Everyone knows MadridMan LOVES flamenco dance & music. So Friday night was special as it was my first visit to Madrid’s Flamenco Tablao Villa-Rosa, located on the northwestern corner of the Plaza Santa Ana, the building’s ground floor façade has beautifully hand-panted tiles (from 1915-1920) depicting different landmarks in Madrid and Andalucía, Spain.
I’ve witnessed flamenco dance in just about every tablao in Madrid so I consider myself a bit of a critic. I’m not an expert, mind you, but I can spot good flamenco dancing when I see it – and Friday night’s performance did not disappoint. A “tablao” is the venue at which flamenco is typically witnessed – and Madrid has many.
What’s Old Becomes New Again!
The Villa Rosa has a long history, dating back to 1911, but was closed in 1960 for many years. It later reopened as a discotheque and had a re-birth during Madrid’s and Spain’s “La Movida” years. It was closed once again and remained that way (except for special events) until 2011 when it re-opened as a flamenco tablao. As a discotheque in the ’80s, the same wall paintings, beautiful ceiling and Arabic arches were present. Imagine dancing there when it was a discotheque!
Passing by the Villa-Rosa earlier in the day I stopped in to make 9pm reservations just in case. And thank goodness we did. Upon arriving at the doorman’s suggested 8:30pm time, we were seated immediately one table away from the stage. By our good/bad luck, that same night was attended by a tour group of about 40 teenage girls, seated directly in front of the stage and the venue became VERY loud with their pre-show chatter.
The performance started promptly at 9pm with a guitar-singing number. Within 10-minutes the first dancer stood up to dance, lasting 10-15 minutes. Three dancers danced, finished by the male dancer – a true artist in his profession. The show was capped-off by a brief group-dance before leaving the stage at about 10:05pm to much applause of the crowd.
After the show, the dancers waited around near the exit where many people had their photos taken with them, including someone from my group. We weren’t rushed to pay quickly and many people stayed to chat while finishing their drinks. The evening was a wonderful experience at a place I can confidently recommend.
The Tablao Villa-Rosa has a formula which is obviously successful. Their location is excellent in the northwest corner of the well-known and easy-to-find Plaza Santa Ana, about 200 meters from the Puerta del Sol. They offer a shorter show than the other tablaos – 1 hour versus 2-2.5 hours. They offer a show at about half the price of other tablaos. Their venue is probably the most beautiful tablao I’ve ever seen – ANYWHERE. And their stage-performers – albeit fewer than at other flamenco shows – are true professionals. In short, the Villa-Rosa is well-located, has shorter shows, is cheaper, and employs professional dancers. For tourists looking for a good-taste of flamenco, this is a wonderful choice.
- Prices: Prices are about half that of other flamenco tablaos.
- Show: 3 dancers (2 female+1 male), 1 singer, 1 guitar player.
- Times: 9pm, 11:15pm, each show lasts about 1 hour.
A final note: recording video of the dancers/performers at Villa-Rosa is not permitted.
Link: 2013 January blog, “Tablao Villa-Rosa Flamenco in Madrid“