Carmen Amaya..She has been called “the greatest Spanish gypsy dancer of her generation”.and “the most extrardinary personality of all time in flamenco dance”.
She danced from the time she was five years old. Accompanied on the guitar by her father, she danced in waterfront bars in Barcelona. A young person who saw her dance as a girl was Sabicas (Agustín Castellón Campos), who later said “I saw her dance and it seemed like something supernatural to me… I never saw anyone dance like her. I don’t know how she did it, I just don’t know!”. Sabicas became a great flamenco guitarist and accompanied her for many years. He recorded Queen of the Gypsies (1959) and Flamenco! with Amaya.
In 1929, she made her debut in Paris with noted Spanish dancer Raquel Miller, to warm acclaims and admiration of her dancing skill. She then performed at “Folies Bergere”. She declined an offer from Buenos Aires until she was called to appear in Madrid. After this acclaimed performance, she accepted the Buenos Aires offer, in spite of protestations from Uncle Sebastian, one of the sixteen members of her entourage. Argentine audiences were so impressed that they named a theatre after her. She then toured South America, and in Mexico City she was signed by S. Hurok, who brought her to New York. She moved to America in 1936, where she went on to act in several films that broke box office records, including the Romeo and Juliet adaptation Los Tarantos, and the short film Danzas Gitanas (Gypsy dances).
She was invited by Franklin Roosevelt to dance in the White House in 1944, and also by Harry S. Truman in 1953.
Amaya is buried in the Cemetery of Ciriego (Santander).