Flamenco and Tapas

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Andalucía

Before seeing a live flamenco show in Spain, my limited exposure to the dance came entirely from bad television where—like most things in pop culture—it was often sexualized and did not leave much of an impression on me. I am not sure what I expected an authentic outfit to look like but upon seeing flamenco dresses in tourist shops around Sevilla, I realized that it was relatively modest. The dresses were always full length with frilly layers and half or even full sleeves. The fierceness and sexuality must come largely from the dancer’s performance then, I thought, and this intrigued me.

So, after spending an afternoon seeing the historic Alcázar, I decided it was time for some flamenco and began thinking about where to go. Besides, since the dance originated in Andalucía, going to a show in the south was often recommended in travel guides and Sevilla felt like the perfect place to do so. I ended up choosing La Casa del Flamenco in Santa Cruz for its location and affordability and it was so worth it. The performance lasted for about an hour and the dancers went through different styles of flamenco with a singer and guitarist in the background. Here’s a video taken near the end in case you missed the link last time. Awesome, no? I love how lively it is! In fact, just this weekend, my sisters and I were at a street festival here in Toronto when we came across a flamenco performance and I made them stop to watch the whole thing.

I then sat down for some tapas. At first, I thought that “tapas” referred to specific small dishes but in actuality, a tapa can be anything since it indicates the size of the serving instead of what is being served. Hence, there are hot and cold tapas and endless options. I grew to love the idea because they are perfect for when you are hungry but not too hungry and/or want to try more than one dish. I don’t remember what either of these were called but they were good!

Later that night, I went out for a walk. I headed down Calle Tetuán, one of the main pedestrian shopping streets in downtown, and while stores like ZARA were closed, the area was remarkably filled with people and not just diners. It was 10 pm yet there were old people, families, groups of friends, couples and single Sevillanos enjoying a stroll or chatting at a bench. Talk about paseo! I eventually took a seat in Plaza Nueva across the City Hall and continued people watching. There were also some kids kicking around a football to the right and a group of girls sitting on the steps near me by an equestrian statue. All in all, it was fascinating to be in a place where socializing continued so late at a communal level.

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