Madrid is a grand city - it stands out as one of the most popular holiday destinations with numerous historic buildings, great museums, beautiful galleries and many cultural attractions including flamenco. Last week I was fortunate to go there again, however, not for holiday… meaning I didn’t have much free time.
Still, I managed to catch up with the lovely Gemma de la Cruz, who suggested going together to Amor de Dios, the famous flamenco dance studios, not for taking classes but for visiting.
My previous experience with Amor de Dios was several years ago when my husband took me there to see the significant entrance sign. That was it - I had never been inside. Thanks to Gemma, who kindly showed me around, I could feel relaxed to take a private tour of the famous cultural centre of flamenco, which has been loved by so many maestros. As it was still early, there weren’t many classes going on - still, I could feel that the students’ collective stamping vibrated the floor of the reception area.
Originally launched in 1953 as a headquarters for the dance company of Antonio Ruiz, aka Antonio el Bailarín, the venue has been redefined as accessible dance studios specialised in flamenco and Danza Española, where you could try different teachers, different classes, different choreographies, according to your needs and levels. For 70 years Amor de Dios has attracted so many flamenco lovers and learners who have come over not only from across Spain but also from overseas.
When the original place moved from La Calle Montera to La Calle Amor de Dios in 1957, they started to be called with the current name, taken from the street. Several years after being featured in Carlos Saura’s film ‘Carmen’ with Antonio Gadez in 1983, Amor de Dios went through several hardships, including finance issues, and had to move around to find new homes, with affectionate support from teachers, students and the community. They’re currently located in La Calle Santa Isabel, upstairs of Antón Martín market, which is just opposite their previous home La Calle Amor de Dios.
Throughout its history came so many renowned flamenco dancers who made Amor de Dios as their artistic hub for teaching as well as company rehearsals - María Magdalena, Paco Fernández, El Güito, La Tati, Manolete, Mario Maya, José Antonio, Merche Esmeralda, Domingo Ortega, Belén Maya, Yolanda Herdia, to name but a few. In the corridors, you can see the walls full of portraits of such artists, not only dancers but also guitarists and singers, including Paco de Lucía, Enrique Morente, and so on. The passion for flamenco dance is still alive there, while you can also try singing, guitar and cajon classes.
At Amor de Dios you can have a taste of not only the flamenco culture in Madrid but also some nice Spanish food from the market downstairs. There are lovely flamenco shoes and costume shops around the street too. At first I was a bit nervous to go inside, but after seeing how fascinating the venue is, thanks to Gemma, I might be feeling like *taking classes there next time :)
Amor de Dios
*If you’re interested, there will be such classes on 29th, 30th April & 1st May (UK Bank Holiday) - organised by Gemma de la Cruz
<Improvers and Elementary Level>
11.00-12.30: Technique with GEMMA DE LA CRUZ
12.30-14.00: Bulerias with GEMMA DE LA CRUZ
Technique & Bulerias 160 euros / 3 hours a day over 3 days
<Intermediate and Advanced Level>
15.00-16.00: Bulerias with GEMMA DE LA CRUZ
16.00-18.00: Technique and Choreography with CARMEN LA TALEGONA
Bulerias 50 euros / 1 hour a day over 3 days
Technique & Choreography 150 euros / 2 hours a day over 3 days with Carmen
Bulerias, Technique & Choreography 190 euros / 3 hours a day over 3 days
Special offer: all classes 330 euros / 6 hours a day over 3 days
(For security reasons I’m not leaving an e-mail address here - if you don’t have her e-mail, please make an enquiry from my contact form)