Deborah La Caramelita‘s extended career of a professional flamenco dancer has made the woman find herself performing in front of most varied audiences all around the world. However diverse the languages her spectators speak might be, they all understand and appreciate the language of dance practised by Deborah.
Capable of conveying a wide range of emotions that seem to be part and parcel of the dance, La Caramelita makes one completely enchanted with her refined technique, flamboayant flamenco dresses and shawls, and heartfelt passion for what she does.
How did you first come up with your stage name – “La Caramelita”?
It was actually my husband who came up with the name. “La Caramelita” literally means “little caramel” and he thought that it described my physicality as well as my personality. It’s quite common for flamenco artists to have stage names and my real name, Deborah Dawson, doesn’t quite have the same Andalusian ring to it.
Are you your own choreographer or do you have one?
It depends on the project. I have been asked to perform in dance companies where there is a choreographer who stages everything from start to finish, but most of the time I put my choreographies together. Flamenco is different from many other dance styles as there is a lot of improvisation involved. I may choreograph one thing and then do something quite different when on stage. Also, there are a lot of traditional movements, so I may put the movements in a different order but I didn’t originally create some of them.
What’s your most memorable performance?
One of my favourite performances was at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival a few years back. The festival takes place a couple of blocks away from where I grew up and I used to volunteer there. Every year I would be so inspired from seeing performers from all over the world make people dance and sing. Coming back to the festival as a performer and sharing what I had learned after so many years felt very special.
How did you become part of Le Projet Téléphone? What’s in it for you?
I was approached by Melissa Rindell, founder of Le Projet Téléphone in Bordeaux. She asked if I would be interested in being a part of the project and after learning more about it I jumped at the idea. I thought it would be so interesting to put a piece together that had to follow a completely different structure than what I am used to. I think it made me grow as an artist and I’ve made some new friends from the experience. There’s a really great community that came together because of Le Projet Téléphone and I’m very grateful to Melissa and to all the artists involved.
What emotions do you experience when dancing flamenco?
All of them. No, really. Everything that I’ve experienced in my life at one point or another comes out when I’m on stage. There’s joy, pain, jealousy, anger, playfulness, love, passion, anger, hurt, loneliness. I am drawn to flamenco because of these varying emotions and how well different “palos” (styles) can express and eventually heal.
What’s the most difficult aspect of dancing flamenco?
Again, all of it. I find that flamenco is the perfect example of the more I learn, the more I realize that there’s still so much more to learn. I guess it keeps me on my toes, literally.
Is it easy to find a job as a flamenco dancer?
I wouldn’t say that it is easy, but moving to Bordeaux has definitely made working a little easier. It’s an up and coming city with a growing cultural demand and I’ve found that audiences are responsive to flamenco shows.
What do you like doing in your free time?
Yoga and meditation. As much as I love flamenco it can take a negative tole on me physically as well as mentally. I’ve recently found that yoga helps me balance out, relax, and come back to dance with a fresh perspective. Between dance, yoga, reading, biking, hiking, apéros with too much rosé, and watching too much netflix, I fill what is left of my free time with eating cheese. Vive la France, non?
Interested in learning more about Deborah “La Caramelita” or getting in touch with her? Here is where you can find her: