Manuela Carrasco was born in Triana, Seville, in 1958, and from her early childhood displayed a natural instinct for flamenco dance. She was born into a family of gypsy flamenco artistes, her father José Carrasco, El Sordo, was an excellent dancer and Manuela learned the rudiments of the “baile flamenco” from simply being surrounded by the flamenco scene of Triana.
Her career began in the “tablao” El Jaleo, in Torremolinos and she went on to work in many more flamenco establishments including, Los Gallos in Seville, and Los Canasteros in Madrid.
At the age of thirteen Manuela Carrasco undertook a two-year tour of Europe (against the wishes of her parents) with the flamenco company of Curro Velez, and from then on her career snowballed.
She has been awarded many prizes for her unique and extremely natural style of “baile gitano” (gypsy dancing) and in 1974 she won the prestigious Pastora Imperio National Dance Award and this was the start of many trophies and honors that she would receive during her career.
But it was not only in Spain that she was recognized as one of the truly great flamenco dancers as she was also awarded the International Dance Prize in San Remo, Italy in 1976. In this same year she was part of a show named Gitano, in which she appeared along side Cameron de la Isla, Pansiquito, and El Lebrijano.
Manuela Carrasco was one of the principle figures on the festival circuit in the 1970’s and 80’s, appearing at the Potaje Gitano and the Festival de la Puebla de Cazalla. In factmost of the festival stages in Andalucía have been blessed with her impeccable style and natural gracía.
In 1986 she toured America with the show Flamenco Puro, accompanied by La Fernanda de Utrera, El Farruco and El Chocolate, some of the most influential names in flamenco at the time. And she astonished audiences in the Maestranza bullring during the 1992 Bienal de Flamenco in Seville, with a show called “….Y Sevilla” which was directed by José Luis Ortiz Nuevo.
In 1995 Manuela performed in the Carlos Saura film Flamenco along with Moraito Chico and José Mercé, a singer she regularly appears with.
She has presented many shows with her own dance company including Asi Baila Sevilla and Jondo Adonai and during the 2002 bienal (Bi-annual flamenco festival) in Seville she triumphed with the show Escencias in which she was again accompanied by El Chocolate.
Her latest offering is a show called Romali with which she traces the possible link between Indian and andalucian gypsy music. She is accompanied by the Hindu Kathak dancer, Maha Akhtar and together they perform traditional dance routines from Rajastan, Northern India, and Andalucía.
Manuela Carrasco is a fine dancer who was not academically trained and she is capable of performing with a temperament that is nearly in extinction.
The sheer emotion on her face as she dances is so passionate and she is unaware of any thing around her other than the beat of the music
She has an almost magical presence that surrounds her as she sits motionless, her profound gypsy features and dark piercing eyes are like an eagle watching its prey.
She stands from her seat to take her place, full of femininity and gracefulness, then in a display of frenzied aggression she produces the most intricate “zapateado” (shoe tapping/stomping) and all the time with a stern look of concentration on her face. With her eyes tightly shut and her hands on her hips; her whole body shakes to the rhythm of her feet.
Manuela Carrasco is married to the guitarist Joaquin Amador who regularly accompanies her on stage.