Crosby to present documentary on dancer Omayra Amaya

Taylor Rogers | Staff Writer

Omayra Amaya is a member of one of the most renowned flamenco families to ever perform for an audience

She is the grand-niece of the great Carmen Amaya and the daughter of two flamenco dancers. One might say to her she had no choice but to dance, and dance she has.

To celebrate Amaya’s craft and her talent, the Chautauqua Dance Circle will show “Gypsy Heart,” a 40-minute documentary on the dancer’s life in Boston, at 3:30 p.m. today in Smith Wilkes Hall.

Bonnie Crosby, founding co-president for the CDC, will give a brief introduction to the film.

Amaya began dancing as an infant, Crosby said. She often would interrupt her parents’ performances until finally, she performed for the first time as her father’s partner.

She studied dance and choreography at the Boston Conservatory. After graduating, she taught at the Conservatory and at Harvard University. Shortly after, Crosby said, Amaya founded her company, Flamenco Sin Limites, which means “Flamenco Without Limits.”

Amaya and her company soon became a success.

“The critics were quick to compare Omayra’s style and presentation to that of her great-aunt’s,” her website reads. “Her electrifying presence, lightening fast footwork and non-traditional attire mirrored Carmen’s revolutionary style and attitude.”

Crosby said Amaya currently studies New Media Arts and Performance at the Long Island University and remains “fully entrenched” in the dance community.

Crosby chose to show “Gypsy Heart” because of her admiration for Spanish dance — a result of five years spent in Spain.

“Whenever I get a chance, and I see a film or new video of flamenco, I grab it,” she said.

Crosby traveled to Spain early in her career, performing, choreographing and teaching American jazz and ballet.

She was part of a Spanish/Mexican production of the musical “Redhead,” which was closed due to poor relations between the Spanish government and the Mexican producer. Crosby said she remained after the show’s closing due to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“My parents said, ‘Don’t go back to the United States; go back to Spain,’” she said. “And so I did.”

She then joined a company as its prima ballerina and traveled the country. After a falling-out with the director, she began teaching.

These few years impacted Crosby’s love for dance, expanding it beyond her American roots, an interest today’s film will emphasize.