What is “Puente Flamenco”?
“Puente” means “bridge” and we hope to be a bridge from flamenco to you, and from Spain to the Americas. We are located in Syracuse, NY, and have been doing shows for over two years.
“Flamenco” refers to a style of music – singing, dancing, guitar-playing and lots of percussion – that originated in the gypsy communities of Spain. It is not “flamingo music”. Flamingos are tall pink birds. We are all humans.
Who are we?
We are a mix of people, almost all from the Syracuse area. Four of us even graduated from the same high school. We found each other because, well, nobody else is doing flamenco on a regular basis here!
David “Flamenquito” Chu began his music career as a teen playing piano and percussion, but soon switched to guitar. At SUNY Oswego he earned a Bachelor’s in Music while minoring in Spanish. He has been a well-known guitarist in Syracuse for many years, building his career first as a player of electric guitar in jazz and pop styles. Fifteen years ago he switched to the flamenco guitar, which has nylon strings and is similar to a classical guitar. He delights audiences with the variety of genres he plays on this guitar, including flamenco, jazz, Brazilian, and even Beatles tunes. Largely self-taught, he has taken some lessons in New York. An accomplished soloist, he provides accompaniment for the other members of Puente Flamenco and is the group’s arranger and composer. David works as a web developer and is the administrator for the group’s website.
Lonnie Chu, manager and singer, also maintains the website. She studied music at SUNY New Paltz before taking off for Spain where she lived several times. She earned her BA in Spanish at Le Moyne College and her MA in Linguistics at Syracuse University. Music is one of the tools she uses when teaching Spanish and English as a Second Language. Currently teaching Spanish at Onondaga Community College, it was her students who inspired her to bring together these talented people so that students and lovers of all things Spanish could enjoy flamenco the way she and husband David do.
David “Coliflor” Colegrove is an architect by profession. He has been playing percussion, primarily set drums, for more years than he’s told us. Married to our lead dancer, Marisa Guzman, he’s been quietly listening to and analyzing flamenco rhythms for all the years his wife has been dancing flamenco in their home studio. In one magic night, he stepped in where other percussionists have failed to remain and kept us going with dead-on compás. We’re thrilled to have him with us.
Anna Rupert has been studying flamenco dance with Marisa Guzman for nine years. She has been to Sevilla five times and there she studies with Asunción Demartos. The bata de cola that Anna performs to our alegrías was choreographed by Asunción. Anna has also taken classes from Jesús Aguilera and Juan Paredes at the Museo de Baile Flamenco in Sevilla. Anna recently graduated from Manlius Pebble Hill School and takes classes in Ballet, Modern, and Jazz at The Ballet and Dance Center as well as flamenco with Marisa Guzman at Wacheva Cultural Arts and privately. She is currently studying Spanish at Syracuse University.
On temporary leave:
Marisa Guzmán has been a part of the Central New York dance community for many years. She teaches at Gúzman’s Dance Studio, Syracuse School of Dance and Wacheva Culural Arts. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University. Her teaching credits include Flamenco, Jazz, Creative Movement, Modern, Stott Pilates and Ballet. She has performed with the Syracuse Contemporary Dance Company, Syracuse Opera Company and with the Syracuse Symphony. Marisa has choreographed for Fayetteville Manlius High School musicals, Flamenco for the Syracuse Symphony and for the Syracuse Contemporary Dance Company.
Lisa Latempa trained in New York City and teaches flamenco where she lives, in Buffalo, NY. We were fortunate to meet her after a show in Buffalo and she was glad to find a troupe that she could join. A true artist, Lisa travels hundreds of miles to dance with us, literally going to great lengths to bring her gorgeous style and flamenco fire to us and our audiences.
Molly Linhorst is a dancer long experienced with tap and other styles. While she is relatively new to flamenco, we’ve found her to be a super-fast learner with a fabulous stage presence. At the moment she is studying in China, but we look forward to having her back with us at the end of this year, when she will continue her studies at Syracuse University.
Joan Dear-Houseman has danced in the Syracuse area for many years while studying jazz, ballet, modern and most recently flamenco dance. She is a member of the Syracuse Contemporary Dance company and has performed with the Syracuse Opera Company. Joan is a Special Education teacher in the Liverpool Central School District and resides in Chittenango, New York.