Many people consider flamenco dancing a Spanish tradition – and it is popular in Spain – but it is a dance with a fluid and complex history. Flamenco is a dance that has changed over time. It has elements of dances from India, which historians say came to Spain between 500 and 250 B.C., when dancers from India were brought to Spain to dance for the royal court. Later, as people came to Spain from Africa, Pakistan and Persia, they brought their music and dance traditions with them. These were absorbed into the culture and became part of the dances, too.
Today, flamenco dance includes hand clapping, rhythmic foot stomping and beautifully complex hand, arm and body movements. Often, the dancer remains still and expressionless as the music begins to play. As the dancer feels the music they start clapping or stomping their feet before they start moving to the music.
Flamenco dancers often hold castanets in their hands and use them to make clapping sounds. Intricate folding fans are also used in flamenco dances.