How to experience the best flamenco dancing? Spain is considered the cradle of this art. It’s THE best place to enjoy an authentic flamenco show.
So if you plan to go to a flamenco the choice of places is extremely wide…
But with so many options to choose from throughout the city finding a genuine, high-quality show can sometimes be a little tricky.
To help you stay away from the tourist traps, here are some insider information of what you should look for when choosing the flamenco show you plan to see.
But if you still don’t know where to go, have a look at what I consider the best flamenco show in Spain.
Apart from flamenco dancing Spain has many shows
A bailaora needs to coordinate her elegant and complicated body movements with the heartbroken lyrics of a cantaor and the beautiful and harmonic tunes of the talented guitarrista.
Therefore, to see the real thing and to enjoy an authentic show, don’t focus only on flamenco dancing. Spain is full of great places where you can enjoy amazing artists performing their best singing, dancing and music. Ideally, the show should give an equal importance to dancers, singers and guitar players, incorporating guitar and singing solos in between the dancing.
A simple flamenco show is always better
Look for simplicity and quality!
In flamenco the gamut of feelings and states of mind (e.g. grief, joy, tragedy, love, fear) are expressed through brevity and simplicity.
Forget about extravagant and excessive clothing (especially the bailaoras dresses). The best performers, whether they are dancers, singers are musicians always dress very soberly.
And please, don’t go to a show where singers use microphones. That’s a profanation in the flamenco culture! Their voice should be strong enough and deep enough to get to the whole audience.
The flamenco singing is characterized by its sober accompaniment. Take into account that until the 20th century there was no guitar in a flamenco performance. So it was sung a palo seco (without any music instrument at all, only hand clapping).
Find a small venue to experience the duende
Even for a Spaniard like me, understanding the concept (and the importance) of duende is fairly complicated. To put it simply, it represents the true soul of flamenco, the art that naturally arises during a performance.
When you attend a flamenco show, let yourself be carried away by the atmosphere created in the tablao or the flamenco bar. That is, forget about any reasoning and focus on feeling.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the lyrics. Don’t worry about what they singers are saying.
Focus on the music, not the words. Listen, listen, listen. All the emotional messages come in the music.
If the artists don’t convey any emotion or passion to you, they have failed. Because that’s what flamenco is, an art of pure emotions.
So look for small venues or tablaos where you will be able to sit close to the scenario. From there, you can watch every dance move, and listen to every breath between every note in detail. It’s an experience that will give you goosebumps!
Look for an improvised performance
Improvisation and spontaneity are synonyms of flamenco.
Although it depends on the place where you go to see a flamenco show, during the performance you will see that different flamenco styles or palos are played.
But the important here is not if you see a siguiriya or a soleá. It’s whether the artists have a specific choreography or structure or, on the contrary they improvise, making each show unique.
Run away from any routine of flamenco dancing. Spain is full of places where you can see an authentic flamenco show!
Go to a flamenco bar off the beaten track
In a flamenco bar local artists, sometimes not very experienced but full of passion, spend their nights showing their art and style to the audience.
The only drawback it that you won’t see any professional dancing… Or any dancing at all.
But, you will witness the best local and amateur talent of the city.
Not to mention that you won’t have a to pay a cent to enter the bar and to see this improvised and memorable show.
So, as usual, do as local and head to a flamenco bar!
This article is part of a complete tutorial about flamenco in Spain where you can read all the information you need to enjoy this typical Andalusian folklore.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. What is flamenco?
2. Where to see flamenco in Spain?
3. The best flamenco show in Spain
4. How to enjoy flamenco dancing in Spain
5. Where to take flamenco dance classes in Spain
6. Flamenco history and origins
7. Understanding flamenco singing (cante)
8. Understanding flamenco dance (baile)
9. Understanding flamenco guitar (toque)
10. The different flamenco styles
11. A flamenco glossary