I love asking flamenco artists I admire what advice they have to offer to the flamenco student. Here are thirteen suggestions from some of the best:
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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 four tablaos where you can (usually) count on seeing good flamenco in Madrid:
On the wall of her studio Mercedes has a photo of herself with Marco Flores when they were young. I wish you could see it. In the interview that follows Marco mentions how they danced together when they were starting out. They still do.
You'll also find out about how Marco grew up with flamenco in his family, how he began his career, and about his process of creation. He even shares some direct tips for us as students, though bits of advice can be found in all of his responses.
I originally posted it in 2011 and repost it today after watching snippets of his latest espectáculo from the 2014 Jerez Festival. Oh how I want to see that show! Further down you'll see a video of him dancing solo por siguiriyas.
Some good things have happened since my trip began. And I've already learned something very important. A story and a video of Manuel Liñan dancing.
On Monday I went to the Portland airport.
I befriended the woman standing behind me in the security line who, as it turns out, I already knew. We talked and I told her about my trip. She told me it was going to be great even though I was scared that everything would fall apart. She also told me I would definitely organize more...
On Tuesday I arrived in Madrid.
It was sunny and the sky was blue. I was in Spain and happy.
Now I am in Jerez. It is rainy and the sky is grey. I am still in Spain. I am still happy.
Find out what Marco Flores had to say in March during the 2011 Festival de Jerez about his life as a flamenco dancer. (I have a lot to thank this guy for - Aside from being a wonderfully inspiring teacher, Marco helped make it possible for me to travel to Spain this year. - ¡Muchos besos para Marco! - Were it not for his letter of recommendation, I'm not sure I would have received the RACC grant to study in Jerez. Gracias Marco por eso, por tu arte, por las buenas clases y por ser una gran inspiración y persona.
February 26 Saturday Our first day of classes...Nervous as ever to go to Manuel Liñan's class, and I think my nerves were contagious. Sorry, Heather. We were like eager kindergartners on the first day of school arriving 20 minutes early, the first ones there, I don't know if I've ever been the first to arrive. Actually, Manolillo was there and even said hi - we soooo enjoyed class. Went to find the supermarket afterward, and on the way (I hadn't put my jacket on yet; it was warm and we'd just worked hard!) I pass an older woman on the street. Without making eye contact she looks at my clothes and says, "Hija, hace calor pero tampoco para irte así" Haha, I love Spain! Went home to make lunch, rest a bit and review what we'd learned in class. Then off to afternoon class with Marco Flores. Was wonderful to see him again and to thank him in person for the letter of invitation he wrote me to come to the festival.