In October 1613, a small delegation of the Date domain left a Miyagi Prefecture port and traveled for more than a year across the Pacific and the Atlantic. They reached their destination, Spain, in December 1614, and the endeavor became the foundation of a bilateral friendship that has lasted for around 400 years.

People in Tokyo have a lot to thank the pioneers for this autumn, when Spain’s finest flamenco dancers arrive in Japan to commemorate the 400th anniversary of this initial contact. Leading the group will be Israel Galvan, referred to as the Vaslav Nijinsky of Spanish flamenco, who will perform on Oct. 13. Belen Maya, considered the trend setter of the art form today, will perform “Trasmin” with Manuel Linan on Oct. 12. Rocío Molina’s performance of “Danzaora” will cap the three-day spectacle in Shinjuku Ward on Oct. 14.

The popularity of flamenco has been on the rise in Japan, and the country boasts the largest population of flamenco dancers after Spain, according to the Asociacion Nipona de Flamenco.

For aficionados who can’t get enough of the passionate dance, the festival is scheduled to return for an encore next year in March and will feature the prominent Eva Yerbabuena as its main act.

Flamenco Festival in Tokyo will be held between Oct. 12 and 14 from 2 p.m. each day at Shinuku Cultural Center. Tickets cost ¥8,500 for A seats and ¥10,000 for S seats. For more information, visit www.parco-play.com/web/play/flamencofestival.

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