Gypsy King

Characterized by fervent stomping and virile poses, the farruca is a macho flamenco dance with origins in Galician popular culture. Manolete, the world-renowned flamenco dancer and long-reigning farruca king who first performed it in 1983, has described its manly moves as "very daring." A risk-taker, who is nonetheless known for the purity of his flamenco style, Manolete comes to Miami this Friday for an encore appearance with our local flamenco all-stars, Ballet Flamenco La Rosa. He will also conduct a ten-day workshop at the Performing Arts Network (PAN) in North Miami from Monday, June 23, to Thursday, July 3.

The mentor of a generation of charismatic male flamenco dancers including Joaquin Cortes, Manolete (née Manuel Santiago Maya) grew up in the Albaicin, a gypsy neighborhood in Granada, Spain, in a family of flamenco musicians. He danced at gatherings in the caves of Sacromonte (where some say flamenco was born) and began performing professionally at age fourteen. Flamenco aficionados cite Manolete, who has been described as "highly masculine," as the one who epitomizes the traditional style of male flamenco dance today.

"Manolete is a legend in the world of flamenco," notes Ballet Flamenco La Rosa's artistic director Ilisa Rosal in an announcement for the upcoming show. "He is a performer who has revolutionized the dancers' approach to flamenco -- technically, musically, and stylistically. [His] expertise and passion have inspired many of today's young flamenco stars."

Manolete will star in Ballet Flamenco La Rosa's production Nuestros Caminos (Our Paths), which also features guest soloist Susana Di Palma, singer Joni Cortes, and guitarists Basilio Garcia, Pedro Cortes, and Paco Fonta, as well as international flamenco soloists from Spain and North and South America.

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Judy Cantor