Best Place to Shout "Olé!" - 2003
The next best thing to a corner table in a Madrileno tapas bar is a front-row seat at "Café Flamenco," a monthly performance series run by flamenco dancer Yaelisa, who performs with her troupe Caminos Flamencos every third Sunday of the month at 7 p.m. It's a casual but lively showcase where the dancers, and the musicians who accompany them live on guitar and cajón (just a plain ol' box), can try out new material. Flamenco fans get their fixes here, while novice viewers will find a friendly introduction to the form: Yaelisa speaks with the audience about the history of the dance and its Gypsy roots, and offers some insight into its many styles and its musical and technical demands. But this is hardly an academic exercise -- the throaty vocals and hand-clapping, train-flipping, arm-curling drama speak to the soul, no matter your native tongue.