Spanish Fiesta in the Youth Center
From 6 through 8 April 2007, a real fiesta por sevillana was held in the Hermitage's Youth Education Center under the motto Let's usher in spring the Spanish way!
The beginning of April is a time when throughout all of Spain there are magnificent processions with dancing and singing, and street fairs. The biggest of all is the Feria de Abril in Seville. Spanish are known for their religiosity, but in these festivals it is difficult to say what is more important - Christianity or pagan rites of spring. The origins of the Feria de Abril go back to the Middle Ages, but the fair took on its present-day form in the 19th century. However, even the modern generation of Spaniard who normally wear jeans and football jerseys change into traditional clothing on these days. For the ladies this means dresses with a sea of flounces, accompanied by fans, hats and shawls. The men ride their Andalusian horses. Modern pop music is replaced by Andalusian folk music.
The three evenings in the Hermitage's Youth Center dedicated to Spanish culture are just a sampling of Spain, allowing us to savor the aroma of the country. On the first day, students from institutions of higher learning in St Petersburg who study in sections of the Student Club had an opportunity to make a virtual journey across the Spanish lands. The second evening was devoted to Federico Garcia Lorca. Carlos Saura's film The Bloody Wedding, based on Lorca's play,
was presented to the audience by well known Petersburg cinema expert M. Saparov. Pictures relating to Lorca's verses painted on silk complemented the presentation on the career and achievements of the great Spanish poet.
The culmination of the program was Sunday evening, which was wholly devoted to music and dancing - the day of Flamenco. Especially invited artists showed various facets of Spanish dance and everyone could participate in the fiesta. The program gave students a chance not only to come into contact with Spanish culture, but, thanks to the master classes on Seville dancing that took place each evening, to try out their own abilities in the Flamenco art.