“You must see a flamenco performance while you’re in Jerez.” Nieves urged me. “It’s the centre of flamenco in the world.”
So I asked Steve if we could find a flamenco place and he agreed we’ll look for the Sala Compañía, a cultural performance centre in the old town after dinner. The Sala Compañía is a simple stone building with a large wooden door and quiet façade. It was unimpressive but there was a queue outside the building .. at 11pm? There were no posters or signs to tell what’s going on so out of curiosity, I approached a couple to find out more in my limited Spanish.
But hey, the couple is from Taiwan and we chatted away in Mandarin, to Steve’s amusement that one can get by, even in this little Andalucían town or just about anywhere in the world with Chinese, English or Spanish.
As it turned out, it’s the opening night of the Flamenco Festival of Jerez with the first performance at midnight. Flamenco enthusiasts from all over the world are in Jerez attending the two-week festival with special performances and masterclasses.
There was no need to consider and no time to waste. We bought the tickets and joined the enthusiasts to watch the solo dance by a Luisa Palicio.
This was the first classic flamenco performance we’ve seen and we were surprisingly mesmerised. It was fiery, passionate, expressive, emotional, agonising, seductive… The music, the movements, the voices – perfectly choreographed into one electrifying hour of pure Spanish entertainment.
Steve and I couldn’t believe we would enjoy the flamenco so much. It was past 1am when we left the theatre, talking all the way back about the performance that we did not understand a single word and yet felt so much for the art form.
And we wouldn’t have experienced a world-class performance if we were at the place earlier or seen the queue or ask someone. What luck!