COVID-19 Protocols Can't Stop the Spirit of Madrid's Flamenco Dancers

Flamenco dancers in Madrid

After seven months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of Madrid’s most famous flamenco spots are finally reopening to customers — albeit with an unusual modern twist to the traditional performance.

Flamenco dancers in the capital of Spain are performing behind clear barriers to comply with new COVID-19 regulations, The Associated Press reported.

Torres Bermejas, a Moorish-style venue, was the first “tablao,” or flamenco venue, to reopen in Madrid last month. When customers entered they got their temperatures taken and then sat at tables spread out in accordance with distancing protocols. Face masks are necessary at all times, except for when seated at tables. The venue's capacity is limited to 50 patrons at a time.

The performers are on an elevated stage, behind clear screens suspended about three feet above the floor, blocking potential contamination from their breathing.

Although Madrid’s government has promised to provide financial help to the tablaos, considered a cultural and historical treasure, some have already closed due to the pandemic. Famous cafes like the “Casa Patas” and “Café de Chinitas” shut down earlier this year.

Flamenco dancers in Madrid

The new precautions at Torres Bermejas are in place to lure back customers after a monthslong battle with the virus. Spain was under watch last month as a second wave of COVID-19 began to spread and Madrid has become a new European epicenter over the past few weeks.

Last week, Madrid reported a two-week infection rate of 735 cases per 100,000 people, the highest rate in Europe. The Spanish capital went into lockdown, barring any non-essential travel to and from the city, Reuters reported. The partial lockdown is not as harsh as what was implemented earlier this year, but bars and restaurants must close at 10 p.m., and gatherings of more than six people are banned.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she's usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on Twitter, on Instagram or at

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