The Best Flamenco in Seville!
Why You Should Experience Flamenco in Seville
Flamenco is potent and intoxicating. As you're sitting in the crowd, you're essentially at the mercy of the performers as they more or less hypnotize you, and I'm not exaggerating.
They start with the traditional structure and then proceed to blow your mind with creativity and spontaneity. What really seals the deal for me is that I know I could see the same show each and every single night with the same performers, and it would always be different and have a different feel.
In Seville, it's certainly possible to attend a Flamenco show that is heavily scripted and rehearsed, but if you've got your eyes and ears open, it's easy to get your hands on a ticket to a performance that oozes authenticity.
Flamenco is a wild mixture of rapid guitar, guttural and passionate singing, dancing with an emphasis on the tapping of the feet, rhythmic clapping, sporadic finger snapping, and vocalizations and encouraging incantations.
It is an Andalusian cultural tradition influenced by many of the region’s cultures throughout history, including Romani, Moors, and Sephardic Jews. Having lived in Turkey, I could hear the Islamic influence on the way in which the voice was utilized, much like the imams with their call to prayer.
A Flamenco show is an intense emotional experience. Performers are passionate and improvisation is a key element of Flamenco. At the show that I went to, there were moments where things reached such a head that I was sure I was about to witness my first live spontaneous combustion. I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of the 90-minute Flamenco show.
Flamenco for me is an art form which shows what you can accomplish when you're willing to take aspects from a variety of cultures and make something truly unique.
What really seals the deal for me is that I know I could see the same show each and every single night with the same performers, and it would always be different and have a different feel.
Types of Flamenco Shows in Seville
A “tablao” is a space where Flamenco is performed and Seville has several large tablao that seat more than 100 people. Shows in these larger venues are more likely to be scripted and rehearsed with less improvisation and spontaneity.
You are most likely to find the best Flamenco performances at smaller dedicated establishments with an intimate space where performers can be heard without artificial amplification. A smaller room creates a better atmosphere that helps the audience connect with the performers. This is your best bet for a quality, authentic Flamenco show.
Some Flamenco shows in Seville offer a dinner theatre format that serve food and drinks during the show. This is a popular option, especially for large group tours. It creates a vibrant atmosphere, but also adds a tremendous amount of distractions for both the audience and performers, that diminishes the experience.
Cafes and Bars
Some cafes and bars in Seville provide entertainment to their patrons by hiring Flamenco artists to perform. While a traditional Flamenco show has a minimum of four performers -- a guitarist, a singer, and both male and female dancers -- in this type of setting you are likely to see a simpler show with fewer performers.
This can be a good option if you are short on time in Seville, or if your appetite for Flamenco is for simply a taste of it rather than a full meal.
Local enthusiasts go to Flamenco clubs that the tourist office won’t tell you about because of their erratic schedules. If you can snag an invite to one of these private clubs, go!
The Very Best Flamenco in Seville
I recommend Casa de la Memoria for the best Flamenco in Seville. The price is under 20 euros and the venue is decidedly intimate. There are two shows each night, one at 19:30 and one at 21:00. I suggest getting there at least 15-20 minutes early as you want to be sure you get a spot on the ground floor, not the second floor.
The room barely holds 75 or so people, so arriving early is essential. Also, you all, my readers, know me well enough to know that I always disclose who I'm working with - I'm endorsing this place completely of my own volition.
I did a fair bit of research to figure out which Seville Flamenco show spoke to me. It was important to me to have the best Flamenco show I could possibly find. I leafed through guide books, took a peek at TripAdvisor, and consulted friends who knew the city intimately. I decided that I didn't want to do a dinner show (though I have heard positive things about that), as I wanted to be fully entranced by the experience without distractions.
That's precisely what happens if Flamenco is done right - your mind is sucked into the present, regardless of what happened an hour before you arrived or what you've got planned an hour after. The emotional buy-in from those on stage is almost ridiculous.
The Flamenco show at Casa de la Memoria lived up to all my expectations and then some.
It looks like they're performing the show for the first time in their lives after practicing for ten years, when in reality it may not even be their first show of the day.
More Flamenco Shows in Seville
I don’t have personal experience with the following spots for Flamenco in Seville, but I’ve heard good things about them:
La Casa del Flamenco puts on a quality performance
Casa de la Guitarra offers an up-close, new-age style show
Museo del Balle Flamenco is a museum as well as a performance venue
Tablao El Arenal puts on a fiery performance in a beautiful colonial building
I hope that these tips help you find the best Seville Flamenco experience for you!
Have you been to Seville? What did you think? Did you attend a Flamenco show? How was it? Did you attend a show that I didn't recommend that you would? Any and all comments about Seville, Flamenco, and anything in between are welcome below. You guys know that I read and respond to each and every comment.
If you're into more than flamenco in Seville, you may also like this "One Day in Seville" guide!