Winter 2023 In Dance

to 4th 5th Generation Flamenco & Spanish Dancer

Humbly carrying on a Gitano family flamenco legacy


I WAS 5 YEARS OLD and it was “show and tell” day at my elementary school. I remember that day vividly because I was so excited to bring a little flamenco dancer doll and tell the class about mi mamá Carolina Lugo, a pro- fessional flamenco dancer, and how I liked to dance flamenco with my abuela (grandmother) too. It feels like it is all coming full circle now. There have been so many memorable things that have happened since, from per- forming professionally together for the majority of my life,

to now, where mi mamá at a fairly young age (she is in her 60’s) is sick and unable to get out of bed. Being the fifth generation flamenco and Spanish dancer in my family, this is the abridged version of our matriarchal familial story. We are Sephardic Jewish and Gitano , Spanish for Romani people, (we now say Romani people instead of the offensive “Gypsy” in English). As such, we were either killed or forced to leave Spain.

A VERY QUICK LESSON about the roots of flamenco so you can under- stand where my family fits into this. The Rajasthani Gitanos started their journey in India, went through the Middle East and North Africa, and ended up in Southern Spain. Flamenco has influences from all of these cul- tures with its way of life, rhythms, movements, melodies and various

So, my great-great-grandmother Domitila and her family moved to Mexico, along with a big black trunk of family heirlooms–marvelously sentimental things like an arrow- head, a glass eye, jewelry that my great-grandfather made, mantoncil- los (shawls) and more – that we still have to this day. My family stayed in Mexico and incorporated family

members of Indigenous and African descent while continuing to carry on the traditions of flamenco and Span- ish dance. My great-grandmother Romelia passed it on to my grand- mother Dora. She then married my grandfather Miguel (from Spain) and moved to Arizona, and then to Southern California where my mamá Carolina was born.


in dance WINTER 2023 26


WINTER 2023 in dance

In Dance | May 2014 |

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