Famed Madrid flamenco venue closes amid virus restrictions

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Spanish Flamenco dancer Anabel Moreno dances outside the Villa Rosa Tablao flamenco venue as a woman comes to give her a rose during a protest in Madrid, Spain, Thursday March 4, 2021. The National Association of Tablaos protested outside the mythical Villa Rosa Tablao which has been forced to close permanently due to the covid pandemic. (AP Photo/Paul White)

MADRID – Artists at one of Madrid’s best-known flamenco bars put on a final outdoor show Thursday, marking its closure after 140 years because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that have shuttered entertainment venues.

A female flamenco dancer dressed in black performed in the street outside Villa-Rosa, while others threw flamenco costumes from balconies into the street and male singer Juañarito performed a flamenco song.

Others laid flowers at the venue’s entrance, lit candles and put up handwritten signs saying “R.I.P.”

The Villa-Rosa, with its distinctive tiled facade, is a landmark of the Madrid neighborhood called Las Letras, known for its nightlife.

“The situation is now unsustainable, with so many overheads for a year with the bar closed without any (financial) assistance," the flamenco show’s director, Rebeca Garcia, said. "It has forced us to take the drastic decision to shut down.”