Where to see the best flamenco show in Madrid

Excellent, so you’ve decided to explore the world-class range of flamenco shows in Madrid and enjoy one – or perhaps more, as you’re likely to get flamenco-hooked! And now you’re wondering – where can I see the best flamenco show in Madrid?

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Donkeys, Lightning and Piranhas — Nicknames in Flamenco

Let me paint a picture. You’re so excited about seeing flamenco in Spain that you want to whet your appetite by reading about or watching YouTube videos of the artists you’ll be seeing on the night. So you start reading their names and they look like this: Antonia González “la Pescaílla Chica”, Lucía Álvarez “la Piñona”, José Carmona “Rapico”, Natalia Delmar “la Serrata”, Antonio “el Ciervo”, “Chispas”… —and you start wondering… “What’s with the quotation marks?”

Well, they’re the performers’ nicknames. Because, the thing is, nicknames are very common in flamenco. Continue reading “Donkeys, Lightning and Piranhas — Nicknames in Flamenco”

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Flamenco Season Starts in Madrid!

I count myself lucky to be excited about September each year, and this is due mainly to… well yes, flamenco! My dance and rhythm classes resume, and the calendar fills up with fantastic flamenconess around Madrid. And here are the flamenco events that most excite me this year – and some of them are free!

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What you need to know about flamenco guitar

I’ve met people who don’t love flamenco, but do love flamenco guitar. And I totally understand. I became hooked on flamenco largely because of flamenco guitar. This is how it goes: you start listening profusely to Paco de Lucía’s Entre dos aguas and next thing you know, you’re spending 90% of your waking time thinking about, practising and listening to flamenco.

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Are flamenco shows just for tourists?

“Could you please advise of a non-touristy flamenco show in Madrid?”, “I would like to experience authentic flamenco, not flamenco for tourists” and so on and so forth. I get a surprising number of these requests from my blog readers, and I think that it’s high time I addressed this controversial issue.

So here I go. Are flamenco shows just for tourists? Continue reading “Are flamenco shows just for tourists?”

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Flamenco compás — and why it’s the key to understanding flamenco

I have a confession to make. As a kid, I had this odd pastime where I would look at my watch to see the seconds count down, then look away for a couple of minutes while counting the seconds in my head, and then look back at my watch to see whether I’d stayed in time. Sounds nuts? Maybe.

A couple of decades later, I discovered flamenco, and realised that my addiction to counting seconds was actually my love of rhythm. And you can’t beat flamenco when it comes to rhythm, which in the world of flamenco we call the compás. The flamenco compás is key. It’s flamenco’s underlying driving force, its metre, and it’s oh-so-important —and can be oh-so-difficult to master. Continue reading “Flamenco compás — and why it’s the key to understanding flamenco”

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Flamenco nights: six bars in Madrid for a very flamenco evening out

Going to a tablao (flamenco venue) is a fantastic way to experience flamenco in Madrid, but not the only way. What about hitting a flamenco bar?

The experience may even prove more interactive — you may end up making friends and/or dancing flamenco yourself until it’s time to head for chocolate con churros! So, in an attempt to help you have a very flamenco night out, here are my favourite flamenco bars in Madrid — a mix of tapas bars, clubs and, well, strange holes in the wall. Get ready to have the flamenco time of your life. Continue reading “Flamenco nights: six bars in Madrid for a very flamenco evening out”

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Zambomba – or how to celebrate a flamenco Christmas

The earliest memory I have of a zambomba (or friction drum) is of my uncle Pedro playing it in a very a-musical fashion while the rest of the family sang one of the four Christmas carols that constituted our repertoire.

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A rough guide to buying flamenco shoes online

When I first started dancing flamenco in New Zealand, back in 2008 (oh, lord!), I resorted to the only pair of high-heels that had survived my move Down Under. They were fine for sevillanas, but once I started learning tangos de Málaga, and I was most definitely hooked on flamenco dancing, I decided it was time for me to invest in a pair of proper (and pricey) flamenco shoes. I had no idea where to start looking, or what exactly I was looking for. Does this ring a bell? Let me tell you how to go about buying Spanish flamenco shoes online (from anywhere in the world).

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Flamenco shows in Madrid – October 2015

There aren’t enough evenings in a week – or euros in my bank account  for the fantastic flamenco shows and recitals programmed for this October in Madrid. These are the shows that I wouldn’t want to miss, ideally – but most of which, alas, I realistically will miss!

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Where to take flamenco dance classes in Madrid

Whether you’re continuing your love affair with flamenco dancing or just starting, there are endless options for flamenco dance classes in Madrid. The wide range of teachers and schools that a Google search will throw up can be a bit overwhelming  so let me give you a few clues that will hopefully guide you through the maze.

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Suma Flamenca festival in Madrid – my picks

It’s advertised everywhere in Madrid – on huge banners in the Metro, on bus stops, in the mainstream media and of course through specialised flamenco channels. Suma Flamenca, Madrid’s most important flamenco festival, is upon us. The month-long festival boasts more than 300 shows and concerts during June in different venues throughout the capital. And with such a huge program, choosing what to see can prove a tad overwhelming. So let me help you out with a few recommendations.

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What is flamenco? A brief introduction

So, what is flamenco? That’s a big question. Let me give you a brief-ish answer. Flamenco is folk music from Spain. It developed in Andalusia over centuries, and took its current form in the 18th century. Its origins are still murky, as there isn’t much documentation about the early forms this music took.

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