At her studio and home. Los Angeles, CA.
Inesita has dedicated her life to Spanish dance, and especially to Flamenco, which originated in Andalusia, and is the most popular form of all Spanish dance. The various provinces of Spain each have their own particular dance styles, and Inesita had the chance to study them all. Since she was a child growing up in New York with her musician parents, she was intrigued by the elegant and complex rhythms of this unwritten art form, known as Flamenco. Having stumbled on a Flamenco class, and later learning what the mysterious rhythms were all about, it became a total obsession for her. She trained formally in this art, the same way she learnt music, and to this day, still practices on the two gorgeous instruments, an antique piano and a harpsichord, both of which take pride of place in her living room.
As we approach her studio at her home in Los Angeles, we can hear the ‘taconeao’ (feet stomp) on the 'tarima' from some distance away. We are surprised by the energy of the sound coming out of her studio, as well as the guitar tunes that accompany her dance. But what blows us away is seeing her moving so gracefully as we enter the room. She demonstrates amazing strength and determination, in spite of her age, and she is able to perform syncopated moves that have even disappeared from the Flamenco discipline in Spain, where she learnt from the very finest dancers. Learning the complex choreography alone is a challenge of the highest order, a precise exercise of listening and repetition, and requiring the same application as learning a musical instrument.
Her career is full of fascinating stories, travel and experiences, and at an early age she got the attention of some very influential Spanish dancers. She came with her parents to Hollywood, the center of the entertainment industry, which allowed her to become established, and to work on several films. Her performances were followed by many, and her beauty and elegant posture are still admired to this day (as the guitar player confides quietly to me while Inesita changes her shoes for Saturday practice). The press book of her photographs, newspaper clippings and various performance programs, which she has kept over the years, are a true journey through her memory and long, fascinating artistic career. Her dresses, mantones, shoes, and castañuelas, carefully kept like treasures, recall so many of her experiences of success and hard work. When you come to see Inesita in her welcoming home, you are in for a treat, and, as you listen to her closely, she might just delight you with some pretty tunes on the piano, or even some authentic Flamenco moves.
Cover Image: Leap in the 'Farruca' by Peter Basch 1955. 1. Inesita and Oscar Tarriba in 1941. 2. Inesita in 1943. 3. Inesita in London 1961. 4. Inesita in 1940 when she was only 18 years old.