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Joaquín Cortés, the “King of Flamenco,” Returns to New York

“Calé” Makes U.S. Debut at Beacon Theatre Thursday, May 14

Dancer Celebrates 20 Years of Groundbreaking Flamenco Fusion

Whipping his hair from his face, flamenco dancer Joaquín Cortés throws his arms in the air, stomps a fiery tattoo with his feet and propels himself to center stage, his bare chest dripping with sweat. Defiant and every inch the star, the man Newsweek magazine crowned “The King of Flamenco” wins over audiences with his talent, theatrics and movie-star good looks. In an art form where passion is all, he gives his all, winning comparison to Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger with his electrifying fusion of flamenco, classical ballet and contemporary dance.

New Audiences Productions is thrilled to announce Joaquín Cortés will return to New York to perform at the Beacon Theater Thursday May 14, the first dance presentation in the newly-renovated landmark venue. It also marks his 20th anniversary as the world’s best-known flamenco artist, his fame only boosted by appearances with Jennifer Lopez and Alicia Keys, and as guest dancer in a high-profile, semi-final segment on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." He has also appeared in films, including Carlos Saura’s famous “Flamenco”. The 40-year old powerhouse recently remarked to an English journalist, “I see this as only the half-way point in my career.”

The American premiere of “Calé,” (Gypsy in Roma language) is a career retrospective of the best pieces from 20 years of hit shows: “Cibayi,” “Pasión Gitana” (Gypsy Passion), “Soul,” “Live,” “De Amor y Odio” (Of Love and Hate), and “Mi Soledad” (My Solitude). “Calé” will be the first dance program performed in the newly-renovated Beacon Theatre. Reviewing his concert “Live” in 2004, The New York Times critic Jack Anderson wrote, “Mr. Cortés devised his presentation to show off his speed and strength. Because he has plenty of both, he gives the audience much to behold in his choreography.”

In this upcoming extravaganza, which includes 16 musicians and 10 dancers, Joaquín demonstrates his many talents, from the poignant solea to the playful alegrías. Said London’s New Statesman: “Cortés makes the rhythms almost palpable, catching drumbeats in midair with off-the-cuff curls of his fingers, or flip-flopping his palms to a syncopation…a haughty heel flick follows a courtly bow, an idle shrug rounds off an urgent spin. He clearly digs this music, just as he thrives on playing with the audience, relishing both the control and the connection.”

Born in Córdoba in Andalusia in 1969, Cortés began dancing when he was twelve. “I was born with flamenco around me,” he says. “It is in my veins, my roots are in the flamenco culture. As soon as I began dancing, I fell in love with it. It is my way of expressing myself.” Three years later, he joined the Ballet Nacional, touring the world, and attracting the attention of famous dancers like Maya Plisetskaya, Sylvie Guillem and Peter Schauffuss. In 1992, he established his own company, whose first show, “Cibayí,” was performed in Japan, France, Italy, Venezuela and the United States. But it was in 1995 that he gained international popularity with “Gipsy Passion,” a show that filled stadiums and was seen by over a million spectators. An admirer of the great ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev for his refined skill and wild charisma, Cortés showed that, like his idol, he could transcend the limits of his art form.

It was in the ‘90’s that he first achieved U.S. stardom, becoming the flamenco rival to “Riverdance,” and making flamenco the new rock ‘n roll. He had high profile relationships with models and film stars such as Naomi Campbell and Mira Sorvino and performed at the Academy Awards. Pop icons Madonna and Sting joined his legion of fans. His friend Giorgio Armani designed his clothes; film director Bernardo Bertolucci even wrote him an ode.

Going full force into the new century, Cortés debuted three successful programs: “Live,” “De Amor y Odio”, and “Mi Soledad”. He was particularly proud when, as a result of this hard work, he was named E.U. ambassador for the Roma people.

The dancer was scheduled to debut “Mi Soledad” at the Palace Theatre in New York in 2006, but the dates were cancelled when his mother became gravely ill. “She was my inspiration, you know?” Cortés told The Telegraph after her death last year. “She supported me from the beginning, at school, in the playground. So I must dance again for my mother. That is what I will do.”

Joaquín Cortés “Calé”
North American Debut! Thursday May 14, 2009
Beacon Theatre
2124 Broadway at 74th Street NY, NY 10023
Tickets: $99.50, $79.50, $59.50, $49.50