The Center for World Music is delighted to welcome Lakshmi Basile to our family of outstanding teaching artists in residence, joining our World Music in the Schools program.

Lakshmi Basile, nicknamed “La Chimi” by her peers, is a flamenco dancer and performer of the highest level. To watch her in motion is an enchanting experience as she enters an almost trance-like state, becoming one with the music. It’s clear the dance is coming from somewhere deep inside of her, connecting to ancestral spirits and roots that are impossible to describe with words. They have a word for this in Flamenco: duende. Those who have been in the audience or have clapped palmas around the fire while Lakshmi dances know what a magical experience it can be.

Offstage, Lakshmi is down-to-earth and laughs easily. It’s inspiring to see how she takes a dance that can be intimidating for many and breaks it down in a fun and engaging way for her students. Her passion and expertise gently guide her lessons in a way that’s accessible for all, no matter the age or experience.

But who is this ethereal artist, and where did she come from?

Photo: Paco Sanchez

Lakshmi Basile began performing at the age of six with her parents’ band The Electrocarpathians. She grew up in a bohemian household filled with music and dance with her father, a prominent San Diego musician, and her mother, an artist from Argentina. She studied dance at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, the University of California Santa Barbara, and within the flamenco community of San Diego, finally traveling to Spain at the age of 20 to complete her flamenco studies. She was quickly embraced by artists and teachers, and found work in tablaos and at private flamenco events alongside well-known artists.

“La Chimi” became one of the first and only foreign artists in Spain to win a coveted national prize, the Concurso de las Minas de La Unión, and she was also awarded the Concurso Nacional de Arte Flamenco de Córdoba. There she surprised flamenco critics, and received high praise from Alberto García Reyes, ABC, who described her performace as “un desgarrador homenaje a los románticos de lo jondo” (a heart-wrenching homage to the romantics of pure flamenco).

Before returning to San Diego, Lakshmi worked for over fifteen years in Seville, the cradle of flamenco, where she performed daily as a soloist at the tablao El Palacio Andaluz. She has worked alongside significant artists in private events and festivals internationally, including Great Britain, Denmark and Uruguay, and produced her own show in Spain called “Zarabanda, Lo Que Duerme en el Cuerpo de los Gitanos” (Zarabanda, What Sleeps in the Body of the Gypsies).

She is sought after as a teacher by flamenco students in Spain and the United States, and we are very fortunate to have her teach and perform in San Diego. Lakshmi Basile has found her purpose and career as a flamenco dancer because that is what she is in her soul and heart.

Photo: Sari Makki-Phillips

“Su baile es de una alegría conquistada” (Her dance is one of conquered joy). — Félix Grande, poet and flamencologist

“La única cosa americana que tiene es su pasaporte”  (The only American thing she has is her passport). — Ángel Ojeda, former Minister of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía

Welcome, Lakshmi, to our Center for World Music family! We are so delighted and honored to have you join us.

Visit Lakshmi’s flamenco dance website.