International Flamenco Maestro
Ep. 64 - Meet Antonio Santaella, a very famous flamenco dancer referred to as the international flamenco maestro whose culture influence qualifies him to be a Fellow of the American Academy of Housing and Communities. He started his long journey to Puerto Rico from Granada, Spain his birthplace and coming of age. He was discovered at a show in Paris by the famous Laura Toledo, who later invited him to join her company for a nationwide tour of the United States, which lasted for two years. He then went to Puerto Rico for a concert, and while there he was asked to be in a series of advertisements. Remember the BIC pen commercial tied to the boot of a flamenco dancer? Antonio was that dancer! Some of this podcast is in Spanish with an interpretation by Kimberly, one of Antonio’s students.
- How to be open to opportunities that might define your entire career and future
- The importance of sharing your knowledge through teaching others and shaping their future
- The negative effects of COVID-19 on dance teaching, especially those that can’t be taught virtually
Listen in to learn about Antonio’s journey from Spain to settling in Puerto Rico to share his passion for flamenco with the younger generations.
"Always believe in yourself and never say you can’t do something. If you’re determined, you can do it." -Antonio Santiella
Best Podcast of a Flamenco Star
Discipline, formality, dedication and a profound love of his culture are the characteristics that best define the artistic and human qualities of Antonio Santaella.
Born in Granada, when he was 14 his father took him from a civil war in Spain to France where he learned his first flamenco moves from gypsy families in the neighborhood. One of the boys played a guitar and they invented dance steps and tried to emulate Pepe Pinto. One day they took a train to Paris and heard castanets. It was the maestro Rayito giving guitar and dance lessons which entranced
Antonio – and his love of flamenco was born.
He went to New York through Laura Toledo where he danced at the elegant Chateau Madrid. If you sometimes wonder what nightlife was like in New York 40 or more years ago when big money stepped out for big deals and flashy shows, the place to go for recollection is the Chateau Madrid, a plush Spanish club one flight down in the Hotel Lexington at 48th Street near Lexington Avenue.
And then there was Carnegie Hall!
Many doors started to open, and he ended up in Puerto Rico where he performed at the beautiful Hotel el Convento for many years.
He now has a sought-after dance studio and his students are performing all over the world!
Learn the importance of seizing opportunities that open up and might contribute to defining your life’s path.
He describes how flamenco was like second nature coming from a place where people lived and loved the dance [2:26]
Antonio explains how he met Laura Toledo who invited him to tour the US and Puerto Rico [5:30]
He mentions most of his works of culture that he did in Puerto Rico, plus teaching flamenco to many young people [14:19]
He recalls going to Paris Olympia and attending the last show of Edith Piaf, which he swears never to forget [17:09]
Antonio explains his experience in Algeria and what he performed while there [18:15]
Why Antonio started teaching flamenco in his dance studio and the estimated number of students he has taught across the globe [21:06]
The success stories of some of Antonio’s students who went on to become renowned dancers [22:38]
Kim explains why she selected Antonio as her flamenco teacher [24:28]
The challenges and difficulties Antonio has experienced while teaching flamenco in Puerto Rico [25:32]
He describes his willingness to learn everything as his most important decision [28:39]
The dreams that Antonio has for the theater and his students’ future [29:40]
Famous BIC Pen Commercial starring Antonio Bic pen commercial
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