The Passion of Flamenco continues . . .

We are excited to announce the Spring 2016 residencies of two acclaimed flamenco dancers from Spain. Belén Maya and Leonor Leal are placed among the best flamenco dancers in Spain today. Both have impeccable credentials in the traditional flamenco form, and both are pushing the boundaries of what flamenco can be and say in the contemporary world. Each artist will visit established courses, and present master classes, demonstrations and small group sessions during their four-day residencies in February and March. We are also co-sponsoring the return of Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana to Motorco Music Hall over the Valentine’s Day weekend, February .

These events are co-sponsored with the generous support of Spanish Studies and the Program in Women's Studies at Duke.

Read the article from the Duke Chronicle, January 21, 2016:

  • Residency with Belén Maya, February 3-6, 2016, Duke University.

    • Belén Maya, joins scholars Michelle Heffner Hayes and Meira Goldberg for a conversation about the Art of Flamenco. Wed, Feb 3, 12:00pm, Ark Dance Studio. Free. Lunch provided.

    • Belén Maya, gives a lecture and demonstration of the art of flamenco with guitarist José Luis Rodríguez and cantaor Francisco J. Orozco. Friday, Feb 5, 7pm, Ark Dance Studio. Free.
    • Belén Maya will teach an open master class of flamenco. Sat, Feb 6, 11-12:30pm, Ark Dance Studio. Free and open to the public. (DDP)
    • See her on and     
  • Residency with Leonor Leal, March 23-26, 2016, Duke University. 

  • Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, Tablao Performances, February 12, 13, 14, 2016, Motorco Music Hall. Tickets.

Flamenco at Duke University

These residencies continue the Dance Program’s course of support and investigation into the art of flamenco for over a decade. We have forged a 12-year relationship with Carlota Santana and Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, beginning with the full-credit course offering, The Art and Cultural History of Flamenco. Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana has been presented twice by Duke Performances, the last time in Page Auditorium in 2012 in an unprecedented sold out performance. A week before that concert, we presented the symposium, FLAMENCO ALIVE! New Research in the Vital Art of Flamenco. With the support of a Visiting Artist Grant from the Council for the Arts, the Dance Program followed that with a second symposium, The Passion of Flamenco, held last year, along with sold-out tablao performances by Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana at MotorCo Music Hall.


Belén Maya, daughter of two great flamenco artists, Carmen Mora and Mario Maya, began her dance studies in Madrid. Trained since a young age by the best – Paco Fernández, María Magdalena, Goyo Montero, Rosa Naranjo, Carmen Cortés and Paco Romero among others – she continued her studies in Seville with Anunciación Rueda “La Tona” and started performing at several prestigious flamenco shows, such as Café de Chinitas and Corral de la Pacheca in Madrid, or Los Gallos in Seville. After spending a year at the Spanish National Ballet, she joined the Mario Maya Company where within three years she went from being a member of the ensemble to becoming the principal dancer and répétiteur of the company. She was invited by renowned Spanish film director Carlos Saura to represent the new generation of flamenco in his world-renowned film Flamenco. Belén’s performance in this film would become a milestone in flamenco dance as interpreted by women, opening new avenues in terms of concept, musicality, movement, and costuming. Transparent and in balance with tradition, Belén has perfected her technique and expression to become the best female flamenco dancer in Spain. Free, creative, daring, restless and open-minded: Belén still symbolizes progress in flamenco dance. The constant quest for innovation and new challenges drives her from one extreme to another, from the neo-classical entente with Mayte Martín to the contemporary alliance with Rafaela Carrasco.

Belén Maya will be accompanied by Francisco Orozco “Yiyi” a percussionist and singer from an Andalusia family. Born in Barcelona, was introduced to Flamenco rhythms at the tender age of four. Yiyi was trained by flamenco singer and father  “Joselón de Jerez” in his Spanish peña named “Peña Fosforito.” Considered a “child prodigy” of percussion Yiyi began his professional career at the age of 12. By age 17, and one CD later, he became more involved with singing, and left Spain for Germany on a long-term contract with the company “Flamenco Rubio.” Since that time he has performed throughout Europe and Japan; with María Benitez at “Teatro Flamenco” and Domingo Ortega as well as at “Casa Patas” in Madrid; with Jose Greco II; and with world-renowned guitarist Serranito. He has also performed with Alejandro Granados, Yolanda Heredia, El Toleo, El Pelao, María Serrano, La Tania and Antonio Granjero.

We are also fortunate to have flamenco guitarist Jose Luis Rodriguez who began his training at age nine in the local Peñas Flamencas and soon began performing in the "tablaos" (Flamenco clubs) alongside the famous gypsy guitarist El Niño Miguel several nights a week during his teenage years. In 1995 he appeared in Felix Grande's book "Agenda Flamenca" as one of the twenty best guitarists in Spain. He has performed in numerous countries such as Belgium, Holland, Italy, Morocco, Turkey, Israel, Germany, England, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Japan, Canada, and the United States. Most recently, Rodriguez debuted a piece of musical history at the Miami Dade Auditorium entitled "Avalon - Suite for Flamenco Guitar and Orchestra." After moving to the US in 2011, Rodriguez co-founded Nu Flamenco Collaborative, Inc., an organization that aims to introduce US audiences to the cultural heritage of flamenco and its emerging artistic expressions.  

