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Carmen Amaya

The Queen of The Gypsies

Carmen Amaya
November 2, 1913 - November 19, 1963

Carmen Amaya Carmen Amaya Carmen Amaya was a flamenco dancer and singer, born in the Somorrostro slum of Barcelona, Spain
(known today as Vila Olímpica).

She was born a gypsy, a true child of the bronze-skinned folk. She learned to sing and dance just as other children learn to walk and talk. People liked to watch her dance, even at the age of four. Her father, himself a Flamenco guitar player, took her around to the coffee-houses and other such places where the Flamenco art was appreciated. Her fire, her passion, and her charm won the public as well as the experts, where ever she went. Her first theatrical appearance, at age 15, caused a near riot. Her frame spread, the newspapers wrote about little "Carmillia Amaya," and compared her to the greatest Flamenco artists Spain had produced.

In 1929, at age 16, at the Barcelona World's Fair she cast her spell over an international audience, and from then on, she was a star. She went on to Paris, that same year, to acclaims and admiration of her dancing skill. From there, she toured European and South American capitals.

She first appeared in the United States of America in 1941, at age 20, and was an instant success. The critics called her tempestuous, whirlwind display the most exciting dancing ever seen in New York. Shortly thereafter, she made her Broadway debut in Ed Wynn's musical revue "Laugh, Town, Laugh" sharing the plaudits with Ed Wynn and the star - Jane Froman. Then came an exceedingly successful tour of the country's leading concert halls and supper and night clubs.

By 1944 she was on her way to Hollywood and made two films, Follow the Boys and Knickerbocker Holiday, both in 1944, that broke box office records.

She was invited by President Franklin Roosevelt to dance in the White House in 1944, and again by President Harry Truman in 1953.

She appeared in every country of Latin America, Europe, and North Africa.

During 20 years of a dazzling career, Amaya earned a fortune but spent it, largely because the proliferating gypsy tribe that was her family--cousins and brothers--lived well at her expense. Generous and extravagant, she ran out of money and was obliged to keep dancing and traveling to pay the bills. On one trip she caught cold on a train, returned to Barcelona and died soon afterward of a pulmonary infection. She died at age 48 on November 19, 1963, in a deserted house that sat on a cliff overlooking the sea, 80 kilometers from her native Barcelona, the city where a fountain now bears her name.

There are alot more sites with tons more information on this great dancer - read about her on those sites. She was great a her craft.

Carmen Amaya


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Carmen Amaya
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