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If fitness is on your New Year resolution list, here’s one way that’s absolutely fabulous: flamenco. I stumbled across it late one night unexpectedly in one of my favourite haunts in Israel in December. I was wandering the streets of Tel Aviv’s edgy Florentine district when I heard repetitive, stamping sounds coming from behind a shop window. The sounds were so loud even the glass seemed to shake. I peeped through gaps in the curtainsand saw a flamenco dance class in action. There were a few men but mostly women in skimpy camisole tops and hip-fitting, flared skirts. On their feet were shoes with small nails embedded in toe and heel that amplify the sound of the percussive footwork. I couldn’t look away. The dancers’ focused gaze and beads of sweat on arms, necks and pulsating foreheads seemed to radiate a special energy. Studio owner Michal Bratt says I wasn’t imagining anything. A Sabra (born in Israel), she started ballet and contemporary dance aged five. At 15, she went to a fri...

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