|Cristina Hoyos in concert.|
Cristina Hoyos was born in the Alfalfa district of Seville on the 13th June 1946, and she has without doubt, made an undeniable imprint on the world of flamenco dance.
As a child she would dance in the streets of Alfalfa and, when she was old enough, she started to perform in the many flamenco taverns of the area.
Like so many flamenco artistes before her, she would do her training in the “tablaos” of Seville, dancing with many of the era’s greatest artistes, but her artistic break came when she was noticed by Antonio Gades, one of the greatest dancers of the century. Cristina Hoyo joined his flamenco dance company and went on to become his leading dancer, a position that she held for twenty years. During the period of 1968 until 1988, Cristina Hoyos acted as lead dancer and choreographer in just about every important production that was presented by Gades, including his outstanding trilogy of films, which were directed by Spanish filmmaker, Carlos Saura and covered Carmen, El Amor Brujo and Bodas de Sangre, all of which were first performed on the stages of Andalucía and various other parts of Europe and America.
Hoyos’ time with Antonio Gades was considered to be the most important of her career, but Cristina Hoyos proved that she was equally capable of making it on her own after she left Gades company in the 1988. She then formed her own company and presented numerous works, which included, Arsa y Toma and Al Compas del Tiempo, a show that she presented during the 4th flamenco festival in California.
This flamenco icon also appeared in more films including Montoya y Tarantos in 1989 and Torreros in 1999 and was also appointed the position as the director of the Ballet flamenco de Andalucía with which she has traveled the world with works like Romancero Gitano (Gypsy ballads) by Federico García Lorca.
During her long time with Antonio Gades she also captured the hearts of the Latin Americans, especially in Cuba where she was honored for her spectacular performances with the great master and presented with the Grand Theatre of Havana Award.
Cristina Hoyos has been called the “Andalucían Priestess of Flamenco” a title that fits her to a tee. Her dance is traditional “baile flamenco” but with a twist of modernism, a modernism that follows the tradition of pure flamenco.
It is also full of grace and feminism, her upper body movements are fluid and natural and she respects the orthodox methods of genuine flamenco dance, never too flash but always with great respect for a style that is synonymous with Seville. Cristina is a protagonist of the Seville school of flamenco dance and she once said “Times change, they evolve, there are new ways of doing things, but the things that identify a city and a style of dancing shouldn’t be lost.”
She has been awarded many honors throughout her long and dedicated career including the Andalucian gold medal for arts in 1991, the Nacíonal Dance Award, the Premio de Bella Artes and in 2006 she was honored at the XLV1 Festival Internacional del Cante de las Minas in Murcia.
Her career has been full of triumphs and traumas as in the middle of the 1990s she was diagnosed with breast cancer, an illness that was to severely disrupt her life. But this did not deter Cristina and she bravely fought and eventually beat this dreadful disease and she also dedicated much time to the research of cancer. She even received a national prize for her role as a breast cancer activist, a prize that is awarded to a person who demonstrates commitment to the humanity of breast cancer research, treatment, and advocacy.
At present she divides much of her time between the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía and Seville’s Museo del Baile Flamenco, her flamenco museum, which is housed in the very center of Alfalfa, the same streets of Seville where she grew up as a child.
Cristina Hoyos is one of the pillars of flamenco dance, she is a dancer who has flamenco flowing through her veins, and her dance is both traditional and spiritual, she is definitely one of the most dedicated flamenco dancers of the last century.