One night during our trip to Sevilla, we were walking through the streets, when in passing a little alley, we were immediately caught in the infectious rhythm and melody of live music. Venturing a little ways into the passageway, we saw the back entrance to a local bar wide open, the energy from inside fairly bursting out the door. Actually, bodies were actually almost on the point of bursting out, it was that packed. Curious, we poked our heads in to check out the scene, and this is what we saw:
Wedged in against a wall in the back of a room that curved around the long bar were about 7 men playing guitars, drums, and random percussion-type instruments, busting out some fast-paced sevillana music, which is similar to flamenco. Right in front of the musicians danced a small group of locals, the number fluctuating between two and four as the onlookers absorbed or discharged new dancers into and from the tiny open space they were all tightly ringed about.
The atmosphere was carefree. The music was bright. The lighting was dark. The people maybe a not in a state of complete sobriety. The noise of everyone talking, laughing, singing, and shouting pretty much cut off any chance of normal conversation. But the music kept up its pace even above the hubbub of the crowd.
In short, we simply HAD to join the fun.
We managed to worm our way into the corner near the music and dancing, attracting attention as a big group of pretty obvious foreigners. The attention was friendly though – some of the Sevillanos even started up small side conversations with us during a break in the music, asking where we were from, how we liked Sevilla, and generally just being very open and welcoming. One of the women even pointed at all of us with a slightly unsteady finger and informed us that we were all going to have to dance, whether we knew how to or not.
Kels was the first to work up the nerve. The next time the friendliest of the ladies invited her out into the circle, she stepped out boldly, trying to imitate the steps and movements of her instructress. She even danced more than one song! The rest of us stayed back and cheered her on, shaking our heads in proud wonder at her bravery.
Then it was my turn to get pulled out into the middle. To be honest, I have no clue what in the world it was that I did with my feet or body - I was kind of in this haze as I more or less followed the movements of another dancer. You know that state of otherworldliness you enter into when you get up in front of people in a setting you aren’t completely comfortable with? That OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE feeling? Yeah, that’s exactly how I felt. It’s not a bad feeling though. It’s kind of like adrenaline. It makes you feel alive.
The Sevillanos even managed to get one of our guys onto the dance floor! He had played a little flamenco guitar earlier during a dance break, and now he was showing off a completely different set of skills. …I think the ladies rather liked him.
By the time we decided to leave, allowing ourselves to kind of follow the push of energy and spilling out that back door that first sucked us in, we were thoroughly happy. I mean, how often is it that you get welcomed into a local jam session when you’re traveling? How often do you get to experience something like that?
In short, it was a lovely evening.