Disclosure: Dance Dispatches received complimentary admission to write an open and honest dance show review of the tablao at La Casa del Flamenco Sevilla.
When you stroll the streets of Seville, you’ll see an abundance of signs advertising flamenco shows. Many venues host these flamenco performances (known as tablaos) every evening, so you’ll likely be able to find some tickets on the day – but some of the more popular stages will fill up quickly. La Casa del Flamenco provides a beautiful venue in a convenient location, so you may want to book in advance. Catching one of these intimate dance shows is a must-do in the Andalusian city.
“[We host] a charming show, where history, tradition and art join together to move and surprise our visitors.”La Casa del Flamenco
La Casa del Flamenco Sevilla – Auditorio Alcántara
La Casa del Flamenco in Seville not only values the caliber and authenticity of their performances, the historical venue is another source of pride. Although the palatial residence dates back to the 15th Century, it was renovated in the 18th Century, and is decorated with marble columns, graceful arches and traditional azulejo tiles.
The flamenco tablaos take place in the main courtyard, where chairs and stools surround three sides of the stage. The viewers are seated quite close to the performers, and the staff believes that the lack of microphones and amplifiers give visitors a more natural experience.
The Tablao Flamenco Show at Casa del Flamenco in Seville
Before the show begins, I overhear a tour guide discussing the performance with her English-speaking clients. The gossip? Macarena Ramírez (the female dancer or bailaora) is renowned for her gentle, sensual nature, while Ramón Martínez (the male dancer or bailaore) exudes a passionate energy. It will be their first time dancing together, but the local guide is most excited to see the male dancer, whom she refers to as the current “main figure of flamenco for Spain.”
Some flamenco purists say that the Sevillanas are not true flamenco dances. The sets of Sevillanas are most often danced by everyday people at the Spanish fairs during the springtime. However, professional flamenco dancers do commonly perform the social dance for out-of-towners.
Even whilst lithely dancing, Ramírez skillfully plays the castanets, caressing the hand-held instruments quickly to produce impressive trills. The pair neatly swirl around each other, and I wonder how differently ‘normal’ people look when they dance Sevillanas together.
During the courting dance, I remember what Juani told me in The Flamenco Museum: the male and female may dance together, but there is very little physical contact between the two. The man may occasionally place his hand on the woman’s shoulder, but their torsos remain remain separate.
Ramírez commands the song, accenting it how she likes with her castanets, and it seems her allure rules of Martínez, too. He slaps his knees with gusto to draw her attention, but her focus flits over him as she coyly glances from side to side. Although by the end, they finish the dance as a couple.
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The guitarist treats the audience to a lovely guajira, a mellifluous song that reminds me of sun glistening on the swirling eddies of a river. But the tone immediately changes when Ramírez returns. She effortfully drags herself on stage, her slender body uncharacteristically heavy.
Her limbs are noticeably cat-like, and she keeps them close to her torso. She closes her eyes and swallows, taking in the moment, then she quickly slaps her chest and darts into a solo stampede. Her upper frame is perfectly composed even when her feet rapidly rap the floor.
However, the next dance is more fluid with sways of the hips and smooth undulations. She easily sweeps into a background, fingers fluttering overhead. And it’s especially satisfying to see a female dancer personifying a song performed by a female singer. (Male flamenco singers and guitarists were present at each tablao, but this was the only female musician we saw in three shows.)
The specific type of flamenco, called a palo, seems especially suited to the bravado of Martínez. He strides in, coat open, with his hand on his abdomen. A bittersweet grimace adorns his face and he closes his eyes. After he begins the dance, he faces the male dancer, and they egg each other on.
His dance flows like an attack and a recovery. (At one point, an audience member even asks if he wants water – to which he comically replies ‘later.’) He prattles off fancy footwork and plays with skillful balances on the tips of his toes like a ballerina. He whips his body into turns and jumps up with an impressive lightness, considering his stature. He engages many of the viewers in his good fun.
The ‘end of the party’ piece feels like a cross between an encore and a curtain call. We share our appreciation of the musicians and dancers, and they each indulge in a mini solo. It’s a short and sweet way to close the show.
The lively show demonstrates an array of traditional Spanish dance and music. The tablao was thoroughly enjoyable, but one of the crowd-pleasing performers made the show feel more touristy than authentic.
However, different performers dance every evening, so don’t let that put you off.
If You Go to La Casa del Flamenco Sevilla
Show Times: Nightly shows take place at 7:00pm and 8:30pm
Address: Calle Ximénez de Enciso, 28 / 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Nearest Bus Stops: Menéndez Pelayo (Diputación), Menéndez Pelayo (Jardines de Murillo), Menéndez Pelayo (Puerta de La Carne) and Menéndez Pelayo (Puerta de La Carne) are all within a five-minute walk of the venue.
All information accurate and up-to-date at time of posting.
Where in the world have you seen a stunning flamenco performance? Was it in Spain or on an entirely different continent? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!