At a hastened pace, I wound more deeply into Sevilla’s skeleton, the echo of my empty footsteps was brought to life by a melody of tangled voices. My footsteps grew quicker as my eyes alternated their glance between the directions on my phone and the narrowing streets. I held my phone low in my hands, in an attempt to hide it, hoping to blend in with the well oriented Spaniards that passed by me. I was playing a game of catchup to the rest of the group after taking a short detour, allowing myself to slow down only shortly before my arrival.

A white wooden plank stretched vertically to mark the entrance of the flamenco bar. The words “La Carbonería” were imperfectly painted to welcome its visitors. As I turned into the entrance I was surprised to see a courtyard in front of me. The tables stood mostly empty, but still, I could taste the cigarette smoke in the air. Relieved, I quickly spotted my friends still standing in the courtyard as they waited to enter the bar. I peeked over a friend’s shoulder to take a look inside the bar and was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of people that had somehow managed to find room within this small space. The long wooden tables that ran from one end to the other were swallowed by the crowd. The pounding of empty beer glasses on the countertops was staggered with the rustling of fingers hastily ripping open bags of potato chips as they were being tossed on the tables by the passing waiters.

Despite the crowd, there was little talking, the attention was instead drawn to the flamenco dancer who stood in a corner protected by the markings of a yellow and black duct tape square. She could not have been beyond twenty two years of age, but was dressed elegantly in a black flamenco dress. The strum of a guitar marked the start of the performance. A soft struck melody met the awaiting ears of its listeners. Whether they knew it or not, they were watching the instrumentalist improvise, as he allowed his heart to communicate the next chord to his fingers. I was surprised by the length of the instrumental introduction, and noticed many around me, mainly foreigners, dividing their attention between their companions and the music, as they grew slightly impatient.

I too, despite my awe of the guitar and vocals, was awaiting the dancing to start. And finally, a stomp. The young woman had started dancing. Her arms moved like waves in the ocean, small waves, big waves, slow then fast. This softness stood at variance with the hoof-like sound that resounded as her shoes made contact with the wooden platform she stood atop. Her dance was a storm, starting slowly and quickly picking up as she spun forcefully in circles. Her hair tie was starting to loosen its tight grip, as strands of her long ponytail got pulled out by the wind she was creating. Her dance was powerful, and it was beautiful.

 

Once it was over I was confused to find myself sad. I had just watched this woman dance a tale of her life, but I know that she had more to tell in her story and wished that I’d be able to watch it till the end.
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