Susana di Palma

Having studied Spanish dance and flamenco since childhood, Susana di Palma continued her apprenticeship with maestros such as Ciro, Manolo Marin, Manolete, Carmen Mora, and Merche Esmeralda. She performed throughout Spain in tablaos and with companies such as La Singla. In 1985 she founded Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater in Minneapolis. Its mission has been to create innovative theater works that expand on traditional flamenco to reflect on controversial contemporary issues. Di Palma’s full-length theater-flamenco ballets include Flor, Garden of Names, Gernika, Sadja, First, I Dream, La Virtud Negra, Encuentros, Tales of the Black Legend, Zorro in the Land of the Yellow-Breasted Woodpecker, Convivir, and Los Caprichos among others. Her works have been presented at New York’s Joyce Theater, Miami’s Florida Dance Festival, St. Paul’s O’Shaughnessy Theater’s “Women of Substance Series,” and the Walker Art Center among other venues. She choreographed Lorca’s Blood Wedding for the Guthrie Theater and Bethany Lutheran College. In 2012, she was a curator for the Walker Art Center’s “Choreographers’ Evening.” In 2016 she was invited to choreography Pica, a work on Picasso for the New York company, Noche Flamenco. Pica was performed on their national tour and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She has introduced new work for the past seven seasons at Cowles Center for the Performing Arts in Minneapolis. Her Lorca’s Women won the Sage Award for Most Outstanding Choreography. In 2018 she choreographed and danced in Mill City Opera’s Carmen. In 2017-18 di Palma recreated two works that speak to today’s contemporary concerns her children’s puppet show Tra Ti Ti Tran Tran Toro about immigration and Garden of Names on political “disappeared.”

A devoted teacher, di Palma taught in the University of Minnesota, Department of Dance for over 25 years. She currently teaches in The Cowles Center’s Distance Learning Program and directs classes at the Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater School. As an individual artist, she has received grants and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and The Bush Foundation. In 2017 she was awarded a McKnight Fellowship for Choreography and a Minnesota Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant.

McKnight Artist Fellow | January 7 - 18, 2019

Casita

Susana di Palma, a McKnight Fellow and Founder and Artistic Director of Zorongo Flamenco Dance based in Minneapolis, MN, came into residence at MANCC for the first time to further the development of a new work titled Casita. This work emanates from stories collected from homeless women and intends to explore what “home” means in various contexts and the experience of what it is like to live an alternative lifestyle, without shelter.

The work’s content is central to di Palma, who is a volunteer at St. Stephen’s Homeless Shelter in Minneapolis and has listened deeply to those in residence there, and observed their individual difficulties in striving to survive without a home. At the heart of this work is the examination of what “home” means to individuals. To further understand homelessness in Tallahassee as it compares to Minneapolis, di Palma met with Sara Jean Hargis, Volunteer and Donations Coordinator at the Big Bend Homeless Coalition. In addition to touring the premises, di Palma learned about the HOPE Community program, which supports homeless women and families with children by providing food and shelter, as well as the opportunity to stay in their facilities for up to six months.

While in residence, di Palma and her collaborators showed the work in progress to community members as well as School of Dance students and faculty, followed by a discussion. Passionate about the furtherance of Flamenco as a dance form, di Palma and d’Arc Casas taught two Flamenco master classes to School of Dance students. These student dancers enjoyed learning a wide array of Flamenco vocabulary, as well as basic history about the form’s origins in the Andalucía region of southern Spain and the key elements of the accompanying guitar and vocals.

Five performances of Casita are scheduled at the Lab Theater in Minneapolis in April 2019, as part of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater’s season, What the Moon Sees. The premiere of Casita will be interwoven into the evening program with other contemporary flamenco works, ultimately spotlighting the fact that the homeless experience is one that is neither talked about nor acknowledged in contemporary American society.

This residency was supported, in part, by a partnership with McKnight Choreographer Fellowships, funded by The McKnight Foundation and administered by The Cowles Center for Dance & The Performing Arts.

  • Susana di Palma in residence for <i>Casita</i>
  • Susana di Palma
  • Susana di Palma
  • di Palma collaborating with musicians in residence
  • di Palma developing <i>Casita</i>
  • Billy Steele, Ben Abrahmson and Tonia Hughes
  • Jeanne D'Arc Casas, dancer, developing work with collaborators
  • Jeanne D'Arc Casas
  • Jeanne D'Arc Casas
  • di Palma and D'Arc Casas
  • Jeanne D'Arc Casas
  • di Palma and D'Arc Casas
  • di Palma, D'Arc Casas and Hughes
  • di Palma with collaborators
  • Work in progress showing for community members
  • Susana di Palma
  • di Palma, D'Arc Casas and Hughes
  • Jeanne D'Arc Casas
  • D'Arc Casas and di Palma
  • D'Arc Casas and di Palma
  • di Palma and D'Arc Casas
  • di Palma teaches Flamenco master class to FSU School of Dance students
  • D'Arc teaches Flamenco master class
  • D'Arc teaches Flamenco master class

Collaborators in Residence: Jeanne D'Arc Casas [Dancer], Tonia Hughes [Singer], Billy Steele [Pianist], Ben Abrahmson [Musician

Featured Artist

Okwui Okpokwasili

Bronx Gothic
June 1 - 29
The Young Vic
(London, UK)

>

Click to close x