Director of Solea
Maria is proud to see that Marseille is thrilled by this poignant expression of the Gypsy people, which gave them so much strength and will.
LA MARSEILLAISE (local newspaper)
1986 : As the daughter of Spanish immigrants (from Salamanca to be precise), I entered the world of Flamenco when I was 22, by studying the texts of this peculiar singing with Benito PELEGRIN at the University of Aix en Provence. I soon decided to learn how to dance those rhythms I was discovering. I started learning Sevillanas and Spanish ballet with Carmen Doniz at the Centre Espagnol in Marseille. And it was actually Carmen who advised me to go to Madrid and take lessons to learn with the great masters of the time. So I truly discovered flamenco dancing in the legendary studios AMOR DE DIOS. With La Tati, Maria Magdalena, Paco Romero...
Back in Marseille and still a beginner, I decided to share the little knowledge I had by giving lessons in the studios of Titus and Helena Pomsar.
1991-1996: The craze grew and I could see that my dance students were starting to love flamenco as well. I was often going to Spain to practice and deepen my learning and in the meantime I also challenged myself to create a company and stage a very first piece: Flamenco Fragua y Caballos, at the Campagne Pastré.
After opening the Centre Artistique Duende and Studios du Cours, and almost drawn by destiny, my husband Marc and I decided to create LE CENTRE SOLEA, near the Vieux Port. Flamenco became a family matter and a total commitment.
This new venue was immediately a great success. One has to admit that the atmosphere at Solea is great. Marco is always there to greet the artists, the dance students, the visitors...enjoying a little "fino" and a slice of "jamon ibérico". The decoration is fancy. It feels like in an Andalusian tavern, a "peña flamenca" in Jerez or Seville. We decided to organise workshops, master classes, conferences, trips, ferrades, dance classes and shows...Since the very beginning, a true identity and a powerful soul have dwelt within the walls.
Besides, flamenco is becoming more and more popular amongst the inhabitants of Marseille. The Compagnie Solea is frequently asked to perform for shows and events at the Vieille Charité for the INA, during the documentary festival, for Canal +...
At the same period, Françoise CHATOT contacted me to choreograph the show Le Baiseur de Séville, which is in fact the translation by Benito PELEGRIN of the famous Don Juan by Tirso de Molina.
After an appearance on television with Michel CARDOZ in his program SUDS, the company goes on tour with Bernardo SANDOVAL, in several venues in the region and takes part in the festival "Ouverture Danse" at the Théâtre de la Minoterie.
1997: The various artists I invited for master classes and performances encouraged me to go further. I thus dedicated myself to a new creation: Sonidos del Cuerpo, inspired from a poem by Manuel Altolaguirre. We performed in a unique venue: the Théâtre des Carrières de Taillades.
1998 : Appoline Quintrand, director of the Festival of Marseille, asked us to perform in the small venues of the Vieux Port during the football World Cup. That same summer, I opened the performance of la Macanita on the great podium of the Vieux Port.
That year, I also performed and staged La vida breve by Manuel de Falla at the Opéra de Marseille.
1999-2003: The Company performed in the cities of the region and my work was much appreciated by the public and local authorities: Château de la Tour d’Aigues, Toursky, Astronef, Théâtre de Grasse, Le Dock des Suds, Gymnase, Belcodène, Saint Paul lez Durances, Bouc Bel Air, Cassis, Aix en Provence, Allauch…
In addition to all these performances, the Centre Solea carries on with its many other activities. Spanish artists nurture my work and share the stage with us on various occasions: Adrian Sanchez, Pilar Ortega, Adela Campallo.
As for my personal development, I take my inspiration from Seville more than Madrid. There, I discovered a new style and a more genuine approach to flamenco roots. Some personalities have influenced me and even impressed me : Pilar Ortega, and Adela Campallo, in particular, who opened the doors of a modern yet very feminine approach to Flamenco.
2004 : That year maked the 10th anniversary of the CENTRE SOLEA. In collaboration with the Théâtre Gyptis, the Gymnase and the Conseil Régional, I decided to stage a piece that I had had in mind for years: La Monja Gitana, inspired by the poem by F.G Lorca. The show which was performed at the Théâtre du Gyptis, was fully booked all three evenings and it was an incredible success.
2005: I created the piece Grito with the dance students of the center, at the Théâtre du Gymnase. That creation was very different from the others and based on the theme of the scream.
2006: I was taking more and more pleasure in focusing on the research work and I decided to explore a new approach to flamenco body movements: the contact between one body and another one. The result was stunning in the show Con Tacto at the Théâtre du Gyptis.
2007: Close relationships have developed with our musicians and my daughter Ana has grown up a lot. We are all in quest of new experiences at the Centre Solea. I wanted to change the concept of traditional tablao, with the show Energias, which shook the audience. All the ingredients of a tablao are there, but neither at the place nor the time expected.
2008: New perspectives open up on my path. The Centre Solea is still present, stonger than ever. It is known even in Seville, by incredible artists who respect the center and consider it as a hot spot for flamenco in France. The young generation is rising and is shaking us. I am excited and even more motivated to move forward to organize shows and events.