Ask anyone who has ever visited Sevilla what you MUST do while you’re there, and they’ll unquestionably tell you to go see a Flamenco show. For some people, this is THE reason to travel to Andalusia, and Flamenco in Sevilla is undoubtedly the best. With dozens of shows to choose from, there’s something to fit everyone’s tastes and budgets. Whether your’re looking for a big dinner-and-a-show production, a simple hour-long show, or are hoping some impromptu Flamenco will break out in a local bar, you can find it in Sevilla. In this post, I’ll tell you about the two ways we experienced Flamenco in Sevilla.
What in the World is Flamenco?
This is Flamenco:
This is not Flamenco:
Now that we have that straightened out, here’s a little more background. Flamenco is a music-and-dance art form, rooted in Roma and Moorish cultures. Most shows consist of a male and female dancer, a guitarist, and a man or woman singing. The outfits are beautiful, the footwork is amazing, and the guitar playing is spectacular.
What I didn’t expect, though, was the emotion that would radiate from the dancers. When you’re not gaping at the lightning fast legwork of the dancers, the passion and emotions they project fill the room and leave everyone in a state of breathlessness. I’m not kidding – the show left me breathless; I actually had to remind myself to breathe!
Because of its roots in Moorish cultures, Flamenco songs remind many people of the Muslim call to prayer. The Muslim culture that was part of Spain so long ago has really left its mark here – I think that’s one of my favorite things about Spain. It really sets it apart from the rest of Europe and creates such a unique culture. Flamenco is an important part of that culture, and is something that is not to be missed!
Impromptu Flamenco at La Carbonería Bar
We visited La Carbonería Bar a few different times while we were in Sevilla in hopes of catching some impromptu Flamenco. Based on the somewhat chilly welcome tourists receive at La Carbonería, I don’t think the bar employees are very happy that they’ve started showing up in guidebooks. If you stop in and ask about Flamenco, they’ll undoubtedly tell you it’s not going to happen. But if you come in on a Friday or Saturday night at about 10pm, grab a big pitcher of Sangria (a whole Liter is just 9 euros!), and hunker down in the corner, you might just luck out and get to enjoy some music.
(Sidenote: I’m sorry these photos are so terrible. I didn’t to be “that” tourist running around to get a better angle on the photos. I love you, readers, but I try to avoid giving a bad name to tourists when possible.)
We enjoyed listening to a guitarist and singer from about 10-10:30pm. But at 11pm, things really got going! The musicians started up again, and local women who had come to hang out in the bar took turns dancing. An older guy who uses a cane for walking even hopped up and showed off his dance moves. Luckily, the cane he was flinging around wildly didn’t put anyone’s eyes out. Any night of Impromptu Flamenco comes with inherent risks, right?
Here’s a little video snippet I took during one of the songs. It helps give you an idea of what you might expect late at night at La Carbonería:
While this definitely wasn’t as awesome as a paid Flamenco show (half the fun of Flamenco is the costumes!), it’s a great way to spend a Friday or Saturday night and get a taste of Flamenco, especially if you’re on a budget.
A Flamenco Show at La Casa Del Flamenco
We went to the excellent show at La Casa Del Flamenco. I can’t rave enough about this show! At 18 euros per ticket, it’s a little pricey but worth every penny! (PRO TIP: during the winter months, there will often be a gal near the Alcazar handing out flyers with a promo price of just 15 euros. Look for her!)
La Casa has several different groups of four artists (two dancers, a guitarist and a singer) that alternate performances throughout the week, but I’m certain they’re all excellent. The male and female dancers at our show killed it – I can’t believe how fast their feet can move. I’m also pretty sure that the guitarist should be dubbed a guitar magician or something. The passion for their craft was very clear in their performance, and I loved every minute of the hour-long show.
Typically, La Casa Del Flamenco shows run each day at 7pm, with an additional show at 8:30pm every now and then, especially during high season. It’s a good idea to book tickets in advance, and show up at least 30 minutes before showtime to try to get one of the best seats in the house.
Perhaps the best thing about La Casa Del Flamenco is their tiny venue. With just three rows of chairs, there’s hardly a bad seat in the house. Still, everyone pays the same price, so if you can arrive early to snag a front row seat, you’ll find it’s worth it!