Omayra Amaya is modern flamenco dancer and choreographer deeply rooted in proud gypsy tradition. The daughter of flamenco dancers Olga and Curro Amaya and grandniece of the legendary Carmen Amaya, Omayra brings new relevance to flamenco while never losing sight of her legacy.
Omayra first appeared on stage with her parents’ company as a 3-year-old and often interrupted their performances. Her first choreographed role came at age 12, when she performed as her father’s partner. Since then, she has developed a style that is both elegant and emotional, and her powerful performances and impeccable technique have won her fans all over the world.
Omayra and her company have performed at Lincoln Center and the Players Theater in New York City; flamenco festivals in Madrid, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles; the Shanghai Theater Center in Shanghai and the Guo Tai Theater in ChongQin, China; and in a critically acclaimed nine-month residency at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Omayra has also appeared on film: She was the subject of “Gypsy Heart,” a documentary by Jocelyn Ajami, and performed with Steve Martin in “The Pink Panther II.”
The Omayra Amaya Flamenco Dance Company, based in Miami, Florida, performs all over the world under the artistic direction of Omayra Amaya. Founded in 1994, the company is grounded in flamenco’s centuries-old rhythms, traditional structure and deep emotions, yet also stretches to embrace Cuban music and Jazz, innovative staging and modern movement. Critics have hailed Omayra Amaya’s choreography as “mesmerizing,” “intense,” and “stylish” and described the company’s world-class dancers, singers, and musicians as having “a knock-your-socks-off synergy.”
Washington, D.C. (November 2009, November 2018)
Miami (August 2009)
New York City (June 2008, November 2008)
New York Philarmonic – Young People’s Concert
Lincoln Center, New York City (April 2013)
The Players Theater, New York City (May to August 2013)
Houston Spanish and Flamenco Festival
Houston (May 2012)
Chicago Flamenco Festival
Chicago (February 2011, February 2016, February 2017)
Los Angeles Flamenco Festival
Los Angeles (March 2010)
Omayra Amaya in Slow Dancing
Lincoln Center, New York City (July 2007)
A multi-channel video installation of hyper-slow-motion portraits of dancers, conceived and directed by David Michalek. Also presented at La Biennale de Venezia, Italy, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
Omayra Amaya and Joaquin Encinias are young flamenco dancers whose stylish black clothes and demeanor give them the look of having stepped out of a fashionable SoHo store window, as ready to brandish Cell phones as castanets. Ms. Amaya exudes charm and authentic passion.
Omayra Amaya made a good case for big things coming in small packages. In a fiery tribute to her [great-]aunt, the acclaimed flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya, this dynamite performer was like a coiled spring, tightened and released at will with passion, flair and immaculate control. Amaya is extremely stylish, with a very aggressive flamenco style that works off angles–deep bends in the body, lightning turns with her head whipping back and forth, and legs that kick and hop off solid footwork. Through all this, the shoulders are loose, seductive, the arms supple, the hands expressive. She spent much of the work enticing singer Fernando de Malaga, ultimately luring him offstage with a final flourish of guitar and palmas (clapping) from her excellent musicians… Not only is full gypsy blood coursing through her veins, but the dynamic flamenco dancer has the heart (not to mention the phenomenal technique) of a born performer. As Friday nights wildly enthusiastic audience would attest, she is simply one of the best around, anywhere. The showís musicians are first-rate, especially the sensitive and accomplished guitarist Pedro Cortes and singer Fernando de Malaga, who wraps his husky warble around each melody with a raw urgency that seems to pierce the movement’s core.
Amaya summoned much of her magic through powerful braceo (arm movements) and explosive footwork that wasn’t just about stamping: She used her heels and toes as much as the balls of her feet.
I dare anyone to take his or her eyes off Omayra Amaya when she’s performing the flamenco she was born to dance. The Gypsy heritage singing in her bones and sinews and the self-awareness that flows out of her performance is a rarity, a meeting of tradition and stubborn individualism that is thrilling to behold. She seems less a performer than a force of nature Her commitment to exploring jazz as a new ìcolorî to add to flamenco extends to the way the dancers of the company gather in a phalanx, twisting their wrists above colorful cuffs, idiosyncratic flamenco rhythms, and the brisk ways they turn their heads this way and that.
Amaya dazzled her audience with impeccable timing, total control, a fine sense of line, and an openness to experiment. Amayaís dancing is powerful, emotional, earthy and graceful. As is the dance itself. Her finest quality, however, is something less purely visible. It is her use of energy and the skill to use as she pleases. When on stage, she owns it.
But then there was Omayra Amaya, herself a relative of the legendary Carmen Amaya, whose command of the stage is devastatingly direct and effective… Amaya gave an amazing Solea por Bulerias, a dance of sudden fury and startling silences. How she would put our as much energy as she did and not be breathing heavily at the end of it is beyond me, but such was the ease. This is some of the best flamenco you will ever get in Denver.