Corazon Concierge & Violet Crown present Spotlight - Celebrating Seniors

Maria Benetiz

Santa Fe Spotlight

Flamenco Dance & Teacher/ Force of Nature

Born in Taos, New Mexico

Maria Benetiz, a force of nature, is largely responsible for the prevalence of flamenco in Santa Fe and in fact, much of the world. Benítez, a native of Taos, moved to Spain to become a professional dancer. There she met Cecilio, her future husband, and together they ventured out to fulfill their dream of introducing flamenco here in the United States. This was no easy task, as flamenco, an art form which is 300 years old, was difficult for American audiences to appreciate. But, the pure emotion which Maria brought to her dancing was a force to be reckoned with.

Maria and Cecilio started at El Nido in Tesuque, where a summer flamenco season was set up in the 50’s. She danced, and he worked behind the scenes doing lights and sound. In the 70’s, they moved to New York City, which became their second home and started touring as Maria Benetiz Teatro Flamenco.

Over the next 30 years and at 1500 international venues, Maria and Cecilio made their mark. After their exhaustive tour of the world, they decided to return to Santa Fe where, in 1974, Maria founded her own school, the María Benítez Institute for Spanish Arts. In 2002, a young people’s dance company was formed.

Maria Benetiz’s Flamenco’s Next Generation began introducing her younger proteges to local audiences. Through the belief of the ISA, Maria’s dream of preserving the rich and diverse Hispanic heritage from which she came, would continue to inspire through music, dance, visual arts and other art forms.

SPOTLIGHT not only remembers, but shines a light on those seniors who have made and continue to make an indelible contribution to the world. Their remarkable stories, as well as their will to live actively and courageously, should serve to exemplify that healthy, happy aging is possible.

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