One of the most interesting flamenco dance forms is the Zapateado. To explain its structure in simple terms I offer these definitions.
Zapato means shoe in Spanish; zapateado; with a lower case z. is footwork. The Zapateado del Estampio is the Dance. The rhythmic count is 6/8 time.
It is counted thus:
123 456| 123 456|
123 123 123 123.
The dancer’s count is 1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4. etc……
The Zapateado del Estampio. was created by Juan Sanchez, also known as El Estampio. as the legendary dance artist and teacher. It also may have been a collaboration between Estampio and Antonio Bilbao, a contemporary of his.
In any case, this work stands by itself. It has no cante and no palmas are employed for the dance. The intricate heelwork is a masterpiece of technique and variations. Originally, the steps were divided into groups of eight, and this was followed by a section known as the “campanas” : often regarded as an arrangement between the dancer and guitarist. It has disappeared in the mists of time.
Apparently, as the years past. it may have fallen out of fashion and the dancers no longer remembered the steps. Since the guitarists depend on the dancer’ memories it has been lost.
The Zapateado is a very old traditional Jondo dance. Both Cervantes and Quevedo, another poet and writer of the Golden Age in Spain mentioned it.
Curiously, Scarlatti’s D minor sonata (K. 120) reflects much influence from this dance form in its rhythms, syncopation and accents, since it too, like the Zapateado is in a duple meter-12/8 time.
The wild hand crossings in this piece reminds one of the intricate taconeo patterns, which are so typical in this dance form.
I note that Bach’s Gigue in G Major has a rhythmic structure of 12/16. This piece along with the “Sonata” of Mateo Albeniz in 6/8 is definitely compatible as a dance and the same steps used in the Estampio fit into the music as well as with the guitar.