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During 1939, when Carmen Amaya was in Cuba, she made a short film called El Embrujo del Fandango (The Bewitching Fandango). One of the central moments in the film is when Carmen Amaya dances a stylised form of fandango called El Embrujo del Fandango. There she is accompanied by a small orchestra, but it is a wonderful performance and the piece became a feature of her live performances for many years to come. 

Amaya

There are a number of reasons that I wanted to introduce you to this film: the Fandango element of course, and Carmen Amaya’s dancing, but notice also her incredible castanet playing during the whole dance. 

When she is dancing El Embrujo de Fandango, she wears a costume designed for her in the style of a bullfighter’s outfit, with the short, jewel encrusted jacket. That costume became another famous and ground-breaking aspect of her performances, as well as her outfit pictured above.

© 2010 Thérèse Wassily Saba

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