La Chana

La Chana

“I was born to dance. I would lay awake all night long, repeating the rhythms in my head until they became a part of me.” —La Chana. Antonia Santiago Amador, known as La Chana, is 67 years old. She is helped onto an empty stage and settles into her chair with difficulty. Then her feet begin to move. Her body and soul succumb to the beat. She comes alive. In the 1960s and 1970s La Chana was perhaps the biggest star in the flamenco world. The self-taught Gypsy dancer rose to the scene at the height of the Golden Era of flamenco, surprising audiences worldwide with a style that was innovative: rhythmic combinations that were nontraditional and a speed, an expression and a power while dancing that were unprecedented. Peter Sellers, with whom she features in the film The Bobo (1967) invited her to Hollywood. But she didn’t go. Instead, at the zenith of her career, she suddenly disappeared from the scene. As we follow the backstage drama leading to La Chana’s final seated performance in 2013, she unravels her turbulent life story and reveals the secret that cut short her promising career: for 18 years she was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her first husband. But La Chana isn’t about regret for a life that could have been, but about La Chana’s strength to keep overcoming difficult life circumstances. Filled with fantastic flamenco music and dance, it’s a story about the process and power of creation, about love, friendship, and re-invention. (Associated event: Free Intro to the Art of Flamenco! with producer Deirdre Towers.)

Additional Information

Iceland/Spain/U.S.A. 2017 – DCP – 83 Minutes

In Spanish with English subtitles

Director: Lucija Stojevic

Producers: Lucija Stojevic, Deirdre Towers, Susan Muska, Greta Olafsdottir

With: La Chana

Print courtesy: Noon-Films