George and Sakaye Aratani Japan America Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Asia America Symphony Orchestra / David Benoit
Dolores Del Carmen is a piece about my aunt Dolores who was a Flamenco dancer with José Greco. Her father, Elmer Ellsworth, who was my Grandmother’s younger brother and the youngest of seven children, was a costume fitter in 1930’s Hollywood and quite a flamboyant character. He married a Spanish actress-dancer in Mexico named Carmen Roux and they had a daughter, Dolores Ellsworth who adopted the stage moniker, “Dolores Del Carmen.”
Dolores’ life was also quite colorful. She traveled the world as a flamenco dancer and performed with the legendary Spanish performer José Greco as well as Los Churumbelos De España, “The Boys from Spain.”
She was strikingly beautiful and had a magnetic personality. I met her when I was a grade school student when she lived in Hollywood and was quite taken with her.
At many of my Mom and Dad’s parties in Hermosa Beach, she would, in the course of an impromptu jam session, get up and start dancing, sometimes making some of the wives of husbands in attendance a bit jealous.
When I began my career as a musician, I moved to Hollywood and she and her beautiful young son Juanito became my best friends. I became a big brother to Juan after his parents divorced and now he is a successful, Harvard educated, attorney living with his family in San Diego.
Dolores retired from the stage and followed in the footsteps of her father Elmer and became a costumer. Her home was the venue for many parties and I met a lot of very colorful characters (to put it mildly) who worked in show business.
Dolores’ life took a very tragic turn in the early 90’s however. As a result of a freak accident in her home, she broke her neck and spent the rest of her life as a quadriplegic. But one thing was certain: she never lost her spirit for life and her beautiful and touching smile. I will never forget her.
Notes by the composer and nephew, David Benoit