Learn to Dance the Flamenco in Seville, Spain
By Candyce H. Stapen
Our instructor Juan Paredes, with his slim hips, tight black pants, perfect posture and chiseled features looks as if he sprung to life from a classic flamenco poster. Instantly, he grabs our attention--eight women lined up to learn a sexy, century-old dance at Seville’s Flamenco Dance Museum (Museo del Baile Flamenco).
It doesn’t matter that some of us don’t understand Spanish or that our guide’s translation is hard to hear over music. All we need do is copy Juan’s moves.
First of all, that’s easy. None of us has stopped staring—uh—looking—at him since he walked into the room. Secondly, Juan breaks the sensuous flamenco into four distinct components: rhythm, hand techniques, feet movements and coordination.
As he steps forward and right, then forward and left to the pulsing flamenco beat, our chorus line of women do the same. Then we mimic his fluid twist of hands and arms, waving ours into something resembling a giant letter “s.” Finally, all eyes on Juan, we put the elements together. “Hey, girlfriend, we’re dancing the flamenco.”
You can sign-up for an hour class, book a private lesson or register for a series of classes as well as watch evening performances at the museum’s cabaret. Renowned flamenco star Cristina Hoyes is the inspiration behind and the director of the private museum. Along with classes and performances, the Flamenco Dance Museum uses clever interactive exhibits to explain the dance’s origin, detail its history and showcase some of its best performers.
Through multi-screen presentation, discover how the beat of the blacksmith’s anvil in Spain’s Andalusia region became an element of this dance form. On video screens watch famous flamenco dancers noted for different styles, in the galleries view photographs of performers and browse colorful costumes. In the museum store, shop for a manton, an embroidered silk shawl, purchase some castanets plus a flared skirt that sways when you dance.
You can find more flirty fashions as well as trendy items at El Corte Ingles, one of the city’s major department stores. Seville, an exciting but manageable city, features many other attractions, including the Alcázar, a 14th century palace with elaborate gardens and the Cathedral of Seville, the largest Gothic building in the world and the third-largest church in Europe.
With just 26-rooms the Casa Romana offers the intimacy of a boutique hotel near many of the city’s attractions. Rooms, which are competitively priced, feature an old-world charm and rates include breakfast.