Experiencing Flamenco in Sevilla

After choosing Sevilla as a destination city for our trip, we knew that a Flamenco show was on the top of our “things to do” list.  In fact, it’s really the only thing I knew about Sevilla prior to planning our trip, and I was really looking forward to an entertaining show.  

We looked into different options before our trip – a show with dinner, a show without dinner, an impromptu show at a local bar.  After looking through reviews on Trip Advisor and recommendations in the Rick Steves’ Spain guidebook, we decided that Casa de la Memoria de Al-Andalus was the show for us.  The show lasts one hour and is held in an open air courtyard (shown to the right, from here) accommodating 90 seats.  It is only the show – no dinner or drinks – so you are able to completely enjoy the music and dancing.  

There are performances every night at 21:00 and earlier or later shows might be added if demand is high (both nights we were in Sevilla there was an additional show at 22:30).  The show costs 15 euros, which is a steal for such an intimate flamenco show.  We went by the ticket office on Sunday, wanting to get tickets for the 21:00 show that night.  Unfortunately it was sold out, and not wanting to go to the later show, we purchased tickets for Monday night’s 21:00 show.  The ticket office and courtyard (same place) are in the Santa Cruz neighborhood, so it was very convenient for us to stop by on the way to our hotel from a day of exploring. 

Overall it was a positive experience and I would recommend this particular venue.  I would also recommend arriving early (doors open 30 minutes prior to the show).  We walked in about 5-7 minutes prior to the start of the show, and almost every single seat was already taken.  We were lucky to get sits next to each other, although separated by the air conditioner (which was great because it was very hot), even if they were in the third row.  Since the venue is so small, there really is not a bad seat unless you are directly behind a column.  In fact, I would recommend the third row over the first row, because we were able to stand during the performance and see over the heads of the people in the first and second rows.

The show started out a few minutes after 21:00 with a guitarist and singer on the small stage.  The acoustics in the courtyard were great, and the music sounded fantastic.  The singer showed a lot of emotion and had a beautiful voice, but we couldn’t help but feel a bit slighted by the lack of flamenco dancing.  Finally, a male dancer joined the singer and guitarist on stage and he danced for a few songs. After that, he left, and we listened to a guitar solo until a female dancer came out to dance to a few songs.  We were very disappointed because she was not in the traditional dress – perhaps we are stereotyping, but it seems like all of the advertisements displayed women in the showy and flowing dress, like in the picture to the left.  Instead, she was wearing black pants and a black shirt.  I was extremely impressed with her fancy footwork (the male dancer was also impressive, but I expected that!) and I will admit that the dress may have possibly added a distraction.  

The two dancers danced together for the last 5-10 minutes, and it was a much more lively show at that point.  It was a great finale and I would have loved to see more of them dancing together.  Their chemistry was great and the dance moves and sounds of tapping feet were even more spectacular when both dancers were together.   

It would be a mistake not to go to a flamenco show while visiting Sevilla.  Casa de la Memoria is fantastic for a first-timer or someone looking for a more intimate show.  It allowed us to see the flamenco dancers up close and personal and we were not subjected to subpar food at a dinner show (which we were worried about).  It was a very memorable introduction to flamenco, and we will definitely see another show the next time we are in Sevilla.

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