La Argentinita

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La Argentinita, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1940

La Argentinita is the stage name of Encarnación López Júlvez (Buenos Aires, March 3, 1898 – New York, September 24, 1945), a Spanish dancer and singer.

She was brought to the north coast of Spain at an early age, where she began to learn Spanish regional dances.[1] Eventually, she danced to the compositions of Manuel de Falla, Joaquín Turina, Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, and Maurice Ravel.[2] She led in the development of Ballet Español.[3] Among her early performances was as the Butterfly in the 1920 premiere of Federico García Lorca's musical play El maleficio de la mariposa.[4]

La Argentinita later performed as a flamenco dancer. She staged several flamenco theatrical shows, including an adaption of Falla's El Amor Brujo (Love the Magician) in 1933, and Las Calles de Cádiz (The Streets of Cadiz) in 1933 and 1940.[5] The latter was inspired by "the love of her life, the bullfighter Ignacio Sánchez Mejías (killed in the bull ring in 1935)." Las Calles de Cádiz presented an innovation in flamenco performance, in that each artist not only danced or sung, but played a role so that the streets of Cádiz "seemed to come alive on stage." It was "the first large scale theatrical attempt at authentic flamenco".[6]

She chose the name La Argentinita in deference to dancer La Argentina. The Spanish choreographer and ballerina Pilar López Júlvez was her younger sister.[7]


  1. ^ D. E. Pohren, Lives and Legends of Flamenco (Madrid 1964, 1988), pp. 225-227, at 225 (north coast, regional).
  2. ^ Manuel Ríos Vargas, Antilogía de Baile Flamenco (Sevilla c.2001), p. 115 (composers).
  3. ^ Paco Sevilla, Queen of the Gypsies. The life and legend of Carmen Amaya (San Diego 1999), p. 169 (quoting Antonio Triana).
  4. ^ She partnered with Frederico Rey who, as Freddy Wittop, later enjoyed an award-winning career as a theatrical costume designer.
  5. ^ Ríos Vargas, Antilogía de Baile Flamenco (c.2001), pp. 115-116 (shows); 115 (Gitano ancestry).
  6. ^ Pohren, Lives and Legends (1988), p. 226 (three quotes); cf. 229 (not Gitano).
  7. ^ "Argentenita, La". The International Dictionary of Women's Biography. New York: Continuum Publishing. 1982. p. 23. ISBN 0-8264-0192-9. 

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