Carlos Montufar is CEO of non-profit Phoenix World Arts Collective and director of WorldDANCE and Café Flamenco in Phoenix. He has collaborated with groups such as Inspiracion Flamenca, Zona Flamenca, co-directed Flamenco Por La Vida and teaches Flamenco lecture demonstrations to communities in New York and North Carolina through Carlota Santana's Flamenco Vivo. After moving to Phoenix in 2001 from El Paso, TX, his career path went from Architecture to performance after he began taking his first Flamenco lessons with Laura Moya. From there, he joined Martin Gaxiola’s CALO Flamenco and later moved to Albuquerque, NM in 2007 to study with the nation’s top Flamenco repertoire company YJASTROS, under director Joaquin Encinias. In 2009, Carlos moved to Las Vegas, NV to dance in CHARO’s production of CHARO: A Musical Sensation, and moved back to Phoenix later that year dedicating his time to Flamenco Por La Vida for the following 6 years. He is currently producing shows and organizing workshops that bridge the Phoenix Community to the local World Artists that live within it.
VICENTE GRIEGO “El Cartucho”
From Dixon/Embudo, NM, Vicente has devoted his life to the study of Cante Flamenco, the art of flamenco singing. In 1992, Vicente began touring the US, Canada, and Latin America with the Jose Greco II Flamenco Dance Company, where he was mentored by Caño Roto singer, Alfonso Gabarri,“El Veneno” of Madrid, Spain. He sings for Yjastros, the American Flamenco Repertoire Company out of AlbuRquerque and tours nationally and internationally year round. Vicente Griego is currently presenting the musical group ReVoZo. “Vicente Griego “El Cartucho” is striking for his deep, sonorous wails that seem to come from a cavern, someplace deep within his soul.” ~Anna Poplawska, Chicago Artist’s News
Jesus Muñoz Flamenco began as a small group with big dreams to pursue original work. Though modest in size, the quality of the work has reached world-class stature and reputation with collaboration from prominent artists. Recently, Muñoz has performed in respected dance and music venues from the Ford Theatre in Los Angeles to the Cowles Center for dance in Minneapolis as well as other respected venues: Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall, Detroit Institute for the arts, Jazz Cafe at Music Hall, Arvada Amphitheatre, Alegrias in New York City and the Lensic in Santa Fe. The company currently has an annual partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM reaching an estimated 3,000 people annually as well as national partnerships and collaborations from Los Angeles to New York City and Minneapolis to Dallas.
Jose Cortes Fernandez Was born in the south of France in 1974 to an important gypsy family of Almeria. At the age of 10 José begin his career in Jerez de la Frontera where he won the "Premio Del Joven aficionado del cante" flamenco. He was Accompanied on guitar by Terremoto hijo . He was immersed in the world exclamation out with the greatest artists such as Terremoto, Pansequito, Camarón de la Isla, Moraito Chico and Tomatito. Since then he has shared the stage with the best artist including Belen Lopez, Alfonso Losa, Sergio Arranda, Juan Ogala, Maria del mar Moreno, Antonio de la Malena, Manuel Malena, Mara Martinez, Andres Pena, Pilar Ortega, Juan Carmona, Nino de Los Reyes, Jesus Carmona, Belen Maya, Domingo Ortega, and Carmen Ledesma. In 2010, he moved to the United States and now works with many amazing artists such as Jason McGuire, Caminos Flamenco, Carola Zertuche, Melissa Cruz, Christina Hall. Recently, Jose was invited to be Antonio Carmona's (of Ketama) back up singer at the Nokia theater for Eva Longoria's foundation. In 2014 Jose had the honor to sing for the San Francisco Opera in "Giselle". Jose has also worked with the Aspen ballet, Juan Siddi company, with whom he toured Hawaii, New Mexico and had the honor to the perform at the Joyce Theater in New York City last spring. An incredible traditional artist Jose Cortez surprises us now by taking a step forward and his conception of flamenco by making pure flamenco live alongside other genres.
