Since participating in the children’s parade as a three-month-old, Daniela Zerme±o has been in every Fiesta during her lifetime. After a competition involving an oral interview and a three-minute flamenco performance in front of a panel that judged her on costuming, music, choreography, stage presence, and overall effect, the 20-year-old Zerme±o was chosen to represent Old Spanish Days as the 2009 Spirit of Fiesta.

Daniela Zerme±o
Paul Wellman

Zerme±o began dancing 17 years ago and described being the Spirit of Fiesta as a personal dream of hers for as long as she can remember. When her brother was named Junior Spirit in 1998, she got to spend some time with the Spirit. “That’s when it really hit me that I wanted to be that person,” she said, adding that it’s really rewarding to finally realize the goal and to perform for the community.

She laughed when asked about her other activities, because really, all of her time is spent dancing. She coaches two dance teams-the San Marcos High School Junior Varsity Marquettes and the Emerald Dance Team, an all-star dance troupe for middle schoolers. While her summer days are devoted to working on Fiesta, she competes in dance contests throughout the school year. She even owns her own dance studio, Fuego Gitano, which she has been running for about eight years.

As the Spirit, Zerme±o will open the Fiesta celebration with the first official performance at La Fiesta Peque±a at the Mission. She has also designed all of the elaborate and colorful flamenco dresses that are the Fiesta costumes. Keep an eye out for her as she dances around town and speaks about Old Spanish Days and the tradition that Fiesta represents at events and parties.


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