* Another post from my old blog that I forgot to publish here.
One of the first bookings we made upon arrival to Barcelona was to purchase tickets to a flamenco dance club called Cordobes. Cordobes is in Las Ramblas area in Barcelona. Las Ramblas usually describe as the “heart of the city,” as it has many theatres and shows houses in the area, that dates back to the nineteenth century. Cordobes have had Flamenco shows since the 1970s. We knew Flamenco shows are popular in Barcelona, but never expected it to be as popular; to have three full shows per night. The first performance at Cordobes was at six thirty, followed by another show at eight thirty and the last show scheduled at ten thirty. The early show is the most expensive, ticket combined with a tapas buffet dinner. The second show was at eight-thirty, had two options, one with tapas buffet dinner and the other with a drink. Of course, the prices differ, as the saying goes, you’ll get what you’re willing to pay. The last show at ten thirty was the cheapest, with no additional charges or add-ons of extra services. The ticket prices ranged from forty Euros to hundred and twenty Euros. We purchased our show tickets for eight-thirty, with drinks only option.
We arrived at Cordobes fifteen minutes early, to find, that people were mingling and queuing in front of the building. Soon after we joined the line, our tickets were checked by a staff and pamphlets given to us. The leaflet had information about the Flamenco dance, its history and a brief note about the venue and performers. Soon we were assigned to another staff, who took charge and ushered us into the building. I assumed the hall we were in could probably accommodate over a hundred people. The room looked like a cave. Its length was longer than its width. The stage was facing the narrower part of the hall, set in a setting that resembled the mouth of a cave. The seating arrangement for the majority of the audience was on either side of the stage, where the room looked wider and longer. However, about six or seven rows of chairs were positioned, in front of the stage, directly facing it. The room was fully pack in all directions, except for a small gap between the stage and the few rows of seats facing it.
A preshow announcement was made informing us, that the show will be conduct, without using microphones, speakers and sound systems; hence, the organisers appeal for total silence during the performance. Filming or still photography using a camera or phone is prohibited, until they signal the audience to do so. Shortly after those briefings, it was show time. The music was played solely on guitars. Singing sounded like ballads, and there was a beautiful connection between the singers and the dancers. It looked as though the dancers movements and emotions get charged with the words from the vocalists. Dancing began as a gentle heel tapping on the floor, followed by a slow, gracious movements of arms and rhythmic hand clapping. Gradually the songs and the tunes from guitar became livelier, louder and the dancer’s moves became faster and more vigorous. Each performance ended with frenzied heel tapping and body movements with a sudden loud cry of excitement and handclapping from many performers.
The information on the Cordobes Flamenco dance club described the performance in these words. “Flamenco does not tell a particular story, but speaks of the human condition in general or everyday life. It is music and dance, created in its purest form. The continuous improvisation from the artist, and the mystery of “Duende”; the playful interaction between guitar, song and dance create a dialogue with each other, which is inspired and created through intuition.” Flamenco is performed in religious festivals, rituals, and church ceremonies and in private celebrations in Spain. In 2010, Flamenco made it to the list of UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.