Okay, so interesting post, but what I want to know is how a person who studies Flamenco in Spain ends up in Bozeman, Montana... I grew up in Moscow, Idaho and I KNOW high culture and diverse interests are not the norm for the area, even with a University there. Are you able to teach or perform formally or... how do you keep using it!? (I find it very cool that you do)

  12. Bata de cola. You gotta be really strong and have a lot of momentum to control that train and whip it around when and where you want it too. What satisfaction that must be.

  13. Now I never would have thought of that! My B post is "Basement Phobia." Please check it out, and I am now following you.

  14. Kay,
    Glad you've seen Flamenco. So many people haven't and have little idea what I'm talking about.

    So happy for you to have been in Spain. It's so broadening to travel when you're young.

    Hart Johnson,
    Oh, I've been in Moscow, Idaho. A pretty little town. To answer your question.... I didn't go to Spain/Morocco specifically to learn Flamenco. It was during the Korean War, my husband was working with the military and I just stumbled upon Flamenco with the gypsies. That was 1950-53. Returned to Minneapolis (my home) and studied more Flamenco. Always Flamenco along with ballroom dance. I'm now 81 and wanted a quiet life, nearer my kids/grandkids after my husband died. I have small studios in Bozeman and Helena. I teach but do not charge. I just want to give something to the young girls who like to dance but are always strapped for money. I remember I was, during those years. I've danced for 60 years but teach mostly now. When we do the letter W, I'll post a warm-up video of me. Thanks for asking.

    Hey Su-siee,
    I'm LOL. You sure know Flamenco when you said whip the skirt around, because that is just what they do. I wouldn't wear a bata de cola anymore. At least I wouldn't try to dance in it.

    I did follow you to your blog and found it delightful. Thanks for stopping.

    Thank you for stopping and posting the interesting comments. Manzanita

  15. I love to learn new things..Bata de Cola! Muy Hermosa!

    Can not wait to see what you have up your sleeves for the rest of the alphabet.
    I noticed, quite a few bloggers have entered this challenge!

  16. I've always loved these beautiful dresses. But alas, grace is not one of my virtues. I will have to admire from afar. :)

  17. I can see why you would need strong legs and balance to move in a Bata de Cola. That dress is incredible!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I look forward to following along on this A-Z journey!

  18. I can't imagine wearing a dress like that AND dancing. You must be one fit lady to do that.

  19. Hi Manzanita .. love the theme and the knowledge I'll glean .. the dress is spectacular isn't it .. thanks - Hilary

  20. Hi Manzanita - so nice to find you thru the a-z challenge. Thanks for the follow. And oh, that dress. I have friends who do flamenco and it's an exquisite dance form. Me, I folk dance (when me knee allows it). We have things in common - I sing as well.

  21. ¡Olé!

    I did not know the name of that dress, but have loved Flamenco since first seeing it. I had the fortune to live in Spain for a year - in Salamanca.

    And I really need to return, this time to go to southern Spain.

    What a wonderful word you chose for your "B".

    Enjoy the rest of the challenge.

  22. Love it,excellent post.

  23. I wouldn't even have been able to stand up in that dress, much less walk or, God Forbid, dance in the thing.

  24. Awesome! You have a great outlook on life. I admire that.

    Thank you so much for following my blog. I truly appreciate it.

  25. Oh, I had no idea that kind of dress had a name!

  26. I know a Flamenco dancer and she is just as passionate as you are about the dance. She performs in and around Los Angeles. I'm looking forward to learning more about it as the month moves along.--Inger

  27. I'll bet there is a lot of falling down goin' on when learning this. Looks quite the challenge.

  28. First, I do not under any circumstances want to by a duck.

    Second, I love learning new things so this was very interesting. I bet it was very beautiful during the dance routine.

    Gregg Metcalf
    Colossians 1:28-29

    Gospel-driven Disciples

  29. firstly, thankyou so much for visiting me, I love your bio and title of your blog. To find you're talking about Flamenco is going to be really energizing.I've never seen it live, only on TV but oh, how amazing, and tose dresses! ooooh!

    BTW, I love ducks and the little grk grk grk noise they make.

  30. Must be wonderful to watch! What a dress!

  31. that's some kind of dress.

  32. Shawn,
    Lots and lots of bloggers. I think 1180 or there abouts.

    I don't think any female dancer looks especially graceful in them because you have to kick the train around with vigor.

    Amy Wood,
    The dresses demand a good kick or swing of the leg to get them to follow you. Heavy dresses.

    I haven't worn one for a while. Think I'll stick to the regular length skirt at my age... Ha

    Thank you for commenting. It's a pleasure to meet you.

    Karen Walker,
    Folk dancing is fun too. Sorry if you have a bum knee. Need those knees for dancing. Ah, but singing, you can do any time. I love to sing for myself around the house and in the car.

    Thank you for the comments. A year in Spain was a glowing experience, I'll bet. So glad you like Flamenco. It's been my passion all my adult life.

    Thank you and happy you dropped in.

    Thank you everyone for dropping in and the comments. Manzanita

  33. Friko,
    They mostly walk and kick the train but when they do foot work, they pick up the train and hold it uo off the floor.

    Thank you for your nice words and for visiting my blog.

    Happy to have you visit. The Challenge is going very well.

    I'm so glad you have a friend who is also passionate about Flamenco

    You are right. Lots of falling down.

    OK, no ducks for you. When footwork is done, the dancer picks up the train and hold it.

    Nice comments you are offering. I thank you and also thank you for your appreciation of Flamenco. Ducks say "hi.

    Thanks galen, The dress is really a hoot to dance in.

    Thanks and I'm happy to meet you.

    Thank you everyone and I am so happy to meet the new followers.

  34. Thanks for your comment on T.S.Eliot.
    Great poem & poet.

  35. P.S.
    Montana....The Last Best Place.
    I rode for two weeks in The Bitterroot National Forest.Then float packed down the Missouri for a week;could have stayed for ever.
    Not many Europeans know Montana.....keep it that way.
    Miss it.

  36. That dress is stunning. Aside from training in the dance itself, you probably need to re-learn everything in order to dance in that dress.

  37. I was not aware that the dress has a proper name. I love all the ruffles. That was a good idea to drag sheets around.

  38. Excellent post I must say.. Simple but yet interesting and engaging.. Keep up the awesome work!


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  40. Excellent post I must say.. Simple but yet interesting and engaging.. Keep up the awesome work!


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