The bulerías represent the essence of the flamenco “juerga” [fiesta, party, splurge]. They are the late night kitchen party of flamenco, where dancers, singers, clappers and guitarist jam and party in the late hours of the night. Spontaneous, humorous, sassy and daring, a flamenco show often finishes with a “fin de fiesta” – a sort of “encore” where each participant of the cast, and often guests from the audience or friends from the artists, join in to do a little dance [patá por bulerias].
The bulería “baile” (dance) is a structured improvisation personalized by the dancer, in which codified movements have developed over time and are an integral part of this dance. Some of these codified movement shares are: marking steps [marcajes], call-in cues [llamadas], footwork [remates], palmas en contra [off the beat clapps].
The clearly recognizable sections of the bulería baile above and the heavy accents of the bulería compás, provide a skeletal framework for the dance. The heavy accents for bulerías, and for many other 12-count phrased flamenco dances, fall on counts 12, 3, 6, 8 and 10.
The word bulería is likely derived from burlería, the root word of being burlar, meaning “to make fun of.” The musical scale of the bulerías is in the Phyrgian mode but in the key of A.