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Luna, Rosa (1937–1993)

Luna, Rosa (1937–1993)

Uruguayan dancer. Born Rosa Amelia Luna, June 20, 1937, in Montevideo, Uruguay; died of heart attack at 55 while performing in Canada, June 13, 1993; dau. of Ceferina "La Chunga" Luna; m. Raúl Abirad; children: (adopted) 1 daughter.

A cultural icon of Uruguay, learned Afro-Uruguayan dance candombe as child in tenement slums; began performing in street carnivals as vedette dancer with a group called Los Zorros Negros (The Black Foxes), then with Fantasía Negra (Black Fantasy); went on to found dance groups, including Comparsa Afro Oriental (Afro-Uruguayan Group); performed at clubs and concerts, becoming celebrated for expressive, sensual, energetic dance style; while working as a prostitute, killed a man who was attacking her, but was pardoned because of circumstances; returned gradually to dancing and increased in popularity, becoming something of a living myth; performed throughout Latin America and in Canada, Australia and US. For her funeral, a crowd of over 300,000 filled the streets of Montevideo.

See also Rosa Luna and Raúl Abirad, Sin tanga y sin tongo (Without a G-String and Without Lies, 1988).

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