DanzArts Executive Board

Patricia Astorga

Patricia Astorga

Artistic Director/Founder/Choreographer

Throughout her artistic career, Mrs. Astorga has undertaken various dance disciplines including classical ballet, tap, modern dance, Folklore Mexicano and Flamenco. She began her training at the early age of 7yrs old at the world-renowned school of Amalia Hernández (Ballet Folklórico de México), for 5 consecutive summers. She was one of the founding members of Ballet Folklórico de Pacifico in Los Angeles, CA. In 2005, she moved to Houston, Texas and formed “Sabor Mexico Theatrical Dance Co. “(Folklórico Mexicano). In Houston, she presented her work at the most respected theaters, including Hobby Center (Zilka Hall), Verizon Wireless Theater and Houston’s Museums. 

In 2006, developed a Non-Profit organization (Danzarts)www.danzarts.org . Which mission is to provides a creative and relevant space for artistic and cultural expression, as well as preserving and raising cultural awareness of Mexico and Spain by giving back to the community through dance and music.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

As a flamenco dancer, she has appeared professionally at the famous El Cid Flamenco Tablao in Los Angeles. Patricia performed at the Grand Opening of the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. She has studied extensively in Spain with Flamenco Masters such as Juana Amaya, Jesus Carmona, Ursula Lopez to name a few. In August 2006, she formed her own Flamenco dance company, “La Esencia Flamenca.” Collaborating with local musicians from Texas and California. As a result of her ongoing efforts, she developed a wonderful collaborative relationship with the Mexican Consulate in Houston, Mexican Tourism Board, Consulado de Espana, The Museum of Fine Arts, MECA and numerous other Hispanic organizations. On December 8, 2007, Mayor Bill White of Houston, Patricia was given a formal proclamation.

Patricia currently resides in sunny San Diego, CA as of 2009. She has continued to teach both Folklore Mexicano and Flamenco. Within one year her two dance companies in San Diego (Sabor Mexico Theatrical Dance Co. of SD & La Esencia Flamenca Dance Company of SD) combined has grown to 30 dancers and musicians. Recently, Danzarts – Sabor Mexico was chosen out of 320 applicants to work with the San Diego Symphony by Bill Conti (composer of the theme song “Rocky”) production “Your Song, Your Story”. Had the privilege of Performing at Symphony Hall, Joan Kroc Theater, Embarcadero accompanied by San Diego Symphony and Mariachi Garibaldi. For 8 consecutive years, Patricia has choreographed shows for Mariachi Sol De Mexico de Jose Hernandez for their “Merry-Achi” productions each year. Also has choreographed for Lila Downs -Dia de los Muertos show in 2023.. As a profession, Patricia is a Registered Nurse for over 30 years and has worked in Health Care Administration (Quality Management, Case Management ) for the last 15 years.

 

Mariann Sanchez

Mariann Sanchez

Board Chair/Vice President

Mariann Sanchez was born in México City and raised in San Diego. She has both a B.A. and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of San Diego and is currently employed at the University of San Diego. In 2010, Mariann joined Danzarts and became a company dancer in both of La Esencia Flamenca and Sabor México Theatrical Company. To date, Mariann has been fortunate to have been able to study in Spain and San Diego with Flamenco masters such as Domingo Ortega, Farruquito, Oscar Valero, María Serrano, Emilio Ochando, and Jesús Carmona. Additionally, she has been able to collaborate and perform with tremendously talented local artists. As a dancer, her goal is to transmit the love and passion she feels for this art form, while educating the audiences about its history and culture. As the Vice President and company member of Danzarts, Mariann is constantly seeking out different opportunities for offering affordable classes, scholarships, community performances and creative collaborations. This year Mariann had the privilege of co-producing a show called “Drums & Strings of the World,” with Patricia Astorga Casey, collaboration of live Music and Dance from México, Spain and West Africa.

Marina Ornelas

Marina Ornelas

Secretary to Executive Board

Marina Ornelas, a San Diego native, has always had a passion for performing and visual arts and pride in her Hispanic heritage and culture. At six years old she began dancing in her local community’s ballet folklorico group and continued dancing into her teenage years. As a teenager, she discovered her love for photography and continued to pursue an education in photography. From traditional film processes to digital imaging, she earned an AA in Photography from her local community college. In 2016, she earned an AA in Merchandise Product Development from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

Passionately, Marina has jumped back into her dancing shoes as a ballet folklorico student with DanzArts after her daughter Aria joined the Children’s Ballet Folklorico. She and her family contribute to the organization through volunteer work in photography and more.

Kristina Cunningham

Kristina Cunningham

DanzArts Children’s Director

Mrs. Kristina Cunningham born and raised in San Diego with parent of Mexican 1st generation descent immersed at a very young age of 3 with Mexican Ballet Folklorico. She has trained extensively in ballet, hip hop, and west African dance. Ms. Cunningham grew a passion and pride in her culture and had the opportunity to dance with local groups “ Folklorico de Nuestra Senora De Guadalupe” & “Ballet Folklorico de Aztlan” She continued her training attending master workshops “Danzantes Unidos” and Folklorico masters such as Joel Gutierrez, principal dancer of Ballet Folklorico de Mexico.

Currently, she is a principal dancer of DanzArts- Sabor Mexico Dance Co. for 10 years where she has performed at the most coveted venues in southern California (Copley Theater, Balboa Theater, Cerritos Performing Arts Center) to name a few. She has shared the stage with Grammy nominated “Mariachi Sol de Mexico” for 5 consecutive years.  Ms. Cunningham continues to share her passion as the director of DanzArts Children’s Dance Academy. Being the director brings her a sense of pride to be able to teach the children about their culture through the art of dance and to be able to carry on those tradition to our future generations.

DanzArts is a non-profit organization which provides a creative and relevant space for artistic and cultural expression, as well as preserving and raising cultural awareness of Mexico and Spain by giving back to the San Diego County community through dance and music.

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