SEVILLE - FLAMENCO
Tablaos are flamenco`s biggest venues, offering spectacular, highly choreographed extravaganzas of music and dance in specific locales where drinks and sometimes dinner is served. Seville is home to approximately half a dozen tablaos, most of which charge between 30 to 40 euros for entry (or up to 70 euros if you book dinner).
The largest a massive 400-seat, housed in a converted warehouse on the edge of the city center.
Tablao El Arenal
A smaller 110-seat capacity, corralled in a beautiful colonial building near the city`s famous bullring, the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza, where the performers dance with a little more fire in their bellies.
The Casa de la Memoria de Al-Andalus
Encased in a former Sephardic Jewish mansion in the Santa Cruz quarter, it has garnered an excellent reputation in recent years for its atmosphere and skilful musicians who are not afraid to improvise. Nightly shows, which kick off at 9 pm, take place in a glorious 18th-century patio full of eerie shadows and cascading greenery, and are complemented by hauntingly melancholic music. Tickets cost a bargain 15 euros but are popular, so book in advance.
Museo del Baile
Seville`s newest live venue, a bona fide flamenco museum set up by the celebrated Seville dancer, Cristina Hoyos in 2010. It is filled with interactive exhibits explaining the art`s history and development, and after the exhibits close at 7 pm, the central courtyard is given over to talented flamenco artists who strum and strut their way through a performance of spiraling drama. Since the museum is a favorite hangout for Seville`s arty types, the audience is often packed with enthusiastic aficionados who shout encouraging "óles” from the sidelines, willing the show to a soulful climax.
The antithesis of a tourist flamenco tablao, with cheek-to-jowl crowds, no amplification and spontaneous outbreaks of dancing. If you can squeeze in past the foreboding form of Anselma – a celebrated Triana flamenco dancer – at the door, you`ll soon realize that anything can happen in here. There`s no sign, just a doorway embellished with tiles (Calle Pagés del Corro, 49; 11:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Mon–Sat; free).
By far the best flamenco gigs in Seville are in its peñas, small private clubs conceived and maintained by aficionados dedicated to preserving the art. Tourist offices do not direct visitors towards these places primarily because they rarely offer a regular schedule of shows, but if you are lucky enough to stumble upon one, you will be experiencing flamenco at its unadulterated best – a raw, uncompromising, wonderfully uplifting spectacle where fervent artists uncover a piece of their soul in every stanza. To find a pulsating peña on any given night, you will have to rely on word-of-mouth, posters taped onto lampposts, or, even better, your own ears – simply wander Seville`s streets and let the music lure you in