Didem Doğan

Love of Flamenco: Amor de Dios

What is the best place to learn flamenco? If you exit the Anton Martin subway station in the old town of Madrid, cross the street and enter the side alley, you find yourself in a place which looks like a marketplace. If you walk in the two-storey square building, you will see a group of green groceries, cheese shops, and fish shops where the smells of the food sold here hang in the air. One cannot imagine that people perform art on the second floor of this place. While climbing up the stairs, you will have goose bumps hearing the footsteps: not the footsteps of somebody walking, but the deep, melodic footsteps of somebody dancing. And you will come to another square-shaped floor. If you go through the door and take a peek through one of the many doors lining up in the corridor, you will see people stomping their feet, clapping their hands, playing a guitar, patting something that looks like a box with their hands, in short people making sounds. What is this place? Is this a place where people mimic the savages dancing around a fire in the vast lands of Africa? And how come these tom-tom sounds are so euphonious? Amor de Dios is a place where many legendary flamenco dancers have danced its halls, where still so many people, Spanish or non-Spanish, take lessons at any hour of the day, and where I spent hours every evening for the two months of my stay in this city despite the summer heat.