Flamenco is a Spanish art form with roots deep in Andalusia. Spain?s southern region. Although there are clues as to how this dance and folk music evolved, the details are lost in history.
Even the origin of its name is elusive. Some attribute it to the early 1500s and the Flemish courtiers during the reign of Spain?s Charles V. Their bright clothing inspired the names given things garish or conspicuous, such as flamingoes and flamenco.
Others say flamenco, still referring to the Flemish, was the nationality erroneously given by the common people to Gypsies. Still others claim the name comes from the Arabic fellah mangu, the laborer who sings. Whatever the origins, the Gypsies seem to have consolidated the assorted strains into the flamenco we know today when they began to arrive in Spain during the 15th century.
While its origins are ancient, it was not until after 1700 that flamenco came into its own. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries it flourished, achieving a peak in popularity from about 1875 to 1900. Practically every Andalusian town in the period had its singing cafe. Seville boasted five. With few exceptions, the famed singers and dancers were Gypsies
There are a number of Flamenco clubs in Seville and it all depends on who you talk to as to which is the best. The clubs offer kickbacks to the hotels so arranging your tickets through them may not be the best bet, unless you get a great feeling from them. The two biggest clubs are Los Gallos and El Arenal but some feel there are too touristy, but heck that's what we were. We choose Los Gallos (because our hotel manager set it up) and had a great time.
Tucked away on Calle Ximenez de Enciso, the Casa de la Memoria de al-Andalus offers some excellent flamenco shows. Each night they have 2 performances, and each night there are two new troupes. In other words, it is not a "house'" group doing the same show each night to tourists... like Palacio Andaluz. This, as far as I can tell, is the real deal.
Tickets are 10 euro, 8 for students. You usually need to buy them the day before as they sell out quickly. Arrive 45 mins prior to the show if you want a good seat. The guy in charge organizes everyone in a line, he runs a tight ship. A little before showtime, you are led into a courtyard, a small, intimate setting, beautifully decorated.
The show I saw was fantastic... 3 people: guitarista, cantante, y dancer. Each was just excellent. I play guitar, and this guitarist literally blew my mind by doing things I did not think were possible on the guitar. And when the dancer danced, smoke rose from her feet... literally!
If you want to see a flamenco show, there are many possibilities, but I highly recommend the shows at Casa de la Memoria. They have a different show every night and it's always worth seeing. Mostly young artists (guitarist, singer, dancers) and many of them are well-known in the flamenco community - teachers, prize winners, etc.
It's a small venue and very intimate, so it's best to reserve a ticket in advance (these shows often sell out). And if you ever get a chance to see Felipe Mato dance at the Casa de la Memoria, take the chance - he is one of the best dancers I've ever seen. And I'm not just saying that because he was one of my teachers at the flamenco school. When he dances, with his long hair dripping with sweat and his feet stamping out zapateados so fast and strong that I half-expect to see smoke rising from his feet, he has a look of absolute passion on his face that is the mark of a true dancer.
Note to people who know this venue but haven't been there in the last few years - it has changed locations (as you can see by comparing the background in my photos from 2007 and 2014). It used to be at Ximenez de Enciso, but is now on Cuna. The old place is now La Casa del Flamenco, but I haven't seen their shows.
If you're looking for a free flamenco show, La Carboneria is a good place to go. The show usually starts at around 10 or 11 pm and though most of the tourists leave when the show is over, the locals often stick around and jam. Before midnight, the place is very crowded and noisy (the flamenco artists often have to go "ssshhhhh" loudly to get the crowds to pay attention), and the crowd is mostly tourists. But late at night, the locals take over.
I usually preferred the late-night jam sessions, you never know what to expect and this flamenco is considered more "pure" than the tablaos and shows. It's improvised, random, and people just play/sing/dance as they feel inspired. Sometimes, I'd see a group of young guys knocking out a flamenco beat on a wooden table and singing - you'll never see that in a tablao. Whenever the music was particularly good, I'd get up and dance, and even the gitanos would compliment me.
Here are some bars with flamenco often on show, away of those joints dedicated to mass-tourism :
- LA TABERNA, c/ Duarte, 3
- LO NUESTRO, C/ Betis, 31-A (sevillanas, rumba)
- CASA ANSELMA, C/ Pagés del Corro, 49
- MÚ DAQUI, C/ Betis, 31-B (sevillanas)
- TABERNA FLAMENCA, C/ Adriano, 5 (sevillanas & rumbas)
- EL HOBBIT, C/ Regina, 20 (flamenco shows on Friday)
- EL TAMBORIL, P/ de Santa Cruz
- FUNDACIÓN EL MONTE, C/ Laraña, see program
- LA CASA DE LA MEMORIA, C/ Ximeñez Enciso, 28
- SOL CAFÉ CANTANTE, C/ Sol, 5
- EL MUNDO, C/ Siete Revueltas, 5 (Alfafa district) - Martes flamenco
- LA SONANTA, C/ San Jasinto, 31 (Triana district) - Miercoles flamenco
- EL PERRO ANDALUZ, C/ Busto Tavera, 11 - Jueves flamenco
- LA CARBONERÍA, C/ Levíes, 18
Sevilla is world famous by flamenco (in fact, all Andalusia is proud of showing this dancing), but when you come to Sevilla avoid those typical places where they carry tourists to watch artifitial flamenco... if you are lucky enough to meet people there, ask them to show you how we dance and party when we are in the mood... a guitar, clapping, wine and everybody singing together it´s our way to celebrate the joy of life!
