What is Flamenco Chico? Much like theatre, Flamenco is comedy and tragedy.
Unlike Flamenco Duende which includes Cana, Soleares, Seguedillas, etc. is
deeper and more serious. Flamenco Chico is a derivative of Cante Chico,
light and frivolous Flamenco songs, Tangos, Tanguillos Fandango,
Malaguenas and Rhumberos with Guajiras(Cuban Rhythms). Even the Bulerias
can be done in a Chico style. Flamenco Chico and Flamenco Duende are Cafe
type Flamenco dances that were developed to play in venues for the
entertainment and inclusion of the audience. Some of the phrases you
should know if you are attending a Flamenco happening are:
Aqua!!- The dance is so hot I need water.
Asa se baila!!- That’s dancing.
Asi se toca!!-That’s playing.
Asi se canta!! That’s singing.
Eso es!!- That’s it.
Toma que toma!!- Take it.
Vamos alla!!- Go there.
Vamo’ ya!!- Let’s go.
As a child Martita was raised in Spanish Harlem in New York city. The streets full of the rhythms of the Caribbean, Martita found her passion for dance at a very early age. In the stoops of the ghetto where the sounds of the Quatro and the Congas reflected the passion of these wonderful immigrants from Puerto Rico. When her mother Rosa, took Martita to do the chores of the day, Martita would stop to dance to the rhythms of the street musicians. The people In the Barrio loved her natural charm and grace and threw coins and folding money for her passionate spontaneous choreography. Her mother, realizing her daughters gift, would graciously pick up these offerings. At a very early age she helped provide the Arroz con Pollo(rice and chicken), and Plantago Refritos(fried bananas). for their dinner table.
Martita started dancing professionally at a very early age. Fortunately she was mentored by Guillermo Del Oro who danced for the courts of Spain in the ’20’s and ’30’s And choreographed for the Bolshoi Ballet on Spanish Productions for the ballet company. He was famous for his knowledge, input and documentation of all the coplas of the Sevillanes. He was very classical and Martita learned Castanets,(castaneulas) and classical positions for dance and all the coplas of the Sevillanes. Martita, also, at the right place at the right time had the opportunity to take Flamenco lessons from the Cansino family. You can see them in some old movies. They are the family of Rita Hayworth and very well known for expanding the Flamenco culture in America. She has played at fund raisers and social events too numerous to mention. Her professional career includes tours with the USO and she has danced many times for the disabled and recovering soldiers at Letterman Hospital in San Francisco. Martita was a star for the Red Cross USO Entertainment Branch for several years in the 1960's and was invited to perform for John Kennedy in 1962 at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium.
Her performances include billing with the fabulous Cruz Luna and Sisters and many solo performances for politicians, dignitaries and San Francisco Community events. Martita also danced for Edmond G. Brown Sr., the Governor of California at DiMaggio's for his 55th birthday in 1960. Martita and her mom Rosa hosted the incomparable Carlos Montoya in San Francisco in 1961 at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium. She has appeared at the San Francisco Opera House, The Marc Hopkins, The Spaghetti Factory, Jack Tarr, Casa Madrid, St. Francis Hotel, Folsom Prison, the Oregon State Fair, Kezar Stadium, and the Phoenix Festival, to name just a few venues. Martita has opened two studios dedicated to Spanish and Caribbean dance, Family Tree Dance Studio in Miranda, California in the 1970's and Bailar Dance Studio in Eugene, Oregon in 1995 through 2016. She has continued to dance many times every year over the last few decades at civic and private functions thus keeping her entertainment skills at a very high level.
As well as dancing her signature solo numbers, Martita now dances with her Flamenco troupe, Flamenco Chico, which occasionally includes her sons and her daughters, and in the future she will perform with her advanced students as often as possible. Her shows represent the Gypsy spirit of Chico Flamenco, a veritable treat for the eyes and ears. Martita started her dance studios with the hope of passing the knowledge and grace of her craft on to future generations of dancers and performers. Watch her dance. See the passion and beauty of her expressions and movements. This is entertainment that you won't want to miss!