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Best Flamenco Show San Francisco 2008 - Carola Zertuche and Theatre Flamenco, Thursdays at Peña Pachamama

The magic (yes, magic) begins with the venue: Peña Pachamama, a Latin-American restaurant with small tables doused in low red-tinted lighting like a quaint Bolivian valentine. Order dinner and sangria early, because when the musicians step onto the tiny stage and the dancers take to the wood floor at 8:30, you'll be entranced for the next two hours. The weekly show, which has a $10 cover charge, is led by Carola Zertuche, an ever-intense and inspired dancer who toured Spain and Mexico before settling in San Francisco and taking up the artistic directing reins of Theatre Flamenco, which bills itself as the city's second oldest dance company after the ballet. The dancers' feet beat out the improvised rhythmic accompaniment to the live music a hand's reach from the diners — the Andalusian way — creating an intimacy you can't replicate from a theater seat.

Click here for video footage of Carola Zertuche and Theatre Flamenco in action.
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