Pose: Side Angle Pose
Sanskrit: Utthita Parsvakonasana)
Location: Iglesia del santos sin manos. This is one of many churches we walk past almost everyday. At some point we noticed most of the statues of the saints didn’t have hands. Since we don’t know the actual name of this place, we started calling it “no hands saint church”. Tonight we were walking home pretty late so unfortunately the photo isn’t the greatest. This is the first weekend we decided to stay in Sevilla and relax. Saturday night, one of the Brits organized an impromptu night out to search for some live music. We joined her and some of the students. As you may (or may not) know, night life in Spain doesn’t really even start until midnight. I like to go to bed at midnight, but we decided since we had nowhere to be in the morning, we would do as the Sevillanos. We caught a little blues act in the jazz cafe and then decided to head over to Triana for some flamenco. Triana is said to be the best place for flamenco. We were hoping to find place called Casa Anselma, that someone recommended to Sally. We arrived at the right street but didn’t see anything with the right name. There was however, a queue of people outside a dark building. We determined that they were waiting to get into Casa Ansalma and that the doors opened at midnight and the show started at 12:30. We hadn’t anticipated waiting in a line for 45 minutes to get into a place, but we agreed that it would be just as late by the time we found another place and at least here, we were second in line. Once they let us inside, we could see that seats are for people with reservations. Apparently you can’t even get reservations unless you’re connected. Then there is standing room only which is first come first serve. And of course, I mean standing room only; European style. No fire codes, no personal space, just packed in as tight as possible. We didn’t have to pay a cover to get in though, so we thought it would turn out to be a night of free music. Haha, we should have known better. Sally (who speaks very good Spanish) asked for a tap water at the bar and got shut down. I believe the response was (in highly disgusted Spanish) “If you want a drink, you’re going to pay for it”. I guess we thought that meant drinks were not obligatory. They were €7 each, which is crazy expensive for Europe (although normal for a club in the U.S.) We’ve definitely gotten used to drinking for cheap. Even if I wanted to pay for a drink, I was really intimidated to order something. There was one bartender and she was being snippy with anyone that walked up to the bar. There was one server for the whole room. People were just shouting drink orders at her and she seemed to have a system that I couldn’t quite follow. She looked like someone I didn’t want to cross. About 20 minutes after the show started, the main woman, Ansalma I presume, kept looking over in our direction and must have noticed there were too many people without drinks. So she got up and came over and started demanding orders from people. Someone tried to tell her they didn’t want anything, and she yelled at them and said if they didn’t drink they had to stand by the door. So that’s how this works. Makes perfect sense. No cover, one drink minimum. But they assume you know this going in. Of course, I didn’t want to mess with Ansalma either so I ordered a whiskey and coke and nursed it all night so I didn’t have to order a second one. The whole atmosphere was amazing. I felt a little like an intruder, not being Spanish, but it was so good I didn’t care. It was an authentic flamenco experience. There was more or less a circle around the center. There were several men playing guitars and drums seated in the middle. Anybody who wanted to get up and perform could do so. There was an older, amply sized, woman who got up and danced. There was an engaged couple who got up and danced and kept getting coerced into dancing again and again. There was a woman who sang. The men playing the music each took turns dancing, singing, performing solos, etc. The audience participated as well, clapping and singing along. I don’t know how long the performance is supposed to be, but we finally decided to leave around 2am. Things seemed to still be going strong. They perform every night apparently. So if you are ever in Sevilla and you want an authentic flamenco experience, definitely go to Casa Ansalma and if you don’t have a reservation, get there an hour early to stand in line, and make sure you have a drink in hand!
Photography Credit: Brandon