In 2010, dancer and instructor José Galán created an inclusive flamenco company, bringing together disabled individuals and able-bodied artists.
The company uses flamenco as an instrument of social integration and as a teaching resource.
They organise workshops and courses for different groups, including – ONCE the national organization for blind people in Spain – and a Seville Association for those affected by brain damage.
“The purpose of my company and my inclusive flamenco workshop is to make flamenco accessible to all kinds of publics,” says Galán. “And, of course, to bring something new and different to the art.”
The company holds workshops for blind people, people with Down syndrome and people who are physically disabled.
José transmits to his students the basics of corporal positioning and flamenco rhythms, paying special attention to improvisation and the expression of dancers’ own individuality.
In these workshops, dance is oriented as a therapy to improve quality of life. There are four types of benefits:
physical – improvement in the control of movement;
cognitive – including the development of concentration and memorization; affective- promoting motivation and self-esteem; and emotional, by developing sensitivity and creativity.
“For me, since I discovered José Galán and his company, flamenco is more than dance,” says Lola Lopez. “It is a form of art in which I express my feelings, my emotions, and everything I have inside.”
In July 2016, Galán was awarded the ONCE Andalucia Solidarity Prize for his “very courageous” commitment to the development of integrated shows, and for his efforts to discover new talents and give them an opportunity.
His company has produced nine shows, performing at Flamenco festivals in Spain, Luxembourg and Germany.
As José puts it: “Flamenco is a feeling and feeling knows no boundaries.”