Julia Chacón Flamenco Theatre
An Arizona native, Julia toured as a soloist with flamenco companies based in New York, Madrid, Seville and Santa Fe for over a decade. She performed in Spain, throughout the USA, Colombia and Mexico. In the five years since her return to Arizona, she has sold-out eight concerts at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Peoria Center for the Performing Arts and she directs the first local dance company to be included in Scottsdale Arts season programming in over 15 years.
Julia has taught workshops at Louisiana State University’s Dance Program and at Harvard University. She co-presented at TEDX LSU in 2016; was an invited presenter at the National Conference of the National Dance Education Organization; was featured in Dance Studio Life Magazine and has been on the Travel Channel with Samantha Brown. Her choreography was performed in the 50th Anniversary of the Shangahi Opera House in China.
Julia was named a Master Artist by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs of New Mexico, and awarded a Folk Art Grant to share her experience with a young apprentice. She was listed various times in Phoenix Magazine’s Monthly Top Ten for her concerts; has a current article out with VoyagePhoenix; had a five page spread in Images Arizona Magazine in 2017, and her events listed in the top picks of Scottsdale Magazine and the New Times “Things to Do.”
Julia has executed flamenco arts education programs at 11 schools across three Valley districts and instructs over 60 students weekly, aged three to sixty-five. She is former lead teaching artist and co-author of “Project Olé,” curriculum; an arts education program with programming throughout the five Burroughs of New York and across the state of North Carolina.
JULIA CHACON is the founder, director and choreographer for Flamenco Theatre. She shared the stage with master artists Jose Galván, María Benítez, Carmen Ledesma, José Méndez and others. She founded Flamenco Theatre (formerly Inspiración Flamenca) in Santa Fe, NM in 2008. Her formative instructors include el Ciro, Manuel Reyes, Rafaela Carrasco, Eva Encinias Sandoval and Lydia Torea.
Formative Years and Journey
Born in Albuquerque (NM), Julia began dance at the age of three in Phoenix (AZ). At 12 she started Spanish Dance under master Lydia Torea. After class one day, she watched a private lesson with a dancer she found mesmerizing. Julia learned the dancer was deaf, and the earth shifted beneath her feet as she realized flamenco has the power to bridge communication and convey expression. Her relationship to flamenco continues to be shaped by that moment.
“Flamenco has the power to bridge communication and convey expression”
Julia attend the University of New Mexico on scholarship and had no intention of becoming a dancer. She registered for flamenco as a fun elective, but the level of the dancers was beyond anything she had encountered before. She loved the challenge, and loved it. At the time, Albuquerque’s Festival Flamenco Internaciónal was the most significant flamenco event outside of Spain. Exposure to master artists Manolete, the Farrucos, Antonio Canales, Manuela Carrasco and others and the opportunity to share the bill with them influenced the direction of her life.
Julia enrolled in a college exchange program to Boston, MA. She met Omayra Amaya, grand-niece of the iconic Carmen Amaya, and joined her company, “Flamenco Sin Limites,” performing for the first time with Chuscales and Joaquin Encinias.
After graduating magna cum laude, Julia was offered a teaching position at the New School for the Arts in Scottsdale, AZ, taking over for her mentor, Lydia Torea. Although she was often mistaken for a student, it was there that Julia developed a love of teaching and realized the impact a teacher can have on a child’s life.
“exposure to master artists…influenced the direction of her life”
After teaching for one year, Julia moved to Madrid to train at Amor de Dios School of Spanish Dance. There, she was mentored by el Ciro and studied with Belen Maya, Rafaela Carrasco and Manuel Reyes. She taught English to business executives in the mornings, danced all day, slept during siesta and spent nights seeking out flamenco at Candela or la Solea, two legendary flamenco spots of the era.
For two years she spent as much time as possible in Madrid, she applied to work at the American Embassy, overextended her visas and waited hours in line to extend her stays legally, to no avail. She returned home for holiday and was offered a contract with Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco, the most renowned flamenco company in America at the time.
Julia danced four seasons with Maria, working with Inmaculada Ortega, Antonio Granjero, Juan Siddi, Chuscales, Pedro Cortez, Jesus de Utrera and others. She met her future husband and moved to Santa Fe where she taught and performed regularly. Her father passed, and she stopped dancing for over two years. “My dad was my greatest supporter on this journey. I would put my shoes on and just start to cry.”
“I would put my shoes on and just start to cry.”
A guitarist named Joaquin Gallegos called. He was interested in accompanying her in the studio, to develop his skills. For several weeks she did not return the calls, but he became the motivation she needed to dance again, and soon they were booking gigs. He introduced her to singer, Meagan Chandler, Shortly thereafter Upon her return to the USA she joined Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco in Santa Fe, and later toured extensively with Carlota Santana Flamenco Vivo. Julia was a member of José Galván’s Cuadro in Seville, has performed at the Peña Torres Macarena, and other venues throughout Seville, in Huelva, and Galicia. She has shared the stage with José Méndez, Carmen Ledesma, Inmaculada Ortega, Andres Peña, Antonio Rey, Miguel Rojas, Jesus de Utrera, Tudela, Chabuca and others.
In 2008 Julia founded Inspiración Flamenca
Founded in Santa Fe, NM, Inspiración Flamenca moved to Phoenix, AZ in 2013. Since then, Julia has produced six concerts at Scottsdale and Peoria performing arts centers, playing to full-house audiences.
In 2016, guitarist Kristofer Hill presented alongside Julia at TEDx LSU in Baton Rouge, where they were guest teachers. In 2016 Chacón was invited to co-present Tomatito at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Arizona.
Julia has taught nationally in private studios and art-education programs. She has written six Spanish Dance curriculums implemented in New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Arizona schools. She was a featured guest presenter at the National Dance Education Organization Conference in 2010 (Tempe, USA) and she has touched the lives of thousands of children through classes, lecture demonstrations, and curriculum development.
Building a Flamenco Community in Arizona
Since moving to Arizona in 2013, she has served on the Advisory Committee of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Discovery Series (2014-2015 season); chaired Origination, a Festival of Native Cultures; presented six full-house concerts at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Peoria Center for the Performing Arts; volunteers for the City of Scottsdale; teaches arts-education workshops in schools Valley-wide; and has collaborated with Scorpius Dance Theater, Indo-American Culture Connect, Movement Source, and other Arizona dance companies.
(Updated October, 2018.)