Cult Flamenco Show in Poble Espanyol, Barcelona
Carmen Amaya has been the most universal flamenco dancer. She was born in the shantytown of Somorrostro in Barcelona, probably in 1918. Her father, José Amaya Amaya, known as El Chino (the Chinese) was a professional guitarist and her mother, Micaela Amaya Moreno, was an occasional zambra dancer, although only at family gatherings.
In 1929 Carmen began her international career when she was commissioned together with her aunt Juana and her cousin María to perform in Paris. There the film director Benito Perojo discovered them, and asked them to take part in his film La Bodega. On her return to Barcelona, they continued to perform in every show they could. From 1934, she became more and more successful, appearing in several films. In 1936 she performed for the first time as the protagonist in the film María de la O. That same year she began a tour of South and Central America: Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and also, Mexico. In the 40s the magazine LIFE devoted an in-depth feature to her, when she performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and she was invited to dance at the birthday party of President Roosevelt. Her fame knew no bounds.
In 1947 she returned to Spain, after an eleven year absence, as an established world-famous artist, and premièred her show Embrujo Español [Spanish Magic] at the Teatro Madrid in Madrid. Her shows were performed in all of the best theatres in every city of every country. Probably influenced by the restless and wayfaring character of her husband and guitarist Juan Antonio Agüero, Carmen Amaya’s troupe displayed its artistry in all four corners of the world.
In 1963, the year in which her kidney disease began to be most apparent, she made what would be her last film: Los Tarantos by Francisco Rovira Beleta. Carmen did not live to see the première, but it remains her greatest film legacy. A performance full of emotion, drama and unforgettable dancing, such as the bulerías on the beach or the taranto in the Bar Las Guapas.