Angelina Ramirez began studying Flamenco at the age of nine with Olivia Rojo in Tucson, Arizona. She continued her studies at the National Institute of Flamenco Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico, studying with Eva Encinias, Joaquin Encinias, Omayra Amaya, and Marisol Encinias. Angelina became an original member of Yjastros, the American Flamenco Repertory Company. Upon returning to Arizona, Angelina founded Flamenco Por La Vida. In 2012, Angelina along with collaborators, Monica Robles and Ruben Gonzalez, opened 5th Row Dance Studios and along with Olivia Rojas, presented two festivals in the Phoenix Community; Lluvia Flamenca in collaboration with Stateside Presents and The Phoenix Festival de Espana with The Phoenix Center for the Arts. During the 2014-15 season and 2017, Angelina toured with world-renowned, New York based company, Noche Flamenca in their production of Antigona. Angelina and her company, Flamenco Por La Vida were awarded the 2014 Phoenix Mayors Arts Award for Best Dance Organization. In 2016 they were nominated for the Governor's Arts award in the individual artists category.
Flamenco singer Chayito Champion began singing at an early age carrying the legacy of her family of flamenco artists Curro y Teresa. She is in high demand both nationally and internationally, always captivating her audiences with her heartfelt and passionate performances. Chayito says "I don't remember when I started to sing I just did it was like walking and talking I just did it."
Her recent engagements include such prestigious venues as Repertorio Español, Thalia Theatre, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City. She recorded her first album with Chris Burton Jacome in Phoenix Az. in 2009 called Levanto. New York Times has written "Chayito Captivated her audience with her haunting voice".
In 1978 she was given the name Gitana Americana by the late Antonio Montoya, El Farruco, who was traveling with his son, Farruquito, and Chayito's father, El Curro, as part of Jose Greco's flamenco company. She has toured the world with such artists as the late Jose Greco, Antonio Vargas, Teo Morca, Pilar Rioja, Luis Montero, and Antonio Hidalgo with Carlota Santana Dance Co. to name a few. Some highlights of her career include H.O.L.A. Award and A.C.E. Latinos Critics Award in 2003 in New York City as well as Prime Minister of Shri Lanka’s ambassador's award in 2004. She is currently the Director of Los Flamenco de San Antonio.
Alice Blumenfeld holds an MFA in dance from Hollins University and a BA in Comparative Literature from New York University. Her dancing has been hailed as “sharp and exhilarating” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and “…simply to be enjoyed—a solo that exhibits the performer’s unique presence and undeniable skill—Blumenfeld pounds her flamenco heels like the heart beating when the mind ruminates upon some torment late at night” (Irene Hsiao, dance reviewer). She received a Fulbright Grant for research in flamenco choreography. Since 2013 she has created five evening length performances. In 2016, she formed the company Abrepaso as a platform for her limitless and relevant vision of flamenco to take shape. Blumenfeld has toured nationally and worked as a teaching artist with Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana since 2009. She dances with a range of dance companies across the U.S., including; Nélida Tirado, Jácome Flamenco, EntreFlamenco, The American Bolero Dance Co., Grammy Award winner Hernán Romero, and many others.
Sam Reider, a jazz pianist turned folk musician, has spent the last eight years redefining American roots music on the accordion. His original music draws inspiration from sources ranging from Woody Guthrie to George Gershwin to Ennio Morricone. Sam has been featured on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” on NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, toured in seven countries overseas, and appears regularly at Jazz at Lincoln Center and major festivals nationwide. In 2013 the U.S. Department of State selected Reider’s ensemble, Silver City Bound, to be cultural ambassadors overseas, and they conducted a six-week tour of China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. In 2016 they went abroad again, this time to Azerbaijan and Istanbul, where they collaborated on a benefit concert with young Syrian, Turkish, Kurdish, Palestinian, and American musicians.
Julia Chacon was a soloist with the Cuadro de José Galván in Seville, Spain, including in the Peña Torres Macarena. Julia also toured to Galicia and Huelva to perform with the Spanish troupe of Maria Jose Luna and Alvaro Gomez. Julia began her career dancing in the company of Omayra Amaya. She later danced with Maria Benitez for four years, and toured the USA with Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana for six years. Julia currently directs the Spanish dance company Inspiración Flamenca which produces concerts and art-education programs in Phoenix, AZ. Her choreography was performed in the 50th anniversary of the Shanghai Opera House. Julia graduated from the dance program of the University of New Mexico, and her teachers have included Lydia Torea, el Ciro, and many others. She studied at the Amor de Dios school in Madrid and various flamenco academies throughout Seville, Spain.