EL PALACIO ANDALUZ and it was here I had a most wonderful, unforgettable, breathtaking evening of FLAMENCO.
I could book a table (the place is also a restaurant) at my hotel which made things very easy: I just had to walk to the SALA FLAMENCA - RESTAURANTE.
It was an overwhelming experience for which I had been waiting for years after a first experience during a previous holiday in Seville/Granada....
This is a REAL MUST......so lively, so festive, such an outburst of joy!
You will have the chance to attend to the BEST flamenco show in Spain (and it was!)
You might have a "A LA CARTE" dinner or simply have a drink of your choice.....
You must go to see this passionate & unique style of dancing here.
Originally the building of Seville's coal merchant, now used for cultural entertainment. No cover charge!
This place was very close to where we were staying the first night of our arrival. Since I knew these places don't really kick off till about 2300, we had a relaxed dinner, walked around a bit, then a nice French man accompanied us to this bar.
The atmosphere was great. It was packed, yet on the way to this remote, quiet & sheltered site no one can imagine running into so many people!
Every drink imaginable is served in the well-stocked bar.
The routine is interesting: of the 2 men & 1 lady, first a man stands up & sings whilst the other one is playing the guitar. After quite a while the lady stands up & slowly increases the vigour of her dancing with the rising tempo of the music. The artists do a lot of clapping, and the lady taps her shoes a lot.
This whole process is repeated. But first the trio leaves the stage & disappears for 10 minutes or so.
An interesting thing is that there are 'No smoking whilst singing' signs all over, and the artists enforce this.
We even had 2 lovely young, well-tanned ladies dancing together on stage (they looked more like Red-Indians!!)
An evening here will be the best of your stay at SEVILLA!!
An authentic "FLAMENCO" performed by the best artists....the most complete show of Spanish Dance in a PATIO that breathes the pure atmosphere of SEVILLE....
An evening here will make your holiday, as it did mine!!
An enjoyable flamenco show.
This is apparently one of the oldest venue's in Seville for flamenco.
The show I saw had 5 female and 1 male performer, one of the ladies also sang.
There were 3 male singers and 2 guitarists.
There are 2 shows nightly, 1st at 8pm and the 2nd at 10:30pm
No food service, but 1 drink is included in the admission price, and there is full bar service.
Cost 30 euro per person
This is a small museum hidden in the Barrio Santa Cruz. It is run by the legendary flamenco dancer Cristina Hoyos, and it is an interactive museum - not just objects and artwork, but also video and audio presentations about the history of flamenco, descriptions of styles/palos, etc (with translations in many different languages if you don't speak Spanish). It also includes a small school where you can take dance classes (mostly for beginners), and there are also shows. There is a gift shop where you can buy flamenco-related souvenirs, books, as well as dance shoes (the brand I saw there was Begoña Cervera).
The entry fee for the museum is 10 Euros for the general public, 8 Euros for students and seniors, and 6 Euros for children. You can either buy a ticket in advance or pay at the door. It is open 10am-7pm every day.
Sevilla is at the heart of Spain's flamenco culture and hence, the flamenco capital of the world.
Walking through Sevilla, you will likely come accross dozens of advertisements for shows as well as people selling tickets on the streets. In this sense, you will probably become obsessed with finding a flamenco show that is not overly-touristic. El Arenal does the trick in every regard. Having gone to a couple of flamenco shows around the globe, including some that were pretty touristy, I can say that this one is fairly authentic.The dancing was fantastic and the music was intense.
You can either buy a ticket that includes dinner and show or one that is show only.
El arenal is a wonderful flamenco dinner show. There were several show that we saw. Tablao Flamenco was also very nice. Both dinners were quite delicious surprisingly, and the shows were spectacular. If you visit, you must see Flamenco!
When you are in Sevilla you HAVE to check out one "tablao flamenco". My personal tip (after talking to some locals and having seen it there as well): Tablaos Los Gallos located in the heart of the Santa Cruz district.
Our tour included a competent professional performance of various dances and songs of the "classic" type. It is assumed that the spectator is in the know about the genre or just a tourist who is there for the show. The lead dancer was a tall straight-backed flat-rumped female who danced gracefully or vigorously with great muscular control and adept handling of her long skirt accompanied by hard strumming guitarists, singers, rhythmic clapping and shouts (of encouragement). The beat was continuously pulsating and varied in tempo at each section. Other numbers features d a kind of tap dancing or castanet performances woven into the dances. I was too ignorant of the style to tell if there were any "improvisations" being offerred as would occur with amateurs in a competition at a local bar or club or in the "gypsy caves" of Granada; so I was not emotionally involved. It was an artful, colorful musical experience that is part of a visit to Andalusia