Irene Cara, ‘Flashdance,’ ‘Fame’ singer, dead at 63
She was one of the most in-demand choreographers of her generation. “I just did everything I wanted to do,” she said in 2013.
Irene Cara was often credited with pioneering the flamenco dance craze in America, helping to introduce it to the world.
But in recent years, she was also accused of using her fame for self-aggrandizement, and was even forced to leave her studio in the Bronx after it became apparent she was using it to earn money.
Cara died Thursday at 11:30 p.m. at her Park Avenue home, just days before she was scheduled to release a new album. She was 63 and is survived by a son, Anthony.
A flamenco dancer who once performed with pop star Michael Jackson, she choreographed movies for Michael Douglas and Barbra Streisand, worked with Jennifer Lopez in her career-boosting debut film, “I Am Divine” and was nominated for an Oscar, best choreographer, in 2013. She also held her own in the world of ballet, winning the Nutcracker contest in 1995.
While flamenco danced have been around since the 14th century and the roots of the genre date back to Spain, most dancers can trace their lineage to those early days.
Flamenco is a combination of flamenco guitar, African dance, dance music and rumba, and was originated by Spain’s flamenco pioneers, the Sevillanos.
“It’s a wonderful dance and wonderful music, and at the same time very dangerous,” Cara once said of her dance. “If you’re not brave enough to dance it, it will kill you.”
Cara, whose mother was a flamenco dancer, started teaching herself the art in 1970. She moved to New York City to study dance at the School of American Ballet. Her first choreography, “Spanish Dance” for a 1983 film was a mix of flamenco and samba.
She then moved to California and was signed to a record contract. While she worked with Michael Jackson