Guitar workshop in Madrid - Private flamenco tour

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. Just like that!


Flamenco poster from 19th century featuring artists' nicknames

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. (more…)

Metronome to measure the flamenco compás

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. (more…)

Interior of Taberna Sanlúcar

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. (more…)

Heel range at Gallardo's

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).


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.