I am a little crazy in believe that I can do almost anything, of course within a very blurred line of reason. But, after watching Flamenco in Barcelona it was completely evident that that would probably end up on the other side of the line. Their talented feet move far too swiftly for even my eyes to keep up with and I would only be able to duplicate the passion in their faces if I broke my big toe.
I really wasn’t expecting a mere dancing show to be brimming with so many emotions and expressions. Each dancer was beautifully moving to a melodious folklore music and their faces gave away some of the deepest emotions I had ever seen. They clapped their hands, kicked their feet, and snap their fingers in a rhythmic manner that made me sway in my seat. Flamenco is definitely a unique art that is capable of transferring all kinds of emotions and sensations—from passion and love to resilience and strength.
What is Flamenco?
Almost every culture has their own traditional dance and music, and some of them manage to stand out in the world. Flamenco happens to be one of those art-form based musical traditions. Originated in Southern Spain, the dance performance involves a combination of cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance), jaleo (vocalizations and chorus), palmas (clapping) and pitos (finger snapping). Phew, that’s a lot of stuff in just one show! While it is of Spanish origin, influences of Moorish culture, gypsies, Middle East, and Latin America can be seen as well.
Flamenco can be many things. It can be romantic, seductive and entertaining. The performers wear vibrant colors and flouncy dresses that move flawlessly as they swing to music. I was surprised to learn that most of the traditional dancers, particularly older ones, are not professionally trained in Flamenco. The art has been passed down in a family for generations.
Even though Barcelona is swarming with tourists and the shows have somewhat lost its essence over the years, you can still see the authentic spirit of Flamenco dancing in Barcelona. Here are my top picks:
4 Best Flamenco Dancing Shows in Barcelona
Tablao de Carmen
Paying homage to the great flamenco dancer, Carmen Amaya, Tablao de Carmen is one of the most renowned Flamenco theaters in Barcelona. It is the very same spot where the gypsy dancer made her striking debut before King Alfonso XII in 1929. The theatre was founded in 1988 and strives to provide top-notch shows.
During one of my visits, I learned that it is regarded as a shrine among flamenco enthusiasts. Boasting a decorative style inspired by Andalusian architecture, Tablao de Carmen presents the true variety of flamenco highlighting all of its aspects and traditions. It features two hour-long performances every night, and its ticket packages include the show with drinks, appetizers, or dinner. The dance performances exceeded my expectations and I enjoyed them to the core. The refreshments were decent, but it wasn’t the food I came for!
It’s a bonus that it’s close the magic Fountain of Monjuic, so be sure to make a stop there!
Tablao Flamenco Cordobes
Tablao Flamenco Cordobes is one of Barcelona’s most popular venues for flamenco shows. The theatre is managed by a family of artists who ensure that you have an unforgettable experience. From vocals and guitar chords to tapping of dancers’ feet and smiles, each and every move was extremely well-coordinated and mind-blowing.
Tablao Flamenco Cordobes was founded in 1970 and has managed to become the hotspot for the city’s flamenco scene. The ambience is cordial and warm with just the right dose of splendor. It is located in the famous (and very touristy) Las Ramblas boulevard where you will come across a cosmopolitan culture, a luxurious array of entertaining options, cafes, shopping centers and much more.
Palacio del Flamenco
Here you will find a fantastic fusion of flamenco and classical dance along with a great variety of food and lessons. If you have ever wanted to master the artful movements of flamenco dance, book a class at Palacio del Flamenc0, and live your dreams. Classes are available in groups as well as on individual basis. All you need to do in book 12 hours in advance!
The show itself is quite spectacular and captivating. Before it begins, guests are briefed about the history of flamenco through a short video. Food involves 8 courses and plenty of tapas, but in my opinion, most people do not come to flamenco for the food. However, if you want to enjoy a good show, Palau del Flamenco is a must-visit in Barcelona.
The Palau de la Música
At the Palau de la Música, not only you can enjoy flamenco shows, you can also explore the architectural jewel of Barcelona. The concert hall was built back in 1905 and boasts a beautiful Catalan modernista style. It has been declared World Patrimony by the UNESCO. Come and tour the hall and witness a passionate flamenco dance. The Palau de Musica holds two shows; Opera y Flamenco and Gran Gala Flamenco. Each performance is intense and touching with outstanding vocals and music. It is a must-watch whether or not you are a fan of flamenco.
A decade ago, I knew nothing about this beautiful art-form. I assumed it to be a dance like any other. How wrong I was! The flamenco shows in Barcelona completely changed my opinion. It is culture, art, entertainment and so much more. Whenever you are in Barcelona, don’t miss out on a chance to watch a flamenco performance.
In Poble Espanyol de Monjuic, by Olympic Village and a short walk from the Magic Fountain, you will find the best flamenco in Barcelona.
I made reservations for the late show starting at 10:00, which gave us just enough time to witness the famous Magic Fountain do its magic beforehand. For the record, it is way better than the Bellagio waterworks in Las Vegas.
We were graciously seated right in front of the stage, hoping this would not be like a comedy club where we become a part of the show.
There were three choices for our dining experience; just drinks for €35, tapas €45 or a full dinner €69. I opted for the tapas menu, which included drinks and dessert.
The tapas seemed never ending, I can’t even imagine having done the entire dinner. With that said, the food was just mediocre, nowhere near my new Spanish tapas standard. But, I did enjoy the cured meats and olives. We should have stopped there.
Once the show started my eyes never left the stage, mesmerized…until I needed to flag the server down for another glass of wine.
Flamenco, originating in Andalusia, is an expressive form of art combining music, song and dance. And you better check your pulse if you don’t feel the oozing passion.
The pinnacle of the show was one women leaving every emotion on the stage in a powerful series of steps.
Have you seen a Flamenco dance? Would you like to learn how to do the Flamenco dance?
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