Maestra Maria Gitana has been teaching and performing Flamenco and Spanish dance since 1980. She holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree and is a Maestra de Baile with the Spanish Dance Society.
The Spanish Dance Society (S.D.S.) is an international organization with headquarters in London, UK, and American offices in Washington, D.C. The Spanish Dance Society provides a teaching methodology with graded curriculum that begins its studies with students at age five. Students are certified in each level of study in the three forms of Spanish dance, i.e., classical, regional, and Flamenco. Maestra Gitana is one of the few authorized teachers of the S.D.S. syllabus and methodology in the western states.
Originally a Seattle native, Maria Gitana began her study of dance there with ballet and remained under the tutorage of Virginia Ryan-Corkel for ten years. She continued her study of dance for another ten years in California under Roberto Amaral, developing her flamenco and neo-classical Spanish dance. In California, she performed with the Los Angeles Music Center Opera and was the flamenco soloist in the Layalina Folkloric Ensemble.
Maria Gitana honed her skills in flamenco in Spain studying at Amor de Dios in Madrid, primarily under Merche Esmeralda and Maria Magdalena, the lead dancer and Ballet Mistress of the Ballet Nacional, respectively. In 1992, Maria Gitana was awarded a grant to study Escuela Bolera or classical Spanish dance with Dame Marina Keet before her retirement to Europe. As a founding member of the Spanish Dance Society, Dame Keet authorized and encouraged Maestra Gitana's use of the Society's curriculum and teaching methodology.
In 2004, Maria Gitana formed the Seattle-based flamenco performance company Flamenco Gitana. The company has been endorsed by King County in the Touring Arts Roster since 2005 and the Shoreline-LFP Arts Roster. The company specializes in arts in education programs ranging from classrooms to concert halls. Previously, with Andalucian guitarist Tomas de Utrera, she co-founded the flamenco puro company of Manteca Colora in Chicago. It was in Chicago as an Urban Gateways artist that Maria Gitana developed her educational programs and performance style.
Maria Gitana has been the recipient of several grants and awards in Illinois and Washington state. She was recognized as a Master of a Traditional/Ethnic Art Form by the Illinois Arts Council. Most recently, she was awarded the Youth Arts Program grant from the Seattle Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs in 2010-201, for a cultural enrichment dance workshop series that fosters the value of multiculturalism in youth.
Maria Gitana and Flamenco Gitana are available for performance, workshops, instruction, and choreography.
- Courses taught by Maria Gitana: