Conchi Paniagua Valiente
Director and founder of Centro “El Lucero”
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it~ Goethe”.
Born in Madrid on October 9, 1974, the only child of Julia and Juan, Conchi grew up in the neighborhood of Villaverde Bajo (Madrid). Is in that neighborhood where she began what will culminate in Centro El Lucero, located in Cortes quarter in Madrid.
Conchi Paniagua was close, since her childhood, to the echoes of the flamenco coming from the gypsy villages of her native Villaverde. However, these flamenco echoes did not capture the attention of a restless and awake girl who seemed, in her eyes, to be always looking for something that only she knew it existed, but didn’t know where to find it. Conchi, as our heading introduces, was born with the boldness that Goethe placed as the epicenter of great creative personalities.
She usually listened to copla from a cousin who was a cantaora (flamenco singer), and at weddings where her family took her there was always some flamenco as well. She didn’t seem to be attracted to either jondo or Spanish singing, which in the Spain of the seventies were confused and alternated.
The flamenco “duende” (known as the magic some flamenco artists get to achieve on stage and convey to the public) is not key to flamenco itself but appears according to the environment, the moment, and how one is destined to participate in it. When Conchi was a child, she said that she did not like flamenco and when she did not say it, she thought of it but at the same time she was fascinated when her aunt Nati sang coplas of the Spanish singer Mari Fé de Triana. The love for her aunt woke up a “duende” in Conchi that she still could not recognize but that would mark her life.
During her youth, she met Raúl, a man who made her fall in love while listening to Rafael Farina and Grupo Barrio. From here, Conchi’s life will always be entangled with flamenco and she will have a partner with whom to start a family. It will take a while for Conchi to recognize the “duende” as a true travel companion, but like that tickle that guides people destined to creativity of their own, she will not cease to provoke in her restlessness, to imbue her with projects, and to give her a push to carry them out.
While she felt deeply loved by her aunt, there was not much love in her home: neither between her mother and father nor for her. The lack of love in her childhood made her stronger and lead her to grow up with a fierce commitment to improve herself and to face adversity.She was a good student at school and high school but she didn’t enter the university because she needed to find her own path. The world, for the time being, had lost a brilliant lawyer.
If we look at her formal education, Conchi studied Business Administration, Accounting, and computer science. From 1994 to 2004, she worked as a freelancer for the construction company of Raúl. They got married and together they started a specialized construction company managed by Raúl and in which, besides the purely administrative management, Conchi starts to be in charge of the human resources department.
At this point in our story, it could seem that Conchi’s passion for flamenco had fallen asleep and hide behind her business activity, later on we will see that nothing could be further from the truth. Conchi, with Raul, is the mother of Daniel, María, and Elena.
María has inherited from her mother her love for flamenco and has grown up into an excellent flamenco dancer. Elena, the little sister, follows the path of María with her own dancing style and has a promising future in flamenco.
In 2017, Conchi became a partner of the “Centro Flamenco Foundation”, later renamed Foundation Dolores Jiménez. One year later, Conchi embraces her passion for flamenco with all her love and determination by founding the School of Dance and Flamenco ‘El Lucero’, located in the street Marqués de Cubas 25, in Madrid.
Thus, since then, Conchi runs this center offering a wide range of workshops, flamenco and dance lessons, and wellness courses.
El Lucero smells of carnations because this was the first smell of flamenco that Conchi remembers. All El Lucero’s rooms smell of orange and cinnamon because they are the natural essences that inspire Conchi as well as El Lucero’s project. Anyone experiencing the tingling feeling of passion for arts is welcomed and expected at El Lucero.
Barrio de las Letras in Madrid (Madrid’s literary quarter) June 5, 2020.
Escritora de El Lucero
Departamento de Comunicación