A Night of Flamenco, Seville.
On our last night in Seville we realised that there was something missing from our whirlwind trip through the Andalusian capital. We had ventured into the depths of the cathedral, wandered the gardens of the Alcázar and tried the guilty pleasure that was pescado frito. But so far we had not yet seen a flamenco show.
The man at the front desk shook his head when we asked if there were any places that were a little less touristy. “But there is one flamenco hall,” he added, “where you can see it for 16 euros. It lasts one and a half hours.” From the next room the receptionist whipped out a thick bundle of tickets. “Have a think about it. There’s a performance this evening so I can book your seats on the phone. It starts at 9 o’clock.”
My watch reads 8:50. At the entrance a cheerful, well-spoken gentleman greets us in English. Our seats are the perfect distance from the stage, close enough to see the details but far enough to grasp the entire picture. It’s Sunday night and the lights are going down in the half-empty chamber.
To the mournful, husky voices of two singers the attractive cast swirled across the stage, tapping their heels and skillfully their arms as they went. Charged with Andalusian passion, some of them wore hardened, almost pained expressions on their faces. Others were all smiles, clapping, cheering and stamping to the melodious strains of the Spanish guitars.
It wasn’t just flamenco that we saw that night. We were quickly introduced to a variety of folk dances like the local sevillanas, a prominent feature of the April Fair, and fandango, marked by the distinctive craaack-craaack of castanets. But the ultimate highlight of the show came when the dancers performed a number to the music of Bizet’s Carmen.
Framed by several allusions to the world of bullfighting, the protagonist emerged in a hibiscus-pink dress adorned with polka dots and black lace. With effortless sweeps of her abanico she held the full attention of a captivated audience.
Wowed by the difficult steps and the immense skill of the dancers, there was no doubting that it was 16 Euros well spent. Even if it involved the sale of overpriced drinks and gratuitous amusement-park style photos, the flamenco show was a perfect send-off after our 2-week stint in eastern and southern Spain. For now it was time to pack up and embark on the long road back to Salamanca.