Today’s Doodle honours Spanish Romani dancer Carmen Amaya and was created by Genie Espinoza, a guest artist from Barcelona. Amaya, who is known as one of the best flamenco dancers of all time, exuded personality and unbounded excitement in every move.
On this day in 1913, in Barcelona, Amaya was born. She came from a long family of flamenco dancers at birth. When Amaya was four years old, she started dancing in pubs and bars to the music of her father, a guitarist. A variety showrunner noticed Amaya’s passionate dancing style after she spent years performing in regional venues. He secured her performances at esteemed locations such as the Spanish Theatre in Barcelona and the Palace Theatre in Paris, which turned into a mainstay of her career.
Amaya began travelling through Spain and Portugal in 1929, escorting some of the most renowned flamenco dancers of the day. While most flamenco dancers concentrate on upper body movements, Amaya made use of her whole body. Her deft footwork became iconic, earning fans throughout Latin America. After a while, she established her own flamenco group in Buenos Aires. They travelled to Brazil and Cuba, among other places.
Amaya moved to Mexico City after ten years on the road. After her 1941 performance in New York, she won over US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s admiration, leading to a request to dance at the White House! Amaya performed in films like La Historia de los Tarantos during her final years in Hollywood.
Amaya has received numerous honours, such as the Medal of the Tourist Merit of Barcelona from the Spanish government and a monument and fountain in Barcelona’s Montuic Park named in her honour. The complex twists and turns of contemporary flamenco dancers bear witness to Amaya’s legacy.
Happy birthday, Carmen Amaya!
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