If you think there is only one type of Flamenco in Spain you’d be wrong. As a trained dancer in more contemporary dances all I knew of flamenco was what was taught at one of the many dance schools I attended; red dresses with polk dots and a rather large fan. My trip to Spain however taught me that although Flamencos was heavily influenced by the French Ballet it can be performed in varying intensities.
The Flamenco that is danced inside small white caves in Granada I would describe as having a more leisurely and adagio pace. The space felt cramped not only because of the amount of people they crammed into such a small space, but because the dancers took turns sitting and waiting for their turn to perform just to the left of the stage. I did not enjoy this Flamenco as it lacked, in my opinion, the emotion and intensity I was expecting and it did not hold my attention. The performance was accompanied by plenty of wine and a stage lit with color changing lights like a cheap ploy to get you to “look over here!”
Seville though, oh Seville delivered! There’s a clear reason why Seville has it’s own Museo del Baile Flamenco and dance academy because after you see one show you’ll want to learn this performing art too. The Seville performance was held in a large atrium, the center piece of the museum which was built inside of an 18th century building on the foundations of a Roman temple, on a raised all black stage. The show began with a single female dancer performing in a beautifully adorned black outfit with lace detailing accompanied by beautiful guitar music that slowly built to a greater intensity in response to the dancer’s movements. Then a male dancer performed solo, highlighting the pronounced differences in female and male Flamenco movements. The whole show reached a climax, after a quick costume change for both dancers, in a battle of marked and precise movements perfectly complemented with guitar and intense shouts and wails of tragic agony intermixed with a story of a love lost performed by the guitarist. It was truly one of the most beautiful dance shows I have ever seen.