A Night of Flamenco

22 Nov

After our short nap, our last night in Granada was spent at a Flamenco show, which I thoroughly enjoyed. While we had a small problem arriving to the show, because the bus that bus was supposed to pick us up never came. Instead, we had to take a taxi, which the owner of the Flamenco show paid for. Driving up the narrow road to the location of the show was a harrowing experience. The taxi driver sped up and down the narrow one-way streets, sometimes in the wrong direction. At least a couple of times the taxi driver had to back up, because traffic in the right direction was approaching him. As we climbed higher and higher, we periodically could see the not-so-far-away lit-up Alhambra. While in the taxi, Marlene told me that the venue was in a cave, that Spanish gypsies come from Egypt, that the word, gypsy comes from Egypt, which I already knew from reading Shakespeare, in particularly “Antony and Cleopatra,” and that Flamenco originated from Spanish gypsies.

Finally we arrived to the venue, the Venta El Gallo. We still had to climb up a narrow path first with steps and then an incline. The taxi driver led the way. When we entered the venue, the taxi driver was paid and we waited in the lobby and dining area for the next show to begin. A hostess sat us down at table and offered us free drinks, while we waited. Marlene and I each ordered water with gas. Soon after we sat down, a crowd of about 30 people came in and were also waiting for the next show to begin.

When the previous show ended, because we were already in the venue, we were the first escorted to the front of the showroom and stage. Three other Spanish-speaking tourists asked if they could sit with us and we agreed, since three vacant seats were available. The showroom probably sat no more than 60 people, with about six seats to a row with about 10 rows.

When we sat down I noticed already on stage was a little girl of about seven and an adult male guitar player, who was warming up by practicing. The child sat on the left side of the stage and the guitar player sat it the back, left of center. Then after a short while, three flamenco dancers walked from the rear to the stage, followed by two other women, who were the singers. The two singers sat to the right of the guitar player. The singers sang in a manner, which reminded me of Jewish davening or Islamic praying.

For the first set, the three dancers, whose skin were a dark olive, first danced together and then separately. Each in turn, when finished would sit down on the same side of the child. The youngest of three dancers was probably in her early 20s. She was the first to dance and probably danced the longest of the three. By the time she finished, she her skin shined from perspiration and was still perspiring profusely. The man danced second. He was probably about 30 and dressed in black. When he started, he had a jacket on, but during his dancing, he flung it to the side. When he finished, he picked up his jacket. The third dancer was probably in her middle 40s. I remember seeing her after the previous show walking past me. She also on two occasions was able to jump into the air and was the only one of the three who jumped into the air. I got the impression the dancing, as well as the singing and music, was improvised. While one dancer was on stage, the other dancers would clap to the music including the girl. The two singers would rotate singing and when one was singing the other was also clapping to the music.

The dancers would swerve the bodies sensually. At other times, they would tap their boots building to a crescendo. After about 45 minutes, the first set was done. After a break of about 15 minutes, the second set began. Each of the three dancers again danced in turn. I noticed during the second set that the girl would occasionally speak to the older female dancer. It looked like the girl was getting advice. After the three older dancers were done, the young girl danced. She was so limber that she could bend backwards much further than the three adults, who danced before her. When she was finished, the whole audience was ecstatic, including me. Marlene stood up and was yelling, “Bravo, Bravo,” but Marlene was not alone in her actions. Others in audience also shouted enthusiastically. Then all four dancers danced for a short encore and the show was over. The whole show was about an hour and half. It was after midnight when it finished. We got ride back on one of the two buses that group who came in after us was driven in. By the time Marlene and I got back to the hotel, it was about 1 a.m. We finally fell asleep about 2 a.m., after discussing the show. The next day, we left for Seville.

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