MEXICO: Lady of Spain

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Lola Flores, a dark-haired, deep-bosomed Spanish flamenco dancer with a throaty voice and glittering black eyes, is the current rage of Mexico City. Getting a table for her 2 a.m. show at the fashionable, mirror-ceilinged Club Capri requires luck and pull plus about 150 pesos ($16.40) per person cover charge, a record price for a Mexico City night spot. At the Iris Theater, where Lola dances before her nightclub show, tickets are priced at 15 pesos, but scalpers get as much as 50.

Tears & Laughter. Mexicans agree that Lola Flores does not dance quite as well as Carmen Amaya, or sing as well as Argentine-born Cinemactress Imperio Argentina. Some other dancers have perhaps been more beautiful. But none combined beauty, grace and voice like Lola Flores. Already the toast of Spain, she is creating the greatest stir in Mexico's entertainment world since the brilliant bullring performance of Manolete.

Singing her songs of loves that are dead or dying, she seems at times on the verge of tears, suddenly switches to a hardly repressed gust of defiant laughter. What the words do not say she suggests with a sway of her body, a flutter of her fan, a twirl of her floor-brushing skirts. Her biggest hit: Pena Penita (Little Sorrow).

Aye, sorrow, little sorrow, Sorrow in my heart Running through my veins With the force of a cyclone.

More than Money. Now 25, Lola was born and raised in a small town in Andalusia. A barkeeper's daughter, she began singing and dancing for her father's customers soon after she learned to talk and toddle. At 15 she made her first movie playing a flamenco artist. Since then, life has been a dizzying, prosperous round of flamencos on movie sets, stages and nightclub floors. Except for a few top matadors, she is Spain's highest-paid entertainer. For her tour of North and South America, which will take her to Havana, Rio, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and New York, she gets $12,000 a month, plus expenses.

Success has brought Lola more than money. On the Riviera, as she tells it, Winston Churchill hugged her and said: "Of all the artists I have ever seen sing and dance, I think you are the best." Says Lola: "Knowing his high place in the world of politics, I count his congratulations among my greatest rewards." Mexicans admire Lola, too—in their own way. Her dressing room at the Capri is flooded with discreetly written requests for dates from Mexico's greatest names. Sample, from a very prominent politico: "My car, with a fur coat inside, will be waiting for you every night."