I've recently discovered (thanks tumblr) how amazing Carmen Amaya is. Just look at her!
But that's not all.
She was widely regarded as one of the greatest flamenco dancers of all time, shaping the way the dance has changed over the years. Amaya, of Romani origin and born in the slums of Barcelona, became known as "Queen of the Gypsies"; you can tell from the still photos and video that she had that beautiful gypsy passion.
Amaya began dancing at the age of four, and once she hit her teenage years her career kicked off as she travelled the world. Of course, she appeared in Hollywood movies during the 1930s, when interest in all things exotic was at it's peak.
Sadly she died in 1963 at just 50 years old, after suffering kidney failure. However, her stunning dance had already shaped the flamenco world.
Amaya donned the "traje corto", a tight fitting suit, and traditional fast paced footwork, both usually reserved for men - shocking for the time. Watching her feet, it's no wonder that on several occasions she ended up putting her foot through the stage during her performance!
Prior to this, women's flamenco had mainly featured arm and upper torso movement, however Amaya created something all her own by combining feminine grace with strong masculine moves. She did, however, begin to concentrate on a more feminine style towards the end of her career.
She is incredibly inspiring, and now I really want my own "traje corto"!