Pilar López was
a nationally known Spanish Exhibition dancer. She studied dance
with Julia Castelão in Madrid as a young girl. She was
the younger sister to the legendary Encarnación López
Júlvez aka La
Argentinita. Pilar debuted in cafes at the early age of 15
sharing the stage with such notables as Pastora Imperio, La Malena
and Macarrona and later in the early 1930s joined her sister's
When Encarnación died suddenly in 1945, José
Greco and Pilar López, escorted her body back to Madrid,
Spain and in mourning, Pilar announced her retirement from the
stage. However, she was persuaded to start performing again to
keep her sister's spirit alive. While in Madrid, on June 10, 1946
Greco and Pilar López formed a new company Ballet Espagnol
to carry on the works of Argentinita, they would tour
Europe and remained partners for three years. Pilar López
Spanish Ballet emphasized on group work and ran until her official
stage retirement in 1973.
She was to be the last
female representative of the golden age of flamenco ballet in
the 1930s and 1940s. Critics always praised the virtuosity and
authenticity of her pure and unmistakable style. She was a excellent
and serious classical Spanish dancer, but it was as a choreographer
teacher of young dancers that she excelled. She was known
to create many young and fine dancers, that she would use in her
Such as Rafael Ortega, Mario Maya (age 14),
Farruco and The Güito (age 13) and namely, a 16 year old
by the name of Antonio Gades ( Who later became head of the
Spanish National Ballet in 1978) and before his death said
he owed everything to Pilar.
Pilar based herself in
Madrid. She wanted to create a theatre tradition for the Flamenco-classical
fusion within Spain. Finance and fame came with the company's
world tours, making her better known in Paris or Tokyo than in
native land of Spain. She would restage tribute's of several of
her sister's works. She choreographed and danced in Ravel's Bolero,
Rimsky-Korsakov's Spanish Caprice, Falla's The Three-cornered
Hat and Le Tricorne and El amor brujo (both to music by de Falla).
When she dared to do Debussy's Preludes and Images in 1958, they
also triumphs. Yes, she was Innovative, creative and courageous.
She is credited with the invention of the 'Reed Dance', and the'
dance of the snails, although she gave the authorship to her sister.
She married and later
separated from her husband Thomas Rivers, an orchestral conductor
and director in 1973. She lived in the flat Encarnación
had bought in the 1930s and left to her upon her death. Physically
and mentally fit all her life, she could be seen in wings of any
Spanish dance event to the very end of her 95 years of life.