Susana di Palma

Having studied Spanish dance and flamenco since childhood, Susana di Palma continued her apprenticeship with maestros such as Ciro, Manolo Marin, Manolete, Carmen Mora, and Merche Esmeralda. She performed throughout Spain in tablaos and with companies such as La Singla. In 1985 she founded Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater in Minneapolis. Its mission has been to create innovative theater works that expand on traditional flamenco to reflect on controversial contemporary issues. Di Palma’s full-length theater-flamenco ballets include Flor, Garden of Names, Gernika, Sadja, First, I Dream, La Virtud Negra, Encuentros, Tales of the Black Legend, Zorro in the Land of the Yellow-Breasted Woodpecker, Convivir, and Los Caprichos among others. Her works have been presented at New York’s Joyce Theater, Miami’s Florida Dance Festival, St. Paul’s O’Shaughnessy Theater’s “Women of Substance Series,” and the Walker Art Center among other venues. She choreographed Lorca’s Blood Wedding for the Guthrie Theater and Bethany Lutheran College. In 2012, she was a curator for the Walker Art Center’s “Choreographers’ Evening.” In 2016 she was invited to choreography Pica, a work on Picasso for the New York company, Noche Flamenco. Pica was performed on their national tour and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She has introduced new work for the past seven seasons at Cowles Center for the Performing Arts in Minneapolis. Her Lorca’s Women won the Sage Award for Most Outstanding Choreography. In 2018 she choreographed and danced in Mill City Opera’s Carmen. In 2017-18 di Palma recreated two works that speak to today’s contemporary concerns her children’s puppet show Tra Ti Ti Tran Tran Toro about immigration and Garden of Names on political “disappeared.”

A devoted teacher, di Palma taught in the University of Minnesota, Department of Dance for over 25 years. She currently teaches in The Cowles Center’s Distance Learning Program and directs classes at the Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater School. As an individual artist, she has received grants and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and The Bush Foundation. In 2017 she was awarded a McKnight Fellowship for Choreography and a Minnesota Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant.

McKnight Artist Fellow | January 7 - 18, 2019


Susana di Palma, a McKnight Fellow and Founder and Artistic Director of Zorongo Flamenco Dance based in Minneapolis, MN, will be in residence at MANCC for the first time to further the development of a new contemporary flamenco duet titled Casita. This new work emanates from stories collected from homeless women and intends to explore what “home” means in various contexts and the experience of what it is like to live an alternative lifestyle, without shelter.

di Palma and dancer Jeanne D'Arc Casas of Puerto Rico, will be accompanied by gospel/jazz vocalist Tonia Hughes, jazz/blues pianist Billy Steele and flamenco guitarists/vocalists who each will compose and perform original materials for the work. di Palma will also work with Ojibwe artist Jonathan Thunder who will create an animation of the declining journey from home (a doll house), to various alternative housing, to the street.

The work’s content is central to di Palma, who is a volunteer at St. Stephen’s Homeless Shelter in Minneapolis and has listened deeply to those in residence there, and observed their individual difficulties in striving to survive without a home. At the heart of this work is the examination of what “home” means to individuals.

Five performances of Casita are scheduled at the Lab Theater in Minneapolis in April 2019, as part of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater’s season, What the Moon Sees. The premiere of Casita will be interwoven into the evening program with other contemporary flamenco works.

This residency was supported, in part, by a partnership with McKnight Choreographer Fellowships, funded by The McKnight Foundation and administered by The Cowles Center For Dance & The Performing Arts.

  • Photos Coming Soon

Collaborators in Residence: Jeanne D'Arc Casas [Dancer], Tonia Hughes [Singer], Billy Steele [Pianist], Jonathan Thunder [Animator]

World Premiere

Neil Greenberg

To The Things

December 5 - 15
The Chocolate
Factory, (NYC)


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