The mission of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre and School is to enrich our community by drawing people of diverse backgrounds close to the power, passion and virtuosity of the flamenco dance and music tradition, and by expanding on that tradition, to 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
“Dramatically different flamenco.“ – The Orlando Sentinel
Zorongo Featured on MN Original
Susana di Palma
Choreographer, Artistic Director of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre & Dancer
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 1982, she founded Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre in Minneapolis. Zorongo’s 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.”
“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
“Susana di Palma’s sense of defiance is ferocious, enigmatic, poignant…” – Seattle Times
Her most recent work Casita on homeless women premiered as part of What The Moon Sees at the Lab Theater, April 2019. As part of di Palma’s 2017 McKnight Fellowship for Choreography, she was in residency at MANCC, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, in Tallahassee, Florida to further the development of this new contemporary flamenco duet. MANCC is the only national center for choreography in the world located in a major research institution and operates from one of the premier dance facilities in the United States. The Center is embedded within The Florida State University School of Dance and offers unparalleled opportunities for contemporary choreographers to hone their artistic practice and develop new work inside a creative community.
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.
Deborah Elias has been dancing flamenco since 1994 when she was swept away by Carlos Saura’s flamenco film masterpiece Carmen. Much of that time she has studied and worked with Susana di Palma. She has also created her own work as Deborah Elias Danza Española. A dedicated and sought-after educator, Deborah conducts residencies and workshops in K-12 schools through Young Audiences, COMPAS, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (Connect), the Shubert Center, and the Minnesota State Arts Board.
Colette is originally from Chicago where she began dancing ballet with Edward Parish and started flamenco training with the Ensemble Español. Relocating to Minneapolis in 1998, she created FUEGO Flamenco and danced, designed, and produced many successful shows. She has received numerous awards for her work including the McKnight Fellowship for dancers. Colette has performed with numerous groups including the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, Rogue Flamenco, and Interact Center Theater. Colette is a dedicated ally to the disabled community and believes strongly in personal empowerment through the arts. She is currently teaching Flamenco for All Ability, encouraging dancers with and without disabilities to experience the curative power of flamenco.
Seeking dance deeply rooted in music and expressing our collective search for freedom and humanity, Amanda Dlouhy began studying flamenco with Susana di Palma in 2013. She was thrilled to travel to Spain to study in 2015 and 2016. Her instincts come from a layered dance history, including early training in ballet, jazz, and tap. She began studying Bharatanatyam in 2004 and danced with Ragamala Dance from 2005 – 2013, touring nationally and internationally. She received a McKnight Fellowship for Dancers in 2011.
Molly Kay Stoltz
Molly Kay Stoltz is a Twin Cities dancer, choreographer, teacher, customer service specialist, and Therapeutic Recreation specialist living in Saint Peter, MN. She is a 2009 summa BFA graduate of the University of Minnesota- Dance Program. Her work as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist grounds her in the community and brings her dance experience together with her passion to increase the quality of the lives of the elderly living in group settings in her community. She recently worked at Sholom Home West in St. Louis Park, MN as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist in their rehab unit, assisting patients with their emotional, spiritual, and social needs while isolated from their communities in therapy. Molly Kay is an emerging flamenco dance artist. Molly Kay is mentored by Susana di Palma, Artistic Director for Zorongo Flamenco where she is also a company member. She was awarded an honorable mention for her solo in the competitive Flamenco Certamen USA in NYC, NY 2021. She is also a tap and percussive dance performer, choreographer, and teacher. She currently is a company member of Flying Foot Forum, and Kaleena Miller Dance. Molly Kay joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota Dance Program as their tap professor in Fall 2020 and has taught tap dance for youth and adults at Ballare Teatro Performing Arts Center. Molly Kay’s choreography has been presented through Chicago Freelance Dance, 9×22 Dance Lab at Bryant Lake Bowl, Patrick’s Cabaret, Zenon Zone’s Summer Choreography Intensive, Zorongo Flamenco, and Flying Foot Forum. She recently premiered her work at Park Square Theater in Sept. 2021 and she was chosen in 2020 as a Resident Artist for the Hinge Arts Residency in Fergus Falls. In 2015, she produced and choreographed for Visual Grooves, which featured collaborations between composer/musicians and choreographer/dancers.
- More Bios coming soon!
Board of Directors
Board of Directors and Staff
Susana di Palma – Ex Officio Founder and Artistic Director Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre
Robin Moede, Past President
Major Season Sponsors
Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre wishes to thank our many generous sponsors and individual donors, especially our Major Season sponsors.
- This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
- Susana di Palma is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.
- Susana di Palma is the recipient of a 2017 McKnight Choreography Fellowship, administered by the Cowles Center and funded by the McKnight Foundation.