How important is flamenco in Madrid? While being typical of Andalucía, a region located in the South of Spain, the city has a long tradition of appreciating this art form.
As a matter of fact, many of the most talented flamenco performers blossom in Madrid, going on to become world-renowned.
No wonder why many aficionados consider Madrid the capital of flamenco…
Apart from dancing, flamenco is also known for other expression forms: singing and guitar playing.
Additionally, flamenco is a state of mind. It’s a powerful art that usually conveys deep emotions such as pain and sadness.
Actually, the main purpose of the artist is to connect with the audience creating such a bond that he or she will helplessly accept. If not, the artist fails. It’s an art that you can only love or hate.
Where can you see flamenco in Madrid?
Did you know that some of the most important flamenco festivals and events (e.g. the Suma Flamenca festival) take place in Madrid?
Fortunately, you don’t need to wait for a big festival to enjoy a real flamenco show in Madrid. You can go to one of these places instead:
- A tablao flamenco where you’ll see a full show including music, singing and dancing.
- A small venue where flamenco shows are performed.
- A flamenco bar where the performance is completely improvised.
Some say that tablaos are just for tourists, and while it is true that you will find tourists in every show, tourists also fill the Prado Museum day after day and no one complains about that. Inform yourself well and go to shows where a good flamenco performance is guaranteed.
Alternatively, you can go to an intimate show where classic flamenco recitals take place without microphones or amplification. An experience not to be missed.
What is the best flamenco show in Madrid?
I’m sure that this question has just come to your mind, hasn’t it?
Or you have already tried the obvious: googling the best shows in Madrid only to end up with hundreds of results. After all, considering the Madrid offers a wide range of options, it would be hard to expect otherwise.
So here are the good news…
You don’t need to search for anything or take any decision because I’ve done the hard work for you.
How to enjoy flamenco dancing in Madrid
As I mentioned before, Madrid offers a vast array of flamenco show options and not all are equally authentic. Consequently, finding a genuine, high-quality show can sometimes be a little tricky.
And yes, there are a few tourist traps that you should stay away from…
So what should you look for? Are there any tips or hints that you should follow when choosing a flamenco show?
Yes indeed, and I have listed them all in the following insider guide!
Take flamenco dance lessons in Madrid
Immerse yourself in Spanish culture and take flamenco dance lessons in Madrid.
You can learn the basic steps of flamenco and put them into practice in a very simple piece of choreography. The idea is to learn the basic steps of the dance, including hand movements, and how to mark the rhythm through clapping.
It is the perfect chance to meet locals, get a glimpse of flamenco behind the scenes and get to know more about flamenco music as well.
Flamenco history and origins
Finding flamenco’s origin story is somewhat challenging.
The flamenco we know and love today began in Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz and Seville. It began in the ballrooms, quickly garnering attention, especially from the elite of the time.
The golden age of flamenco is usually considered to be the period between roughly 1780 and 1845. Singing, together with only rhythmical clapping of the hands, was then the primary aspect of flamenco, dancing and musical accompaniment being secondary.
What had been an essentially outdoor, outsider, family-oriented activity that focused on cante was transformed beginning in 1842, when Silverio Franconetti founded the first café cantante, Café sin Nombre, in Seville. Flamenco dance arrived to its climax, being the major attraction for the public of those cafés cantantes.
What are the different flamenco styles?
Flamenco has different influences, consists of different cultures, was born in the social working classes and was a spontaneous way to express their feelings of their daily life.
But just like any other musical genre, flamenco has different styles.
The traditional flamenco styles are called palos, which you could translate as sticks. I know it sound weird but it has a simple explanation.
Think of a tree. A tree has branches, a trunk and roots, right? Same for Flamenco: it has its roots that are passed on by different cultures and the branches of flamenco are the different palos.
There can be dozens of palos. Each palo is categorized into a specific group depending on the rhythm, the lyrics, the meaning and its origin.
Flamenco is made of 3 different art forms
Flamenco is not just one performing art form, but several of them, which are included under the umbrella name of flamenco.
The different performing arts are:
- Cante or singing. The cantaor or cantaora is the leader of the group and marks the rhythm and intensity of the performance.
- Baile or dancing. The bailaor or bailaora is a synonym of elegance, grace and temper.
- Toque or playing the guitar. The artist ability is challenged by the cantaor who imposes the rhythm and sentiment.
Each one of these aspects of flamenco is a distinct art form in its own right.
Flamenco in Madrid: glossary of terms
If you’re new to the wonderful world of flamenco, then you may need a little help getting to grips with the language and terminology of the art.
Here’s a handy list of basic flamenco terms and phrases for you to learn.
It will surely prove to be helpful if you intend to take flamenco dance lessons in Madrid and you have no clue what your teacher is talking about.