Last year’s adventure to Madrid was so much more than I had bargained for, and I am so grateful to the city for welcoming two friends and me, and giving us a much needed escape from our realities for a few days.
Now, with most of my Spanish experiences being either fleeting moments in Barcelona, or lazy days spent on beaches in resort towns, my experience of flamenco is brief, cheesey and loud. As a child I remember being thrilled to participate in a flamenco workshops held by some of the hotel staff, and loved watching the dancers clap as their heels click clack against the floorboards. I would come home from each holiday, dig out an old casette tape owned by my grandparents of flamenco music and dance endlessly around their living room to it. I mean, I say dance, it was mostly a lot of six-year-old stomping in vague time to the music and playing with the castanets I had bought with my pocket money. However, it was done with passion and love. I was obsessed.
Therefore, when I realised we could fall into one of the few proper tourist traps in Madrid, and go see a full length flamenco show, I knew I had to persuade my companions to come along with me. The brilliant It’s Just Becks is a seasoned pro at finding deals for flamenco shows and before long we had a reasonably priced ticket in our hands for one of the best reviewed shows in town, Teatro Flamenco Madrid. It’s easy to get to if you’re based around the Sol area of the city, and offers a variety of shows and timings to suit when you’re available. You can also book your ticket to include a drink which we did, and decided it was the idea moment to sample some sangria whilst enjoying the show. Of course, this is a very tourist friendly and staged version of flamenco and I’m under no illusions that this is the authentic flamenco experience, but it was a huge step up from 20-minutes in a hotel bar and I was immediately enthralled.
We saw their current show, Emotions, which runs every day of the year and boy oh, boy, is it aptly named. The theatre space itself is dark, moody and styled in cabaret seating so that you and your companions can huddle around a dimly lit table with your drinks before the show. The lights then dim and a solo guitarist arrives on stage, his fingers moving so fast across the strings that you can hardly believe he has time to play them. The electricity of live music takes you over, and then when two more musicians appear and start singing, mere feet from you, you are immersed in the action and power of emotions. Bear in mind, this is before any dancing has even begun. Once the dancing begins you are powerless to the heavy steps which shake the room, the light tapping the speed and the precision of every movement. Flamenco demonstrates beautifully why dance can be so impactful – the feather light moments, the intimacy, the spark flying from dancer to dancer, dancer to audience and dancer to musician. As we hear so often, where words may fail us, music and dance can guide us on. Maybe it was the sangria (it was particularly tasty that night) but I loved every moment of the show and as we left the theatre I was filled with that same buzz I had experienced at six-years-old when first hearing the click clack of flamenco shoes on a stage. Of course, it also didn’t hurt that it’s incredibly hard to not fall a tiny bit in love with someone who is that skilled on guitar.
In terms of ticket prices I would recommend for anything big and touristy like a flamenco show you look online for GroupOn deals or similar. Be aware, be cautious and do your research but you should be able to find a discount here and there which will make everything much more affordable. I have to say, Madrid was not as pricey as I was anticipating with regard to food and drink when out and about so I was happy to use some of the money I had budgeted for that, on this experience. However, current prices (a table seat including a drink per person) are as follows:
Adult 40 €
Student, Senior or Madrid Resident 31 €
Children (6-12yrs) 24 €
Children under 6 yrs Free
So yes, if you don’t do your research you can easily be spending a pretty penny on this kind of experience but do some digging, check nearby hotel lobbies for flyers and coupons, it all pays off when you’re able to do something a little bit fancy with your friends. Plus, when you see how much effort the performers put into this show (which they perform twice a day, every day) you will know it is worth it!
This post was written regarding a pre-Covid-19 travel experience and it is recommended you check local and international travel and movement guidance before embarking on any of the experiences written about in this post. Fingers crossed one day soon we are able to travel and see so many exciting things together.