Emotions and flamenco dance: introducing the duende in dance movement therapy


Flamenco dance constitutes a vehicle of singular socio-cultural manifestation loaded with emotional elements, which invite its analysis as a potential therapeutic tool. The present research, using a mixed methodology, collected data in three different population groups (volunteer participants, flamenco dancers and dance movement therapists), where the movements of flamenco dance were analysed in relation to the expression of emotions, using the movement qualities of Laban. The feelings and motivation that drove the dancers to use this dance style were also analysed. The results provide information about the relationship between basic flamenco movements and some emotions especially represented by certain movement patterns. The results obtained suggest that flamenco dance could represent a useful instrument for the expression and channelling of emotions in the context of dance movement therapy.

Aims of research

The objectives are threefold: a) to relate a set of basic movements in flamenco with Ekman’s categorisation of basic emotions and Laban’s movement qualities; b) to look into the possibilities that flamenco movements bring to the expression of emotions and feelings; c) to reflect on the motivations and possibilities that flamenco dance offers to emotional work.

Principal research question(s)

The qualities of flamenco movements can favor the expression of emotions and feelings in a therapeutic setting.

Principal findings

Certain emotions such as joy or anger are related to some of the characteristic movements of flamenco. Flamenco dance can be used by an expert in this and DMT to promote emotional expression. Flamenco dance can promote the expression of emotions that are difficult to express.

Research Collaborators​
Lola Medina-Orcera, Rosa-María Rodríguez-Jiménez
Research Supervisors
Rosa-María Rodríguez-Jiménez
Nature of data collection
Quantitative data: Likert-type survey designed ad hoc for. The qualitative information: open-ended questions in a semi-structured survey and from a focus group.
Research design
mixed methodology (quantitative-qualitative)
Registered Academic Institution
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Academic level of research