Thursday, May 08, 2008

Boogie Down Flamenco Dancer

Nelida Tirado to Perform at BADD!
By Ismael Nunez

Nelida Tirado began her formal training at age six at the Ballet Hispanico of NY where she trained in classical ballet, Spanish dance and flamenco. A talented salsa dancer, she has performed with notable Latin music greats such as the late Celia Cruz and the late Tito Puente. She has given workshops in England and Italy and has performed at the Copacabana Salsa Congress.
This week Tirado will perform in her hometown. She is one of three Bronx Indie artists that will kick off BADD!'s (the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance) BOOGIE DOWN DANCE SERIES at 8 p.m. on May 9. BAAD! is teaming up with the Bronx Council on the Arts to present performances by Tirado, Bradon McDonald, and Jessica Danser in what organizers are calling a “spectacular dance concert.”
Tirado has danced with Noche Flamenca and Riverdance and the New York Times has called this Flamenco dancing Bronxite "magnificent."
You can check her out at the dance concert, which will be at The Bronx Academy of Art & Dance, 841 Barretto Street in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. Admission is $12. For more information on this performance, call 718-842-5223 or

PRSUN spoke with Tirado about her dance career, which started in New York and has taken her to different parts of the world.

Q: You started dancing at an early age. Was it something you wanted to do?
A: It definitely was something I wanted to do, but I had no idea that training to be a dancer would be that intense. After a wonderful experience in a kindergarten recital, my mom knew that she needed to put me in classes. It actually wasn’t early. Five to seven years old is a normal age to begin serious formal training if you want to be a professional.

Q: Do you remember the first show you ever did?
A. Honestly, I don’t remember.

Q: Do you get nervous when you perform?
A: Occasionally I do, but I don’t look at the actual show as pressure to be perfect. I see it as an opportunity to express myself.

Q: You performed with two notable Latin music giants: Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. Is this something you’ll never forget?
A: It is definitely an experience I will never forget. They were two of many musical giants I’ve been blessed to work with. It was a wonderful opportunity not only to perform with them but also to have conversations with them.

Q: In your bio it states you’ve worked with notable Flamenco performers in Spain. Can you name a few and what was it like working and performing with these individuals?
A: There were many but the main ones were Maria Pages, Juan Andres Maya and Antonio El Pipa…Juan and Antonio are gypsies. Their dancing and culture is different from the Spaniards. Their culture is a subculture within the Spanish culture. Flamenco for the gypsies is their life…For a lot of them, it’s passed on from generation to generation and there is no formal study. Maria Pages is a Spanish dancer from Seville and is known for her open mentality towards the art form, experimenting and pushing the envelope always with new ideas. I had great experiences with all of them and learned a lot, especially being a foreigner to Spain. I was lucky. Here I was a Bronx girl that was hired to work in Spain with these incredible people. My father did play congas and I do come from a family of musicians but please! It was a big deal to leave NY. It’s difficult to gain their respect and work in Spain being a foreigner. Who would have known that I would have ended up in Spain and traveling the world?

For more information about Tirado, visit her site at
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