Artistic Director, Choreographer, Báile (Dancer)
During our teenage years, most of us do not have the foresight to plot our life's course, or even grasp what could unfurl. But for Carola Zertuche, the aim was clear and true. At the age of sixteen, armed with moxie and fervor, she boarded a bus from her birthplace city of Torreon to Mexico City to realize her calling as a flamenco dancer.
Ms. Zertuche currently serves as the Artistic Director of Theatre Flamenco, celebrating its 50th year in 2016. During her tenure as artistic director of Theatre Flamenco, she has worked to forge artistic collaborations with international and local artists in productions that pay homage to traditional styles of flamenco while also embracing and showcasing new, modern and even avant-garde approaches to the art form. The results have been some of the most innovative, intriguing, and professional flamenco productions ever staged in the Bay Area, along with a growing profile for the company nationally and abroad.
She has toured throughout Mexico, the United States, and the Middle East with highly revered flamenco companies including Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco, and has danced in esteemed venues including the Joyce Theatre in New York, the Jacob’s Pillow Dances Festival in Western Massachusetts, the Lensic in Santa Fe, the Tablao Flamenco in Albuquerque, and the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. She has collaborated on projects with La Tania as guest artist with the Domingo Ortega Flamenco Company in Los Angeles, with the Andrés Marín Company in the “First Flamenco Festival San Francisco", and as a special guest artist with the Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe Theatre Company at the Royal Daphna Hall in Doha, Qatar. Ms. Zertuche's inspiring work was showcased in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival from 2002 to 2009, the Santa Barbara Ethnic Dance Festival in 2001, and in Mexico at the Flamenco Festivals in Monterrey and Mexico City.
Ms. Zertuche began her dance career in Mexico City’s Tablao Meson de Triana, where she studied with Manolo Vargas and Pilar Rioja, and where she shared the stage with such illustrious artists as Domingo Ortega, Juan de Angelica, Antonio Rey, El Kiki, and Luisa de Cadiz. Thereafter, she moved to Spain to study with Ciro, Belen Maya, Andrés Marín, Israel Galvan and jota master, Pedro Azorin. While in Spain, she was also a featured dancer with the company Los Tarantos.
Upon touring in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Zertuche decided to make her home there to continue her dance career as a performer, choreographer, and teacher. She has received numerous nominations and awards for her talents and contributions to flamenco, and was nominated in 2002 for the Isadora Duncan Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Performance: Soloist”. She has since been recognized for “Best Classic Flamenco Show”, San Francisco Magazine in 2007 and for “Best Flamenco Show”, San Francisco Weekly in 2008. In 2009, she received her second nomination for the Isadora Duncan Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Performance: Ensemble.”
Her unwavering devotion to the art form is woven throughout her stunning performances and choreography, which have been met with much critical acclaim, among them: "Verde" in 2005, with the participation of Pastora Galvan and Jose Anillo, "El Color del Flamenco" in 2003, in Mexico with the show "Sentido Flamenco" starring Alegría Suarez, Cano, MercedesAmaya and Santiago Aguilar in 2002, "Al Compas del Tiempo" in 2007, "El Camino Perfecto" in 2008 and "Ser y Estar" in 2009.
Along with her role as Artistic Director for Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco, Carola continues teaching flamenco dance classes at Carola Zertuche Escuela de Flamenco in San Francisco, as well as local and international flamenco dance workshops.
President of the Board of Directors
Miguel Santos has been with Theatre Flamenco since its inception, serving as principal dancer, choreographer, and since 1987, artistic director. He began his studies in classical ballet with Carmelita Maracci. His Spanish dance training began in Los Angeles in 1954, and soon thereafter he traveled to Spain where he studied with all the major flamenco teachers. Mr. Santos has performed with Teatro la Zarzuela of Madrid and both José Greco’s and Lola Montes’ companies. While Mr. Santos was performing with the José Greco company, he appeared in the film Around the World in 80 Days. He has performed in La Traviata for the San Francisco Opera and for the Seattle Opera with Beverly Sills. Mr. Santos continues to refine his flamenco skills by taking master classes with José Galván, La Quica, Javier La Torre, El Guito, Merche Esmeralda, and José Antonio. A three-time NEA Choreography Fellowship recipient, Mr. Santos’ major works include Misa Flamenco, Concerto No. 2, and Regionalismos, among many others. Mr. Santos has served as a panelist for the California Arts Council. Miguel Santos was also recognized for his substantial contributions to the Bay Area and to the art of flamenco by the Isadora Duncan Dance Award (IZZIE) and was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival for 2008. He currently teaches flamenco at the San Francisco Dance Center and is artist-in-residence at Fair Oaks Elementary School in Redwood City, California.