Corral de la Moreria, one of Spain's finest flamenco ''tablaos,'' celebrates 60 years of showcasing the best artists in the genre. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: In one of Madrid's oldest flamenco venues, a heart-wrenching voice commands attention as arms rise, fingers curl and feet strike wooden floors to the sound of gypsy chords. Renowned for showcasing artists at the forefront of Spain's flamenco scene for six decades, family-run Corral de la Moreria attracts a nightly mix of aficionados, foreigners and celebrities. Hollywood stars like Michael Douglas, Nicole Kidman and Harrison Ford, politicians such as former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, musicians from 1970s hard rock band Kiss to songstress Mariah Carey and sports stars such as Brazilian soccer player Pele have visited, sometimes even taking to the stage to dance. "It is the institution that has offered the most shows in the history of flamenco, with the most artists performing here. Its history has to carry on," said Juan Manuel del Rey, director of Corral de la Moreria and son of the founder who opened the 'tablao' in 1956. "Tablao," Spanish for floorboard, emerged in the 1960s as a cabaret-style cafe for flamenco shows. Sitting at arm's distance from the stage, aficionada Eloina Martinez, 68, has been enjoying flamenco for years. "I live alone and flamenco gives me life. If I were not so into it, my life would be different, more sad," she said. Rich yet harrowing, flamenco is designed to evoke all the senses, performed passionately by men and women typically involving a fiery singer, dancer, guitarist and "palmero" who claps the rhythms. Prolific throughout southern Spain, the art is a concoction of beats from Spain's outcast Gypsy, Jew and Muslim communities driven by a narrative of suppression and resilience.