Passion, technique seen in Tablao de Carmen flamenco show

March 17, 2013
Alpine Living | Courtney Davies

Alpine Living | Gigi Eyre

The Tablao de Carmen in Barcelona, Spain, was an impressive display of passion and technique in all areas—the food, musicians and flamenco dancers. The Tablao was located in Poblé España, which is an area built for the World Fair to showcase Spain’s classic architecture. Although a little far from the metro station, the walk to Poblé España was beautiful. After going toward and passing a huge fountain, a well-lit path with stone-walled trees on one side and views overlooking the city on the other led up to the medieval-looking entrance. Quaint chocolate, cheese, and clothing shops lined the streets inside.

A brisk three minute walk finally led to the Tablao, where the line was out the door; people of all nationalities were waiting to get in. After confirming our reservation, a waiter in black tie led us to our table, which was elevated on a platform on a couple of feet above the stage – there were also tables on the ground floor and balcony. A server immediately brought us appetizers, which were a shot each of gazpacho and ajoblanco, a white, creamy soup that reminded me of a plain yogurt blended with fresh vegetables, and crackers with fresh cheese and caramelized onions on top. Next she brought out the house sangria and our first course, which was lentil and chorizo soup for me. The house sangria was fruity and refreshing, better than any sangria I have ever tasted—after sampling that, I do not want to drink anything else while in Spain. My second course was rosemary lamb and a potato, and for dessert I ordered pionono de Granada, which had a flan base and a caramelized sheet of sugar on top. Originally I ordered the crema catalana, but our server convinced me that because crema catalana is a popular dessert in the Barcelona area, the rarity of this dessert made it a must-try since I might not see it on any other menus.

While on the second course, a guitarist came on stage and started playing. Eventually, two singers made their way out as well. Finally, after the musicians had sufficiently warmed up the crowd, one of the flamenco dancers appeared. With clicking heels, strong hands, and a dashing costume, she electrified the crowd. At one point, I was so engrossed that I forgot about both my meal and photography. Three more dancers, two men and one woman, followed in turn, with the last man and woman dancing a duet after their respective single numbers.

My writer and I talked to Irene, the first dancer, after the show. Her relationship with flamenco was fascinating. She said her favorite part about performing was the magic that sometimes happens when the dancers, musicians, and audience members connect and all share the same passion for the spectacle’s drama. Drama is a perfect word for what was happening on stage because, despite the language barrier (the songs were in Spanish), I could feel the emotion radiating for the performers. It drew me in and carried me with the sadness, anger, and happiness portrayed.

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