Even in the Land of Flamenco––Seville, Spain––there exists a hierarchy of flamenco shows. Some are geared to tourists, pairing tapas and requisite pitchers of sangria to showy acts.
For a flamenco experience that is wholly authentic to the soul of this trenchant art form, try El Museo del Baile Flamenco: The Museum of Flamenco Dance, founded in 2006. The museum is the first and primary museum for flamenco in the world.
Spread over three floors of an 18-century palace, the museum is a short distance from Plaza Alfalfa, located deep within Seville’s maze of winding streets. The best strategy for locating the building is to head to Plaza Alfalfa, and from there, ask locals to direct your path.
Flamenco choreography, deconstructed
Large screen projections that detail Flamenco dance moves are displayed on one floor of the interactive museum, along with period props and costumes, such as dresses, shoes, hats, suits and castanets. A bookstore sells music, jewelry, shawls, and costumes.
Founder Cristina Hoyos considers the museum as her “living room,” one that presents flamenco in a “playful and entertaining way,” and in six different languages. Accompanied by the music of Manolo Sanlúcar, flamenco choreography is dissected, step-by-step, lending visitors a more thorough understanding of this passionate dance form.
The main attraction: the stage of course, and the incomparable dancing, paired with a guitarist and singer. Nightly concerts (€20 adults) are held at 7 and 8:45 p.m. A museum and performance ticket costs €24 for adults. A courtyard bar sells sangria and other drinks. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Hoyos began dancing at age 12 in the children’s show “Galas Juveniles.” Highlights of her long career include: the top-rated 1983 Paris production of Carmen, in which she played the lead role; various film and television roles; her 1996 choreography “Cuadro Flamenco,” with sets designed by Picasso for the Opera of Nice; and her performance in the opening and closing ceremonies for the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Hoyos was recently appointed as director of the Seville-based Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía.
After show dining
Don Juan de Alemanes, an easy stroll from the Museum of Flamenco Dance, is located adjacent to Seville’s cathedral. Set along a string of shops, the courtyard-style interior is done in a Parisian Art Nouveau style, and is matched by sidewalk tables with cathedral views.
Extensive displays of desserts are found in the courtyard interior, and are matched with a traditional tapas menu, along with such intriguing experiments as black sushi, a clam dish set on a bed of coconut rice topped with pesto and fine herbs, and risotto with Iberian ham. Dinners range in cost from €15 to €25.
Owner Pedro Robles heads the family enterprise, Robles Restaurants, which dates to 1935.
- The Museum of Flamenco Dance, Calle Manuel Rojas Marcos 3
- Don Juan de Alemanes, Calle Alemanes, 7
- For more information on touring Spain, visit the country’s tourism website.