Rosalía's Choreographer Charm La'Donna Reveals the Stories Behind the Signature Moves

ISSUE 14 2019 - DO NOT REUSE
Taylor Hill/Getty Images
Rosalía performs during her El Mal Querer tour on April 30, 2019 in New York.

When she was 17, Charm La’Donna landed a coveted spot as a dancer on Madonna’s record-breaking Sticky & Sweet Tour -- thanks in part to her ability to krump. “She was looking for the type of performer who could be versatile,” says La’Donna of the pop icon. “I happened to be that girl.” The gig launched an impressive career for the now-31-year-old Compton, Calif., native, who began taking dance lessons at age 3 and has since worked with Britney Spears, Pharrell Williams and Selena Gomez. In 2018 she made headlines for devising and dancing in Kendrick Lamar’s Grammys performance, after serving as the only female dancer on the rapper’s DAMN. tour. Meanwhile, she has caught the eye of Anderson .Paak and Saweetie, who tapped La'Donna's skills for upcoming tours. Her latest project: choreographing for flamenco revivalist Rosalía, who DM’d her on Instagram early last year.

1. El Mal Querer Tour 

Soon after meeting over FaceTime, La’Donna spent two weeks in Rosalía’s native Spain choreographing the El Mal Querer tour -- which kicked off April 17 in Los Angeles -- with six backup dancers. Having never worked with flamenco before, she kept an expert instructor on hand to offer insight. “Flamenco is so important to who [Rosalía] is, and I wanted to be respectful,” says La’Donna.


2. "Con Altura" Music Video 

While working on the eye-popping music video for “Con Altura,” a reggaetón-inspired collaboration among Rosalía, J Balvin and El Guincho released in March, La’Donna made sure everyone’s ideas were heard. “I’m not the type of person who feels like, ‘This is what I think, so this is what we should do,’ ” she says. “We all value each other’s opinions and have the common goal to create art.” The clip has topped 207 million YouTube views, and in April, La’Donna taught its choreography at a Red Bull Music Festival master class in New York.

3. Coachella 2019 

La’Donna made an extra trip to Spain in March to perfect the choreography for Rosalía’s Coachella debut in April. (Rosalía also performed with Balvin during his main-stage set, shown above.) She’s especially proud of a minutelong rapid-fire air punch performed at the end of the singer’s yet-to-be-released “Como Ali.” Watching the performance, La’Donna says, she saw “people who look different, who speak different languages” in the audience. “That’s what is inspiring and what it has always been about to me.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the June 1 issue of Billboard.

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