I get inquiries all of the time about where to see flamenco in Madrid. Many people pass through Spain's capital on there on their way to the Flamenco Tour to Jerez. Others want to know because they’re planning a vacation to Spain on their own.
It’s pretty easy to find places to see flamenco in Madrid. The challenge is knowing where to find quality flamenco. (Yes, you can see plenty of mediocre flamenco even in Spain, and if you’re in Spain, you definitely want to see the good stuff!) So today I'll tell you about four places you can go to see quality flamenco in Madrid, show you some videos of fantastic dancers in action, and address the idea of the 'touristy' flamenco show.
The Flamenco Tablao
One of the best ways to experience flamenco in Madrid is to visit a tablao, a place where flamenco is performed. Here are five tablaos where you can (usually) count on seeing good flamenco in Madrid:
I’ve been to all except Cardamomo and seen great shows at each one.
Casa Patas: Here’s a video clip I posted of Concha Jareño from when Ricardo took us to see her at Casa Patas last November after the Flamenco Tour to Jerez. One of my favorite experiences there was when Ricardo hooked us up to see José Maldonado perform in the spring of 2015. So good! Here he is dancing at Tablao Villa Rosa. And check out Zorri’s granddaughter Saray (whom Zorri once took us to see at a tablao in Jerez) dancing at Casa Patas.
Las Carboneras: When I saw Amador Rojas perform at Las Carboneras he accidentally hit one of the lights during his solo, and the film came out, so he grabbed it and just began improvising with it. I love this spontaneous aspect of the tablao. The evening was doubly exciting because that night Marco Flores was there watching him perform. (Watch Amador dancing with Ana Morales at Casa Patas. And here are clips of Manuel Liñan and Marco Flores at Las Carboneras.)
Tablao Villa Rosa: You can read about when I saw Manuel Liñan perform at Tablao Villa Rosa here. Oh, and out of these four tablaos, this is the only one I've eaten at. The food was pretty good though pricey. My favorite plate was the parillada de verduras (grilled vegetables).
Corral de la Morería: I saw Inmaculada Ortega at Corral de la Morería years ago. The crowd was into it, and she delivered! (Definitely check out this snippet of Lucía Campillo performing there the other night and this one of Jesús Carmona there.)
Cardamomo: This tablao has been around for 25 years and strives to bring the high quality artists to the stage each night. I have not been personally, but it has been recommended to me by students, readers and friends, and they have been know to host top-notch artists such as Juan Andrés Maya, Paloma Fantova, and Macarena Ramírez.
I Heard That Tablaos Are For Tourists
You may have heard that tablaos are touristy places. True. But that doesn't make them bad or mean that you're not going to get a good show there. Oftentimes, as I mentioned above, well-known flamencos will be there as spectators watching and supporting their friends. A tablao offers an authentic Spanish flamenco experience. It's important to pick a reputable place, and you can see the best of the best performing up close and giving it their all (as you'll see in the videos to follow) in the four tablaos listed above.
Dinner at the Tablao
You can eat at the tablaos though I usually prefer to have dinner elsewhere before or after the show. This allows for a more affordable meal and more choice in what to eat. If you don't want to have to worry about finding dinner or prefer to stay in one spot, you can choose to eat directly at the tablao before seeing the show.
A Show in Action
Here are some photos I took at Casa Patas of Concha Jareño, Águeda Saavedra, Adrián Santana, Gabriel de Pies Plomo, Jesule de Utrera, José Luís Medina, and 'Bandilero.' Following, you can see video performances from each of the above mentioned tablaos.
Casa Patas: (Pastora Galván)
Las Carboneras: (Águeda Saavedra)
Tablao Villa Rosa: (Marco Flores)
Corral de la Morería: (Manuel Liñan)
Cardamomo: (Claudia La Debla)
Other Flamenco Performance Options
Before you head to Madrid, I suggest doing a search for shows because you might get lucky and catch a good performance in one of the theaters there. This really just depends upon when you're going to be in town. The good news about the tablao is that no matter when you go, you'll have the option to see multiple shows each night.
What About You?
Where do you like to see flamenco in Madrid? Have you been to any of the four tablaos I mentioned? What was your experience like? Have a favorite Madrid tablao video? Please share in the comments below.
EDIT: Upon doing some additional research I added Tablao Cardamomo after it was recommended by various readers and friends I respect.