Our company dancers are a diverse group of professionals and apprentices who devote long hours to both perfecting their skills and promoting our events.
Special thanks goes to Daniel de Cordoba, artistic director of the Bailes Espanoles Dance Company in Dallas, Texas. He has helped our artistic director build the company since its beginning. His choreographies have been a strong part of our program. Our outstanding guest roster from Spain and South America also includes: dancers Veronica Rivero, Irma Suarez, Rene Gonzalez and Jorge Perez, Daniel de Cordoba, and Israel Pavon; singers Maria Elena la Cordobesa, and Macarena Hera de Jurado; and guitarists David Villau and Hector Fernandez.
Marisel Salascruz, a native of Granada, Spain, is the founder and artistic director of the St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Society Dance Company. Marisel was born in Granada, Spain during the post Spanish Civil War. Her family left Spain due to political conflicts when she was only an infant. Like most of the people in the South of Spain, dance was a way of life for Marisel’s family. Marisel began to dance for fun with her grandmother and aunts. At the early age of five, she started her formal training at the National Theater of Costa Rica. Under the care of Olga Frannco, Marisel studied calssical ballet, Flamenco, folkloric dance of Costa Rica, and drama. Marisel performed with the National Theater throughout Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. For her excellent attendance and academic disposition, Marissel was awarded with a dance certificate and a full scholarship.
At the age of fourteen, Marisel returned to Vizcaya, the northern region of Spain and started her studies in regional dance under the instruction of Pilarin Mu-oz where she had the opportunity of performing for the North Region schools. In Barcelona, she studied classical Spanish dance and flamenco for two years with Mireya Carballo. Marisel moved to Seville to continue her dance studies with Matilde Coral. She graduated from the Real Conservatory of Seville.
Marisel came to the USA to continue her nursing studies. In Kansas City she introduced flamenco by performing in several events and she participated in the internation dance festival at the University of Lawrence where she received the first place prize winner award.
In 1972, Marisel moved to St. Louis and in 1975, she started to perform, confident in finding supporters in the community who would keep the traditions and culture of Spain alive. Encouraged by a small group of enthusiasts, she founded the Folkloric Group of Spain in 1976 and in 1984, Marisel founded the St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Society.
The company mission was and remains to be:
1) To study and investigate the extensive subject that is understood by the term “Flamenco.”
2) To guard Flamenco in all its purity and integrity.
3) To promote enthusiasm for all forms of Spanish dance, (Flamenco, Regional and Classical) making Spanish dance as a whole more widely and better known.
Marisel is available for seminars, residencies, camp programs, workshops, and choreographies.
Marisel has been a pioneer of introducing flamenco to over a thousand dance students in the area of St. Louis and in Illinois. Over the years, her endless commitment to education and to the promotion of the arts has been widely recognized by the St. Louis community including Mayor Francis Slay.
-dancer, board member; St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Dance Company; ESL instructor, International Institute, St. Louis.
My experience with the St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Society and Dance Company began in 2006. My first phone call to the company led to my first encounter with Marisel Salascruz, the Artistic Director and Choreographer of the Company. After our first conversation and the lesson in the company studio, I understood that I finally found my passion, my dance!….
There are many dance companies around, many provide dance instruction and recitals, which represent some kind of art form. But St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Dance Company is more than just a dance group. It is a whole culture in all its expression and manifestations represented and taught by a unique Master of Arts, native of the county of origin of flamenco, Spain, talented Marisel Salascruz! It is her endless inspiration and love of her native culture that drove endless number of students to the company. Marisel’s classes are full of joy and excitement, and intensive learning. Students who later become proficient in the dance have an honor of performing on the stage with the professional guest artists from Spain for our shows. Throughout the years, Marisel brought many talented professional dancers and singers to St. Louis. What a great learning experience!
My history of dancing began long ago when I grew up in the multicultural family and traveled with my parents since early childhood. I learned Spanish and Latin dance as a child, danced Middle Eastern dances by origin and by taking classes. But my destiny brought me to Flamenco…. Marisel taught me the first steps of the footwork, and soon enough she let me dance with the more advanced students. Thanks to Marisel, I fell in love with the Spanish culture and its beautiful dances!…
The Company helped me through my rough times of health problems. It gave me energy to love life more. Even during my recovery after the knee surgery , when I stayed at home, my only excitement was my Flamenco dance. Every day. Step by step. I danced to the music of my favorite dances. And I knew, Marisel and the Company were waiting for me to heal and come back to the studio. And now I know that Flamenco dancing is my passion and my refuge.
I also feel that the great mission of the St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Company which is spreading the culture of Spain through the dance and school workshops is what makes the Company authentic and touches many hearts. I am proud to be with such a company.
– Sevil Kazimova, dancer, board member; St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Dance Company; ESL instructor, International Institute, St. Louis.