Loving and Leaving Seville

15 Sep

Today my professor called on me at the end of class to dance a solo Bulerias to live guitar accompaniment. If he’d asked me to do that 12 months ago I would have smiled politely and backed away at speed. My efforts for Andreas Peña last September were frankly pitiful….

Today, twelve months later, I smiled politely and stepped proudly into the circle of my classmates to dance.

I danced for my beautiful teacher, Manuel Betanzos who gives his heart and soul to us every day. I danced for Miguel Perez, the most patient, talented guitarist I know. And I danced for myself and my wonderful family who weren’t here to see me but who support me from afar.

Was it perfect? No. Was it ‘a compas’? Mostly. Was it fun? Yes, better than sex!

Tomorrow I leave Seville. Again. In anticipation I’ve been soaking up and storing all the small pleasures and memorable sights Seville offers.

This week’s special moments include:

Laughing with a new Italian Flamenco friend over champagne and tapas in Triana market after chatting with her friends Paco and Israel who run a jamon y queso stall there.

People watching in Plaza Altozano. I couldn’t resist taking a photo for the four generations of Flamencas gathered around the statue. One Grandma had obviously suffered a stroke but she held that baby so tenderly with her strong arm.

The handsome policemen standing on horseback in Triana. Their job description includes smiling for tourists’ photos.

Two teenagers diving off their pedalo in the middle of the river in the shade in the ugly Cajasol Tower under construction.

The joy of a great Flamenco show every night, especially when classmates from Manuel’s Academy are dancing. To see Kuky and Jessi perform at Caja Negra was amazing. The results of their hard work were evident. Even more awesome was to see shy Aniela leap on stage with them to dance a wild Buleria in the Fin de Fiesta. ¡Ole Aniela!




Being spoilt by Señor Vargas’ breakfasts before class Monday to Friday. Two euro for a hot, strong cafe con leche and tostada con tomate y aceite. The ‘Hasta mañana guapa’ was free.

Kids, teenagers, mums, dads and all sorts playing, drinking and eating in the Alameda de Hercules at 10 o’clock at night.

The venerable Bar Las Teresas in Calle Pedro Ximenez where I have my pre-show fino and tapas for less than five euro. I feel like I am absorbing decades of Sevillanas’ spirit from its tiled and postered walls.


Plaza San Lorenzo to revisit the plane tree I threw my first pair of Flamenco shoes into when they became too worn to wear. I imagine them making a nest for baby birds.

One thing I won’t miss is handwashing my sweaty clothes every day. Those vertical washing machines are worse than useless.

As much as I love Seville I’m not upset to leave because it has already given me so much and I know in my heart I will be back. I have grown young here, cemented wonderful friendships and expanded my appreciation of Flamenco more than I could have hoped. That has to be enough. For now.




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