CHERYL BLANCHARD, Community Liaison
Performer and teacher Cheryl Blanchard was born and raised in New York City, where her love of dance began at the age of 3 with her first dance lessons taken on her father's feet. She was introduced to Latin music and rhythms in her teens and learned different styles of dances at her neighborhood community center, resulting in annual performances at the world renowned Carnegie Hall in NYC. After a long absence from Latin music, an invitation to join Strictly Street Salsa reignited her passion for the genre and for performing. Studies have been done with Roberto Borrell, Sandra Moro Sleeper, Kati Hernandez, Hansel Melgares, Ramon Ramos Alayo, Yeni Molinet, Wilfredo Guilbiac Rodriguez, Raul Orlando Edwards, and others. Her performing and teaching engagements include: the Houston International Festival, Salsa y Salud (Miller Theatre), Discovery Green, the Afro-Latin Dance Festival, Houston Symphony, the San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival, to name a few. Remember; “Dance like no one is watching!”
JORGE ORTA 'CroCro', Special Events Music Director
Internationally known percussionist Jorge Orta is a former member of the legendary Grupo Niche. A native of Venezuela, he has performed with some of Latin music’s legendary and upcoming stars, among them: Celia Cruz, Pete “El Conde” Rodríguez, Mimi Ibarra, Viti Ruíz, Ismael Miranda, Lefty Perez, Henry Fiol, Luis Felipe Gonzáles, Maelo, José Alberto 'El Canario', Kim de los Santos, Paquito Guzmán, José Bello, Wichie Camacho, and others. World tours included countries in America such as Perú, Ecuador, United States, Colombia, Venezuela, Panamá, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, México, Aruba, Curacao; in Europe, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, France; and countries in Northern Africa. Following the great reception 'Capitán de mi Barco' (his first CD project) received, he is currently working with his band Tumbaká on the second CD work. He serves as music director for FLAMART'S signature programs Salsa y Salud and the Afro-Latin Festival.
REINALDO COSTA, Artist in Residence
Dancer, teacher and choreographer Reinaldo Costa is a graduate of the Alejo Carpentier Elementary School of Ballet. He continued studies at Escuela de Espectáculos Musicales for three years focusing on dance technique and performing. That period prepared him for Cuba's Tropicana 'little school', an intensive immersion to the company's style and performing vocabulary. Upon completion of this program in 2011, he was admitted to Tropicana's professional company, fulfilling his life-long dream of performing on one of the world's most popular stages and with some of Cuba's most prominent artists. His high level of artistry and talent helped him obtain the position of soloist with the 'Cubáname Company' which relocated him to Mexico, and while there, toured around the country. Today, he resides in Houston and has quickly become a sought-after dancer, choreographer and teacher with performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre, the San Francisco Rueda Festival, the Afro-Latin Festival and other events.
FLAMART'S Artistic Team has been committed to promoting unity and diversity through the arts both nationally and internationally. With several of its members recognized by the City of Houston and by the United States Congress for outstanding work in the arts and the community, this mission is channeled in all areas of the organization's programming and events.