Lakshmi Basile “La Chimi”

Lakshmi Basile began performing at age six with her parents’ band The Electrocarpathians. She studied dance through primary, middle, and secondary school at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. She grew up within San Diego’s flamenco scene, where her passionate artistic persona began to form.

After performing regularly as a flamenco dancer in California and studying classical dance at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Lakshmi moved to Spain at age 20 to further her flamenco studies. She was fortunate to quickly be embraced by artists there and has come to work aside great artists such as Manuel Molina, Remedios Amaya, Antonio Moya, Carmen Ledesma, Antonio Rey… She was given the nickname La Chimi (which is simply her own name re-pronounced).

In recent years, Lakshmi Basile ‘La Chimi’ made history, being the first non-Spanish artist to win an award in the central Flamenco contest, Concurso de las Minas de La Unión, in 2011. She also was granted an award in another primary contest, the Concurso Nacional de Arte Flamenco de Córdoba. There she surprised Flamenco critics and received stunning reviews; “-un desgarrador homenaje a los románticos de lo jondo…” (a heartwrenching homage to the romantics of pure flamenco) Alberto García Reyes, ABC.

Within ten years, Lakshmi has solidly founded her career in Sevilla, the cradle of flamenco. She performs daily as the main protagonist at El Palacio Andaluz in Sevilla and appears with major flamenco artists at private parties and festivals throughout the year. She has also performed in Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Great Britain and Denmark, and produced her own theatrical show in Spain, entitled “Zarabanda, Lo Que Duerme en el Cuerpo de los Gitanos.” She is much sought after as a teacher by Flamenco students in Spain and gives workshops during her travels.

Lakshmi Basile has founded a substantial artistic career as a Flamenco dancer, because that is what she is at heart. “Su baile es de una alegria conquistada (her dance is a conquered happiness)”- Felix Grande, poeta and flamencoligist. “La unica cosa Americana que tiene es su pasaporte (the only American thing about her is her passport)”- Angel Ojeda, former minister of La Junta de Andalucía.

Top photo by Erik Voss