The word ‘Flamenco’ brings bright, definite images to mind, such as red, swirling, lively and graceful. Almost always associated with Spain, Flamenco is a music and dance, featuring women and men in gorgeous costume dress, heating up the floor with stylized spins and strong, willowy movements. There is no better place to experience this phenomenon than Madrid, a city big on Flamenco.
Imagine indulging in dinner cuisine fit for royalty, all authentic and prepared by the finest chefs the city has to offer. After the hunger has been sated, you steady yourself for the emotional rollercoaster that is Flamenco, dance and song born of negative trials transformed into a positive experience. It is rather like the American blues, singing pain, but with accompanying dance in cultural expression. Flamenco restaurant El Corral de la Morería lies in the heart of Madrid, next to the Royal Palace, and boasts the best shows in the city. Many celebrities have visited this venue and embraced the atmosphere, including Mariah Carrey, Kurt Douglas, and Marlon Brando.
Perhaps you’d rather start your evening with this powerful and moving display without an entire meal to preface it. Relax with a glass of wine and some Spanish appetizers, or tapas, at La Torre del Oro or Viña Pe. Enjoy one of the most authentic shows in the area at Casa Patas, a restaurant that consistently receives highest acclaim in the guidebooks.
For a tavern tablaos, that is, a Flamenco venue, there is only one Cardamomo, a true purveyor of the art that is Flamenco. This bar draws a knowledgeable crowd for the amazing live performances that begin around 10:30 p.m. every weekend. These shows feature the guitar maestro and cantaor, or singer, prominently, for it’s to these sounds the dancers respond with passion and practiced elegance.
One of the greatest new venues for Flamenco dancers, or bailadores, is Las Tablas. This is not a restaurant where a meal comes first and the floorshow afterwards; there is no pressure to buy food, although it’s available. Simply, it spotlights a dancer named Antonia Moya, renowned for her backing work for other great dancers. Las Tablas also draws in the celebrity crowd of the Flamenco realm, showcasing guest talent, as well.
While it seems to draw a larger tourist crowd than local, Las Carboneras is still near the top of the Flamenco aficionado’s list. The exhibition here is extremely good and spirited, with fine meals. Its home is the center of medieval Madrid, which helps set the mood and ambiance for an unforgettable night of cultural immersion.
Flamenco is a kind of interpretive dance, rich in historical significance and hailing from the Andalusian gypsies. Its importance to the Spanish culture is evident in the very serious manner in which Flamenco is taken; it is not something to be dismissed, but a true and passionate art form. If you want to understand Spain, you must understand and experience Flamenco, a cultural heritage. Indulge in and appreciate this incredible spirit of the Spanish people, enjoying a sumptuous meal at the same time you soak in the sights and sounds of live Flamenco.