Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
A Small Slice of San Anto’s Spooky Haunts

A Small Slice of San Anto’s Spooky Haunts

Arts & Culture: San Antonio is one of the oldest cities in the United States, and its history stretches long before the people behind the American or Texas Revolutions... By Mark Reagan 10/15/2014

Best Salsa Club

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Arts & Culture: In one of the final chapters of his book To Selena, With Love (out March 6), Selena's widower Chris Perez mentions that Abraham Quintanilla, his former father-in-law, once... By Enrique Lopetegui 3/7/2012

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email


Rediscovering La Presy, San Antonio's gift to flamenco



La Presy in Granada, the "Comanche Indian" that became a "Sacromonte gypsy."

Photo: , License: N/A

At El Poco Loco, mid-to-late 60s. El Curro is on guitar.

Related stories

Early dancing partner and eventual boyfriend Manolo Valente claims to have taught La Presy her first basic footwork (zapateado).

"I'm the one who didn't want to teach her, but she was very persistent and kept asking me," said Valente, who spent three years as a member of the company of legendary El Greco (José Greco, an influential Italian-American dancer and choreographer who died in 2000). Valente taught her some basic zapateado and asked her to practice for "two to four weeks." Two weeks later, La Presy called back.

"I went to see her and I was spellbound," said Valente. "Her feet were like machine guns, I couldn't believe it. She had learned everything. Those feet spoke to you. She had the unbelievable gift of a photographic memory."

But if Valente taught her the basics, it was Teresa Champion (El Curro's wife) who became La Presy's first full-time flamenco teacher. As was the case with every person interviewed for this story (both here and in Spain), Teresa Champion is still amazed by La Presy's capacity to absorb information.

"She was very good as a girl and incredibly talented as a dancer," Teresa Champion said. "It was as if she had a photo camera in her brain. We would teach her a step, and she'd never forget it."

Between the late '60s and early '70s, La Presy danced regularly in San Antonio at places like Six Flags, the Arneson Theater, and El Poco Loco on North Presa. In 1973, she joined the Ciro company in New Orleans' Chateau Flamenco (Ciro Diezhandino being a world-renowned U.S.-based Spanish dancer and choreographer). She began receiving offers to dance around the country; her career was on the rise. Then, tragedy struck.

The accident

On Easter Day in 1975, on the night she would replace dancer Morayma Muñoz at a show at New York's Chateau Madrid, the cab they were riding in was hit head-on and both Muñoz and La Presy flew out the back window. Muñoz died at the scene and La Presy was sent to Bellevue Hospital.

"[La Presy's] heart stopped at the emergency room a couple of times and she had to be revived," said sister Gladys Donovan. "She was told she could never dance or walk properly again," said Gladys.

But La Presy was tough and wouldn't take no for an answer. A year after the accident she was dancing again, and in 1979 she visited Granada, Spain. She fell in love with the place, returned briefly to the States, and then she was gone. Only this time, her look changed.

"After the accident, she started wearing pants [to hide the scars from the accident]," said Josie Champion. "She never wore dresses or skirts again. A very powerful feminine/masculine look."

"Nobody wanted her to go and live there by herself, but she was headstrong and that's what she wanted to do," said Debra Archuleta, her niece.

In the early '80s, La Presy in Granada was like a fish in the water. Right from the start, she was able to blend in — she had the chops, and she had the looks. Her family confirmed the fact that she had some Comanche Indian blood in her, but not nearly as much as she claimed.

Recently in Music
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus