GRANADA, SPAIN. Traversing the narrow streets of Granada on the way to the Holy Mountains took us to the Gypsy caves. The gypsies are from India and the largest community of gypsies in Europe is now in Spain. When our travel director told us that we will watch the gypsies dance Flamenco in a cave, what I had in mind were those large and dimly lit, or most of the time dark, hollow spaces in the ground. When we arrived, I was surprised to see brightly lit rock-like structures painted in white and carved to look like normal houses filled with life and music. We went to this particular cave called Cueva del Rocio along Camino del Sacromonte which has a premium view of the Alhambra. The cave is one of the two well-established venues for this and was adorned with string lights, fern garlands and festive Christmas balls which made the place feel a lot like Christmas. Distinguished guests like BIll Clinton, Michelle Obama and various kings and queens have already graced the cave which heightened my anticipation for the show. We took our seats in one of the tunnel-like rooms and waited for the show to start. Since the room is long, seats were strategically placed on the sides of the tunnel as well as at the end of it. I'd prefer to take the seats on the sides as to have a clearer view of the dancers and have a more intimate experience of the show.
After a few minutes or so, the instrument players came in and the singer started to sing songs in their local tongue. The dancers then came in and danced a local flamenco variation called Zambra which has a more ethnic and folk feel than the other Flamenco dances in Spain. The 45-minute show was graced by 7 to 8 dancers and was a spectacular one full of life, coordination and poise. I was immediately hooked by the the dancers' ability to tap dance amazingly and gracefully. The dance shows the balance between reaching for the skies as characterized by the movement of the arms and the grounding of oneself which was shown by the continuous tapping of the feet. What I love most about Zambra is the raw emotions that the singer and the dancers display which adds gravitas to the art. In most nights they do host 2 to 3 shows but in busy nights they are able to perform up to 8 shows. The show may be short but it was very entertaining. Further, seeing one was already enough to fire up in me that desire to learn the dance or to dance again, at the least. This is one experience that should not be missed when you are in Granada.