I used to think, like a lot of people, that Flamenco was only about dance. Real Flamenco actually combines singing, acoustic guitars and dance for a show that should be largely improvised.
There is a lot of Flamenco throughout Spain but we decided Seville would be our first foray into it. You can easily walk through the El Arenal neighborhood and find shows on the fly. But, before you do that, i recommend thinking about the type of flamenco experience you are looking for. Do you want something traditional, intimate or more of an EXPERIENCE?
On the traditional side, Los Gallos is very good. This small theater is located near the gardens at Plaza Santa Cruz. The walk through this neighborhood is beautiful. You will want to take some pictures or stop and absorb sights so give yourself lots of time to get there.
The show features 10-12 performers, singing, playing guitar and dancing over an hour and 45 minutes. The vibe is low-key and causal. For instance, the musicians talk to each other in low voices between acts while tuning their guitars. One dancer’s brooch fell off and a singer picked it up only to walk over and hand it to her during the finale. I really enjoy Flamenco singing and music so this was a lot of fun.
However, if you want something very intimate @NotJustATourist (more to come on them in a future posts) recommends Museum of the Guitars and Museum of Flamenco. Performers are excellent but smaller in number (like two) to create a significantly more unique and intimate experience.
If you want an “experience,” i recommend Tablao Flamenco also in Santa Cruz. This show features 1-2 guitar players and 1-2 singers, and depending five dancers.
In Madrid, James told us Flamenco is about attitude and pride. A good flamenco dancer will let you know who is in charge the moment they walk on stage. At Tablao this came to life for me in a way that was breath-taking and electric. The vibe is upbeat and sexual. The dancers are incredible, much more polished when compared to Los Gallos.
It’s common for flamenco houses to offer a show and —- something like a drink, tapas or dinner. Los Gallos is cocktails only. A ticket includes the show and one cocktail. It’s more than enough for the performance. Tablao is more of a dinner theater. You can purchase a ticket for the show and drinks, tapas or dinner. We opted for the tapas both times we went. The tapas were good, plentiful and feature regional pork and seafood options like: Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Potato Omlette), Solomillo de Cerdo al Mojo (Iberico Pork Sirloin) and Fito Variado (fried fish: calamari, anchovy and salmon) Dinner seemed “meh” based on what we saw so stick with the tapas if you want food.)
Travel Tip: Flamenco artists and theaters who put on the shows are very strict about photography and video taping. It is forbidden. I wish this wasn’t the case because the photos would be amazing.
I’ve just rattled off a lot of information, or really explained what i learned about Flamenco. Whether you consider yourself a novice or master at this art form, i hope you take time to see Flamenco in Spain. It’s a must do and should totally be in those 1,000 Things To Do in Life books.