Trending
MOST READ
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
Best Guacamole

Best Guacamole

Best of 2012: San Antonio has its share of great guacamole makers, but it's hard to find a more devoted and careful team of avocado artists than those found at this River Walk... 4/25/2012
Best Public Place to Have Sex

Best Public Place to Have Sex

Around Town: Critic's Pick: 4/23/2014
Best Pizza

Best Pizza

Food: Reader's Choice: 4/23/2014
Best Sandwiches

Best Sandwiches

Food: Reader's Choice: 4/23/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Music

Rediscovering La Presy, San Antonio's gift to flamenco

Photo: PHOTOS COURTESY OF TREVIÑO FAMILY, License: N/A

PHOTOS COURTESY OF TREVIÑO FAMILY

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


"She said she was a full-blooded Comanche Indian," said Nacho Martín, director of the prestigious Granada's Carmen de las Cuevas academy, where La Presy taught from 1996 to 2000. "She had the blackest of hairs, the facial features. She had a very authentic racial look.

Everyone thought she was a gypsy."

Juan Pinilla, a well-known flamenco cantaor (singer), scholar, and journalist from Granada, shed further light on the significance of La Presy's acceptance among the gypsies.

"In flamenco, the most difficult thing to achieve is the acceptance of Andalusian gypsies," said Pinilla. Though flamenco has developed in Andalusia from a blend of cultures, including the Moors and other many peoples who have lived in Spain, it is widely accepted that it is a gitano thing. "The gypsies think they own it and discriminate against Castilian artists. But La Presy was considered a gypsy by the gypsies, which is a badge of honor only reserved for high-quality [performers]."

Renowned bailaor Manolete met La Presy "about 30 years ago," when he spotted her dancing at a Granada hall named El Neptuno.

"Hey, what are you doing in Granada? You're dancing very well," Manolete told her. "I suggested she should stay in Granada." La Presy could not have agreed more.

But at that point La Presy wasn't the full-fledged flamenco powerhouse she would become later. Because she came from a classical and tap school, her body and arms were different, and she was overdoing her footwork.

"She had to adapt her body and understand that, if you do everything with your feet … well, you'll get too many calluses," Manolete said. "She was able to adapt and her transition was successful."

La Presy only took a handful of classes and workshops with Manolete, but she made them last.

"She was like a sponge," Manolete said. "She'd pick up the music and the steps quickly, store them in her little head, and practice on her own. She never forgot anything. And that's why her style always resembled mine. She could dance as well as anybody else and could've achieved more as a dancer. But she chose to stay [in Granada as a teacher] and was very strong at Sacromonte."

In 1985 she gave classes to 50 gypsy children as part of an official minority campaign by the City of Granada, and in 1989 she presented her first choreography in Granada, a three-act ballet based on One Thousand and One Nights. She danced in France, Italy, Greece, and Switzerland, and in 1997 she taught at the Peña La Platería, the world's oldest flamenco association.

As her reputation grew, more and more dancers wanted to dance with her. She left Carmen de las Cuevas to open her own school in one of Sacromonte's cuevas (caves). While most flamenco stars made their career in Madrid and Seville, La Presy stayed in Granada.

"Only Mariquilla [María Guardia], La Presy, and a handful of others were able to establish themselves in Granada," said Nacho Martín, from Carmen de las Cuevas. "She was a key figure because she was a great teacher, especially when it came to classic flamenco basics. She came from the Ciro school, which is a very important one."

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