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Elizabeth Serna Flamenco Collection

Identifier: MSS-1100-BC

Scope and Contents

The collection contains a dance log used by Elizabeth Serna while a student of Elisa Cansino and as a teacher in New Mexico, a post card featuring the hands of Elisa Cansino playing the castanets, sheet music collected by Serna from her teachers in San Francisco, and Spanish music/flamenco record albums.


  • 1921-1958

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution


2 boxes : (.5 cu. ft.)

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


The collection contains a dance log used by Elizabeth Serna, a post card featuring the hands of Elisa Cansino playing the castanets, sheet music, and Spanish music/flamenco vinyl record albums.

Separated Materials

Flamenco books were transferred to CSWR book collection.

Biographical Information

Native Santa Fean, Elizabeth Serna (also known as Betty Serna, Isabelle Serna, and Betty Serna Cárdenas), studied dance at la Gitana Dance Studio in Santa Fe, NM in the 1940s. She had taken an interest in traditional Spanish and Mexican regional dance from experiences at community events in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico. Serna moved to California after graduating from high school to study at the San Francisco Ballet School (1947). One of the teachers there, Guillermo del Oro, was from Spain and taught classical Spanish dances. She also connected with Elisa Cansino, from whom she took private lessons in Spanish dance. Both of these teachers helped Serna refine her technique and castanet skills. Elizabeth Serna, was featured on the cover of New Mexico Music in 1947 and was crowned Fiesta Queen the following year. Upon her return to New Mexico, she opened her own studio, where she taught Spanish dance classes. She was also a volunteer instructor at Santa Fe’s St. Vincent’s Orphanage, and taught regularly at the Taos Inn.

Source: Chávez, Nicolasa. The Spirit of Flamenco: from Spain to New Mexico>. Museum of New Mexico Press, 2015.
Finding Aid of the Betty Serna Cárdenas Collection
B. Silbergleit
June 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131