History of The Building
Did you know that the Museum of Flamenco Dance is located in one of the highest points of Seville, in one of the three largest historical centers in Europe? It is known that Seville is a flirtatious city with more than enough reasons to be so, as it allows us to travel centuries in history knowing the passage of many civilizations thanks to the traces they have left behind …. And among its many attractions is the only Museum of Flamenco Dance in the world!
The remodelling work on this 18th century palace-house for the future Flamenco Dance Museum began in 2004, although the project started 6 years earlier. The challenge was to adapt an old building in ruins with a lot of historical value, to the uses required by a 21st century museum, with the possibility of experiencing live flamenco, with a tablao and all the paraphernalia of lights, sounds and lighting equipment that a very high quality show brings with it.
On our first visit, the barrel vault was in very poor condition, but by repairing it, Roman and Ibero-Roman ashlars dating from between the 5th century BC and 3rd century AD came to light. These Roman and pre-Roman blocks of cushioned stone take you back in time and it is also the only place in Seville where you can see exceptional flamenco in a barrel vault, you will enjoy the moment, and remembering it, will make you feel happy again?
There was a lot to fix, and an intervention of such magnitude had to have a good captain at the helm. Ignacio Morales was the architect in charge of the project.
Morales understood, to perfection, the spirit that the project required. This was the place where dance enthusiasts would gather to enjoy the dance in a suitable and very special environment. Thus, the stage required the staircase to be moved to the entrance, which, in the end, was the right choice: the location was more practical and accessible for the public, who could access the vault that makes up the basement of the museum, which houses the second tablao and a temporary exhibition room sheltered by contemporary Trajan’s walls.
On the ground floor, in addition to the tablao, Morales completes the project with a rehearsal room where the artists create and retouch their numbers, as well as giving classes to students from all over the world, bewitched by the flamenco duende that knows no borders. And to see flamenco in a more theatrical way, a modern hydraulic stage was installed in the courtyard of Ecija, surrounded by pink marble columns and equipped with two curtains, lights and theatrical sound.
To get into the subject, we have to go up one floor. Five rooms and the cloister. This is where the heart of the museum beats. An audiovisual journey through the history of flamenco dance, to understand this profound and universal art and to immerse oneself in it, thanks to huge state-of-the-art screens, including a large semi-circular screen on which we can see a choreography by the Cristina Hoyos Ballet with music by Manolo Sanlúcar. The latest technology was used for all of this… modern meets history!
And if we go up one more floor, we enter, once again, into the exhibition area. A three-room art gallery and a bright cloister house temporary exhibitions and the museum’s permanent collection.
The respect for proportions, the care in the design of the floors, the treatment of the enormous walls, the delicate stuccoes, are faithful to the original architecture of the Palace-House.
The construction of the building
The work lasted for a year, which took forever… And although the intervention on the building was a success, it left a bitter aftertaste. On the lintel of the door, a beautiful seated virgin from the 15th century, sober in its elegant medieval beauty, blessed the future. And we say blessed because, inexplicably, the image disappeared during the works… Or at least that is what Leocadio, the works manager, told us… He said that he had decided to remove it from its pedestal so that it would not be damaged by the works. For that reason, he said, he put it in a drawer from where, he assured us, it had been stolen.
To this day, we are still waiting for our little virgin to return to her home and rest in peace.
The Ghosts of the Museum
Young, long-haired and dressed in white, he and she also in white, and the one who arrived later in blue. That, at least, is the story of those who claim to have seen them wandering under the historic vault in the basement of the museum.
The first news of their wanderings came from students and teachers of Ibérica Contemporánea de Querétaro in Mexico. Later, from Canada came mother and daughter with the same refrain… The passing of the years has meant that many people have come across them and the lady who shares their ethereal eternity.
Not even the cameras of the internal video circuit were able to witness these encounters. Inexplicably, the recording always failed at that moment… Intrigued, we asked the grandchildren of the former owner…
Their grandparents had never allowed them to go down into the vault alone. Just in case, the vault is blessed.