In my college application process, I came across a fantastic question that I never had the opportunity to answer. So, I’ll answer it now. “
The Block Plan combines the flexibility to leave campus with intense immersion in a single subject. My new course entitled, “The Outsiders: A Comparison Between Flamenco and Rock ‘n’ Roll,” illustrates how the history of Flamenco music and dance parallels the origin of rock and roll. The first two weeks in Spain will focus on the history and influence of Flamenco music. Flamenco originated in the eighteenth century as a means for expressing the difficulty of poverty and violence through the content and style of its songs. With one week in Seville and one in Madrid (the two regions most well-known for their Flamenco performances), students will experience the culture, language, food, and history of each region while learning about Flamenco to create an immersive study.
The history of Flamenco will be compared to the roots of rock ‘n’ roll, which stemmed from blues, the music of the oppressed and poor African American population in the mid-20th century American rural South. Memphis, Tennessee is the birthplace of rock and roll and where the remaining days of the block will be spent exploring the history of rock ‘n’ roll and blues as a lament for change. The days in Memphis will be filled with trips to historical venues such as Graceland (the estate of Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”), Sun Studio (The Birthplace of Rock N’ Roll), and Stax Museum of American Soul Music, which houses more than two thousand musical artifacts. By visiting these historical venues and absorbing the vibrant music scene that defines this city, students will be able to see the history that influences today’s music. From lessons in music history and culture, students will gather historical context and further appreciate the social and political patterns of the era. While the origins of these musical genres are separated by two hundred years and very different circumstances, the soulfulness and celebration that they embody tell a shared story of how deprivation can inspire greatness.