Lucia Caruso: Flamenco Virtuoso

November 29, 2012

Talented and renowned dancer and teacher Lucia Caruso studied Classical Ballet, Jazz and Flamenco in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Then she joined the ‘Los Romeros Flamenco Dance Company’, directed by Alberto Turina, performing live every night at ‘Tablao El Pescador’.
Lucia performed in the movie ‘Manouche’, by Luis Begasso, playing a gypsy dancer as well as on Globo TV network as a Flamenco Dancer.

She also taught and performed in major Brazilian theatres, dancing the choreography based of Garcia Lorca, Lecuona, Bizet and Villa-Lobos.

A trip to Cuba, accompanying one of her students, opened an unexpected door at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, where Lucia was invited by director Laura Alonso to both study and teach at the renowned Gran Teatro de La Habana, and, to choreograph her own work. Another invitation took her to Italy for a two-year stay in the Sicily and Venice regions to work as dance teacher and choreographer.
Her restless quest for professional development and artistic refinement led Lucia to Madrid/Sevilla, Spain, for some years, where she furthered and deepened her dance with great Flamenco masters, such as Merche Esmeralda, Ciro, Adrian Galia, La China, Rafaella Carrasco, Domingo Ortega, Manuel Liñán, Eva La Yerbabuena and Yolanda Heredia.

Lucia moved to London in 2005, where she has taught Flamenco and Castanets classes at Danceworks, as well as summer workshops for Millennium Dance 2000, as well as at The Place and Kingston University.  She is delivering a module “Street to Stage” on the evolution of Flamenco from underground cultural to mainstream, teaching traditional steps and modern styles of Flamenco.
Renowned in her genre, in November, Lucia was brought in to inject passion into Fern Britton’s Paso Doble performance with Artem Chigvintsev on Strictly Come Dancing.
Lucia admires dancers and choreographers Eva Yerbabuena and her Company for her great art and research, Pilar Ogalla and Andre Pena for their dancing with passion and flavour, and Concha Jareno for bringing poetry, charm and grace to Flamenco Dance.
You can join Lucia’s Flamenco classes at Danceworks
at any level from complete beginner to intermediate and beyond.   Lessons move from warm-up, bodywork, footwork up to rhythm and choreography (Palos Flamencos), while continuously working breathing techniques, balance, body weight distribution, strength and coordination in order to fully develop the movements and expression of each and every step of Flamenco Dance.
Lucia offers private Flamenco, Castanet, Bodywork and posture improvement lessons for individuals at all levels at Danceworks.

Favourite movie
Bodas de Sangre” directed by Carlos Saura.“It’s a great film and full of drama and pure Flamenco Dance”, says Lucia.

Favourite songs to dance and listen:

“Flamenco” Carmen Linares

“Flamenco” Estrella Morente

“Flamenco” Vicente Amigo

“Brazilian Bossa Nova2 Bebel Gilberto

“Tango Argentino” Ensemble

A Brief History of Flamenco.
Flamenco is a dance of passion, pain and longing; of the soul laid bare. To the ringing sound of guitar strings and the raw, impassioned wail of the cantaor (singer), the flamenco dancer pours emotion from their body as rhythm bursts forth from their feet – beautiful, fierce and possessed.

At the heart of flamenco is not a step or a rhythm or a song, it is a mysterious quality known as duende. A dark creative force, an expression of soul and of struggle, duende is flamenco’s life force and the thread that links generations of performers to their Gypsy roots.
Those roots lie as long ago as the 15th century in Andalusia, southern Spain, where Moors, Jews and Gitanos (Gypsies) all faced persecution from the Catholic regime, and their cultural influences mixed with native Andalusian folk music to lay the foundations for this famous Gypsy art.
The first flamenco schools appeared in the late 18th century but flamenco saw its Golden Age from 1869-1910 when it was performed at café cantantes (music cafes) and began to reach a wide audience. In the early 20th century flamenco was presented in theatres and later in tacky shows for tourists. But when it looked like flamenco’s only function might be to flog castanets to sunburnt Brits, a new generation emerged to guarantee the integrity of the art form.
There is still heated debate about the importance of authenticity versus modernisation among the current crop of flamenco stars. Yet many dancers happily combine both, moving from spontaneous rhythmic improvisation to slicker choreographed sequences, or they dance the traditional forms – solea, alegria, buleria – while also drawing on broader influences.
(From Sedler’s Wells).