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The Architecture of Flamenco: How Seville’s Dance Halls Were Designed to Enhance the Performance

The Architecture of Flamenco: How Seville’s Dance Halls Were Designed to Enhance the Performance

Seville, Spain has the perfect environment to host some of the best flamenco dancing in the world. The reason that flamenco can be so appreciated here is due to the fact that most flamenco dance halls were specifically designed to amplify the music and increase the energy of the performance. In this way, you will notice that even if you attend a flamenco show in any other city in Spain, you will still not experience it in its full intensity until you get to Seville. Here are 5 flamenco performance halls around Seville, Spain that are designed to enhance your flamenco performance experience.

Background on Spanish culture
Although Spain is famous for its football, bullfighting, and sprawling landscapes, their rich culture is a well-kept secret. Celebrated for their mix of Moorish and Christian cultures, Spain has been declared one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. One can spend hours wandering in awe through such cities as Madrid or Barcelona. What many tourists might not know about Spain, however, is that it’s also one of the most prominent countries with regards to flamenco dance. The origins of this art form are still debated today, but all agree that the Andalusian region of southern Spain contains some of the best flamenco festivals in Europe. In fact, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of venues throughout Andalusia where performances take place every night. The city I’ll be talking about today is Seville; a coastal city which is often described as the soul of Andalusia due to its history and culture.

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History of flamenco in Seville
Flamenco, a form of Spanish folk dance, originated in Andalusia, specifically Seville. It is an art that has evolved over centuries and has been influenced by other cultures as well. There are many legends about how flamenco was born, but one possible explanation for its genesis comes from northern Africa when Muslim Moors and Christian Gypsies joined forces during their invasion into Andalusia in the Middle Ages.

Designing a dance hall for optimum use
Dance halls were designed for aesthetics and acoustics; architects wanted dancers to experience a more immersive, sensual, performance. Since buildings in Seville were not soundproof at the time, architect Enric Sagnier built doors that connect balconies to dance floors so audience members could feel closer to dancers on stage. In addition, he lowered balcony seats so they are lower than viewing boxes – meaning those higher up have an unobstructed view.

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The music and dance performances
Music and dance go hand in hand, so it should come as no surprise that architects and builders thought about what design would best amplify these performances. In Spain, Seville is home to many iconic performance halls, such as Casa Anselma and Casa Sefarad. For example, Casa Anselma was designed with a narrow floor plan that has a high ceiling, an open center space and unevenly stacked seats on each side.

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Experience it for yourself
When you visit Spain, it might be tempting to visit Madrid, Barcelona or other popular destinations. However, as you travel around the country and hear people praising Sevilla and its culture in their beautiful Spanish accents, it is easy to understand why many travelers are attracted here. There is a very particular reason that this region has become so popular in recent years.

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