A flamenco dancer twirls with her red costume flaying out around her

Beauty, elegance, power and rhythm. Flamenco epitomises the heritage and passion of Spain and has become one of the icons of its culture. In Seville, guests of Luxury Gold are invited deep into the heart of this timeless art, with a flamenco class and performance at the acclaimed dance school, the Cristina Heeren Foundation.

Feel the passion behind the choreography on this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience as you meet students of the school. Discover the history of flamenco, learn some steps before enjoying an intimate, exhilarating performance by some of Spain’s finest Flamenco artists.

Discovering and training the best in the business and preserving this exquisite art form for future generations, Alexandra Hoffer, Director of the Cristina Heeren Foundation tells us more about this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Discover this on: Spain & Portugal in Style

Making the stars of the future

A black and white headshot of Alexandra Hoffer smiling at the camera

 “I call all my students my children. It’s amazing to have these people that were just 16 when you started working with them, and now you see them as big flamenco stars,” says Alexandra. “It’s very rewarding, we’ve made many artists. Around 70% of the top dancers are our ex-students. It’s wonderful to see how they evolve.”

Alexandra joined the Cristina Heeren Foundation when it opened in 1996. Named after its president, students study advanced guitar, singing and dance to the highest level. Through this, the foundation is also safeguarding the traditional of flamenco (inscribed in 2010 as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage) and contributing to the protection of Andalusia and Spain’s cultural heritage.

Flamenco has many modern influences, but Alexandra explains “What we teach is the classical tradition of flamenco. We think that in order to evolve, you need to have the basis. We are the only Flamenco school offing the three specialties together – singing, guitar and dancing. So, we have students studying different aspects and they’re together all the time.”

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An exquisite art form and an expression of life

A flamenco dancer wearing white twirls on stage

Credit: @fundacionflamencoheeren on Instagram

Flamenco is formed from a melting pot of music styles that evolved in Andalucía and were transmitted through generations. These styles include Jewish, Arab, Castilian, old Andalusian and gypsy music.

“Flamenco started in the very poor communities, as an expression of life,” Alexandra says. “It celebrates a newborn and a death. Somebody who went to jail, was married, somebody who’s going to work. So, there are many different styles of flamenco and each one of them represents and expresses a different time of your life.”

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Enjoy a flamenco class with the professionals

A flamenco dancer, dressed in black, performs with a concentrated look on her face

Credit: @fundacionflamencoheeren on Instagram

Guests have the opportunity to learn some dance steps, under the expert eye of some of the school’s star pupils. “Flamenco is empowering, we find everyone who tries it loves it” says Alexandra. “In the flamenco class we teach guests different rhythms, and the how to move their hips, arms and feet. It’s a very sensual and enjoyable dance.

“Because you’re all learning, everyone is very supportive and applauds each other. Afterwards we share a glass of sangria and either myself or my companions are there to answer any questions. This is an exclusive opportunity to get to the heart of Flamenco from those who live and breathe it.

“Learning the steps and meeting the dancers also furnishes guests with a deeper knowledge and connection to the flamenco. This makes the show which comes next even more memorable.”

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The best artists, so close you can feel them

A female flamenco dancer danced round a male who’s is kneeling on the floor with guitarist in the background

Credit: @fundacionflamencoheeren on Instagram

As a grand finale, guests are treated to a thrilling and intimate performance, featuring the very best dancers and musicians. “For our show we have the best flamenco artists you will find” enthuses Alexandra. “As the director of the theater, I only select top professionals. Some of them are very young but are dancing with big companies. It’s really important for me that these are the very best.

“Our theatre is very intimate, and the proximity to the performers takes the appreciation of flamenco to a whole new level. When you go into a big flamenco theatre it’s wonderful, but something gets lost. In my theatre you’re right in amongst it, you can really feel the dancers, the singing and the guitarist. It makes a big difference to the experience.

The school’s performances are renowned amongst locals as well as visitors, a testament to the quality.  “I have one dancer and there’s huge crowd that love her,” Alexandra says. “So, they come all the time and see her because they say it’s amazing that to be able to see her up close and really enjoy her dance. You can see how she breathes and how she moves each single finger. It’s this proximity that makes it very special.”

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Chosen with great care for their positive impact on our planet its people and wildlife, our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences are aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This experience directly advances UN SDGs 4: Quality Education and 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. The school enables students access to cultural education, safeguarding the traditional flamenco dance and Spain’s cultural heritage.

The Cristina Heeren Foundation is also a recipient of a grant from our TreadRight Foundation. Through this the school is able to support four students per year who will benefit from an extra year of study to really mature as dancers.

“We see some artists, some students that are very good, but they still need one more year to keep on specializing” Alexandra explains. “Through the grant we are able to develop them further, keeping even more talent in training for the future and preserving this elite art form for generations to come.”

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To embrace the passion of Spain for yourself, learn steps in a flamenco class and enjoy this memorable performance, take a look at Spain & Portugal in Style