I didn’t know what to expect from watching my first flamenco dance in the Andalusian birthplace of this art form.

It helped reading a short description outlining parts of the dance before seeing a performance at Tablao El Arenal. According to a passage in “Travelers’ Tales Spain: True Stories,” the four parts of the love story include the acquaintance, the awakening of love, the social presentation and the promise of external love.

From the first tapping of feet and clacking of castanets to the soulful vocals of each character, I was mesmerized as the story unfolded. The acoustic guitars strumming in the background punctuated the athleticism and intense facial expressions of the performers. I didn’t expect to be wowed, which is probably why it had the effect it did. When in Spain, dance flamenco, or at least watch a performance. It’s a cultural staple revealing Spain’s passionate side not to be missed.

A group of women donning their flamenco best leave Alcazar of Seville after a photo shoot.