Leonor Leal began her dance education in Jerez de la Frontera in classical and Spanish dance. Later she also took up flamenco, studying with several prominent teachers both in Jerez and Seville. Her first professional engagements were in the companies of Antonio El Pipa, Andrès Marin, Javier Baron and in the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia conducted by Cristina Hoyos. She performed in well-known productions such as “Femenino Plural, “Alicia,” “El Pais de las Maravillas,” “Serenata Andaluza,” “Jovenes Valores del Flamenco” and “Viva Jerez.” In 2008 she presented her first choreography “Leoleole” at the festival of Jerez 2008, and was also named the most outstanding female dancer at a renowned contest in Madrid. This recognition allowed her to break through both in Spain and abroad. She has danced in several Sevillian tablaos and taught at the “Andres Marin-Flamenco Abierto” academy in the Spanish capital.

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana is one of the nation’s premier Flamenco and Spanish dance companies, reaching its 30th Anniversary Season. Carlota Santana and Roberto Lorca (d. 1987) founded Spanish Dance Arts Company in 1983 with a mission to bring flamenco to mainstream audiences. Since then Flamenco Vivo has grown into one of the leading flamenco companies in the United States. Its mission has expanded to include

  • the promotion of flamenco as a living art form and as a vital part of Hispanic heritage;
  • the creation of quality new dance works and their presentation in major theatrical venues;
  • the presentation of arts education programs that catalyze connections among people of different cultures;
  • and the nurturing of the next generation of Spanish dance artists.

Company members are acclaimed in both Spain and the US, and include outstanding flamenco guitarists, singers and dancers. All members of the company are fully bilingual and can teach or present in either English or Spanish. Company members are accomplished teachers; they have provided workshops and taught extensively as part of the company’s mission. The company performs in an average of 25 cities across the United States every year and provides community outreach, arts in education programs, and master classes and workshops in its New York City and North Carolina home bases, in addition to its Center for Flamenco Arts.

K. Meira Goldberg “La Meira” is a flamenco performer, teacher, choreographer and historian. Her first and dearest teacher was Carmen Mora. She performed 1980–85 in Madrid tablaos with Manolo Soler, Antonio Canales, El Indio Gitano, El Chato de la Isla, and other major artists. She holds an MFA in choreography and performance and an EdD in dance history from Temple. Her doctoral dissertation on Carmen Amaya, which references over thirty-five interviews with figures such as Diego Castellon and Leo and Antonia Amaya, is a widely used resource within the English-speaking flamenco community. As a dancer, she helped found several U.S. flamenco companies, including Carlota Santana Flamenco Vivo, Fred Darsow Dance, and Pasión y Arte. Since going gray, Meira co-curated 100 Years of Flamenco in New York at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts with Ninotchka Bennahum, and co-authored the exhibition catalog (2013). She contributed to, translated, and co-edited Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical, and Theoretical Perspectives (McFarland, 2015) with Ninotchka Bennahum and Michelle Heffner Hayes. With Antoni Pizà she organized a conference on Spaniards, Indians, Africans and Gypsies: The Global Reach of the Fandango in Music, Song and Dance; bilingual proceedings have been published in Spain (Música Oral del Sur, 2015) and an all-English version is forthcoming from Cambridge Scholars. She is working on a monograph titled Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco, forthcoming from Oxford University Press; her article of the same title is in Dance Chronicle 37:1. She teaches at Fashion Institute of Technology and is a Visiting Research Scholar at the Foundation for Iberian Music at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Michelle Heffner Hayes, a dancer, choreographer and dance scholar, holds a Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies (formerly Dance History and Theory) from UC-Riverside. Following more than a decade as a curator and director of organizations devoted to multidisciplinary performance and the commissioning of new work, she joined the faculty of the department of dance at the University of Kansas in 2006, where she serves as chair and teaches modern dance, improvisation, choreography, dance history and flamenco. The Kansas Arts Commission awarded Hayes the 2009 Mid-Career Artist Fellowship in Choreography. Select publications by Hayes include parallels in postmodern dance improvisation and flamenco (Taken By Surprise: An Improvisational Reader, 2003) and discussions of contemporary flamenco on film (Dancing Bodies, Living Histories: New Writings on Dance and Culture, 2000).  Her book Flamenco: Conflicting Histories of the Dance was published by McFarland in 2009. Most recently, Hayes contributed to and co-edited Flamenco on the Global Stage: New Writings in Flamenco Dance Studies with K. Meira Goldberg and Ninotchka Bennahum (McFarland, 2015).