Valeria Montes, Kresge Fellowship winner
Montes has been described as “mesmerizing” and “beauty in motion” .
She is known as La Chispa (the Spark) for her passionate and vibrant interpretation of Cante Flamenco (flamenco song) and for her complex rhythmic zapateado.
Born in Mapimi, Dgo. Mexico. Montes began her dance studies at the age of five in her native Mexico studying Ballet, Baile folklorico, gymnastics, and at age 20 she moved to Michigan, USA where she started dancing Spanish classical dance. Eventually moving to Spain to get immersed in the world of flamenco; she was very fortunate to study with legendary families and artists of flamenco: Farruco family, Carmen Ledesma, Concha Vargas. She has also studied Cante Flamenco with Esperanza Fernandez, which she feels is vital for dancers to do to understand the art form in a more profound way.
In 2010 Montes won the prestigious Kresgeartist fellowship for Performing Arts. She is co-founder of COMPAS “center of music and performing arts Southwest” where she continues to teach workshops for the community in Michigan. Valeria is the executive and Artistic Director and a full-time instructor at Casa Flamenca in Albuquerque, NM.