About Zorongo and Flamenco

The mission of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre and School is to enrich our community by drawing people close to the beauty and energy of the flamenco tradition and, by expanding on that tradition, create an innovative art form that explores the issues of contemporary life.

Susana di Palma founded Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre in 1982. One of the few American Spanish dance companies that present both traditional flamenco programs as well as original theater flamenco works; the company is comprised of an ensemble of international artists, dancers and musicians who are renowned for bringing the power, passion and virtuosity of the art of flamenco to American audiences.

"It was great to see a flamenco company dancing this well which also had a sense of humor and such a clear idea of theater." - Doris Deither, the Villager, New York City

Under the Artistic Direction of Susana di Palma, these innovative flamenco ballets are powerful and provocative theater experiences. The essence of Zorongo Flamenco's work combines the passionate soul of Spain with the lively innovative spirit of America and relates to contemporary audiences in a way that few companies do. Zorongo Flamenco brings the very essence of Spain to the performance hall.

"Dramatically different flamenco."   - The Orlando Sentinel

Susana di Palma

Choreographer / Artistic Director of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre / Dancer

Susana di Palma is unparalleled as a performer and choreographer. She is respected and recognized internationally for her innovative flamenco/theatre works. She has spent a lifetime studying all aspects of the art of flamenco. Her performance and choreographic skills have, at their core, the essence of flamenco tradition.  Although she is an accomplished and critically acclaimed flamenco soloist, her unique contributions to her art form are her provocative theatre/flamenco works that reflect and respond to our contemporary world.

"Di Palma, who founded Zorongo Flamenco in 1982, remains the most tantalizing dancer to watch, with a passion so fierce that smoke emanates from her''' - Mpls StarTribune, July 2015

Founding Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre in 1982, di Palma created a vehicle for balancing her passionate love for Spain and flamenco with her urgent need to create theatrically compelling works that address social/political concerns and tantalize the imagination. Her multimedia works include: La Virtud Negra (1999), a flamenco murder mystery commissioned by the Walker Art Center; Garden of Names (1996) inspired by the novel of political torture Imagining Argentina (earning her the City Pages “Artist of the Year” award); First, I Dream-Sor Juana (1999), commissioned by St. Catherine University’s Women of Substance series; Encuentros (2003), a gospel/flamenco collaboration with J. D. Steele; Tales of the Inquisition (2005); Romeria (2008); Zorro in the Land of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker (Moningwunakauning) a fantastical story of hope and redemption (2012); Locas Mujeres y Más/Madwomen & More a piece inspired by the poetry of Chilean educator, diplomat and Nobel Laureate Gabriela Mistral (2013); ConVivir: 7 Dances to A More Compassionate World an exploration of the period between 711-1492 CE (la convivencia” or "the coexistence") in Spain, and the outpouring of intercultural (i.e. Islamic, Sephardic Jewish, and Christian) creativity that it fostered; Flamenco on Fire (2015) which featured a cast of international dancers and musicians from Spain and was "about truly honoring our flamenco community and this vibrant, passionate tradition"; and Los Caprichos (2015) a new work based on the prints of the same name by Spanish artist Francisco Goya. Based on the works and poetry of Spanish artist Federico García Lorca, Susana's most recent work Lorca's Women (2016) premiered at the Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts in April 2016 to sold out audiences.

Susana's flamenco/puppet show Tra Ti Ti Tran Tran Toro is the only flamenco puppet show in existence. The show follows the story of a Spanish bull (Torito) and his flamenco-dancing owner (Carmencita) who emigrate to Minnesota. This family friendly performance, which focuses on friendship and the benefits of moving to a new culture, is presented at schools and community centers throughout the region.

In 2006, the Bush Foundation selected Susana to receive a second Bush Fellowship for choreography.  She has received numerous grants for her choreography from such funders as: McKnight Foundation, (2002-3), Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2012, a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to attend la Bienal de Flamenco in Sevilla.

A beloved teacher, Susana has taught flamenco for over 30 years. She directs the Zorongo Flamenco School and has taught for 15 years as an adjunct instructor in the Dance Department at the University of Minnesota.

Susana di Palma’s sense of defiance is ferocious, enigmatic, poignant…”
-- Seattle Times