Flamenco is a form of musical expression that is thought to have originated from the gypsies. During the time of the Spanish inquisition, when the king and queen of Spain were attempting to convert Spain's population to Catholicism, the Moorish occupants of Spain and the gypsies were forced to hide. To express the harshness of their lives at this time, they began to sing.
Flamenco today is both a form of song, and dance and music (usually the guitar). In a Madrid Flamenco show you will usually see all three elements, played out by a variety of performers. The dancing is forceful and passionate, and the melody of the songs is often full of painful expression. You should find the combination of the music, song and dance, and the feeling that is put into flamenco, quite a moving experience.
Below is a list of some of the places that offer flamenco as entertainment. If a venue is especially designed for a Madrid flamenco show, with a stage and nightly performances, it is called a 'tablao.'
Taberna de los Gabrieles
Calle de Echegaray, 17
28014 Madrid, España.
Tel: +34 91 429 6261
Metro: Sevilla (Red Line, L2)
You'll sometimes find Flamenco shows here on Tuesdays, although they are not every week, so check with the bar first. This is an authentic bar, with the walls covered in painted tiles and it has a friendly feel. Originally it attracted bullfighters and it was a centre for intellectual debates known as 'tertulias'.
If you're at a Madrid flamenco show, you should always check if you are permitted to take photographs or make videos. Most establishments don't object, but there is the odd one that does.
It may also depend on who is performing. As a general rule, try not to use flash photography as it can distract the artist.
Also bear in mind that most people who love flamenco are passionate about it, and may not appreciate interruptions from the flash of a camera.
Don't talk or make a sound during a flamenco performance. Any noise will be met with a harsh 'shhh' from other audience members. It is acceptable to shout 'Olé', but to know the correct moment to do this is important, so as not to disrupt the show, and is best left to the aficionados in the audience.
You'll find lots of Madrid flamenco shows where you can also get food. If you look for a venue that calls itself a 'tablao', then as a rule, these places also have the option of a full sit down meal before the performance. If you go to a bar, then you will probably be able to order a few small plates of tapas. Always book your meal in advance, as the restaurants get full all year round.
If you go and see a Madrid flamenco show you have the option of ordering a meal first, if you go to a 'tablao'. There are also many bars that offer live flamenco performances. Madrid is the centre of flamenco in Spain and you'll see that there are lots of performances to choose from. Flamenco has been around for many years, and today it combines song, music and dance, resulting in a powerful and emotional performance that is unique to Spain.