Maria Zemantauski

"Tacones y Manos Calientes"

These performances and workshops are offered through the BOCES Arts In Education Program.  To arrange a program at your school, please contact the Delaware-Chenango-Madison -Otsego BOCES OR the Capital Region BOCES.  

Tacones y Manos Calientes brings the magic and passion of Spanish dance and music to your school.  Your students will view a live dance performance under the direction of La Niña, the founder of Tacones y Manos Calientes. The trio consists of baile (dance), guitar (toque) and world percussion.   The presentation, lasting from 45 minutes to I 1/2 hours, includes an explanation of the dance forms and music, a brief history of flamenco, and live musical performance by a master guitarist and percussionist. If desired, a group of students is invited on stage to learn some steps, which are then performed to the accompaniment of the audience members.

This program provides an opportunity to help students meet the New York State Standards in the Fine Arts and Languages Other than English.

Separate workshops in dance, guitar and percussion can be especially designed for students with some or no prior experience, or for those who simply have a general interest in the flamenco art form.

The dance workshops will introduce the students to rhythmic palmas (hand-clapping), zapateado (heel-work), braceo (arms movement), as well as a short piece of choreography. Included is a brief history of Spanish dance and the language of the movements.

The beginning level guitar workshop will introduce students to the array of techniques that make the characteristic sounds of flamenco guitar.  Among these techniques are:  rasqueado, picado, arpeggio, tremolo and alzapua.  A working knowledge of basic first position chords and the ability to move easily through basic chord progressions is recommended to perform the techniques.  A nylon string guitar is required or one will be provided for students to share so that they can “try” the techniques.

The percussion workshop focuses on the performance as well as the history and cultural significance of the various instruments used in the ensemble.  Students explore the rhythm and technique of such instruments as the African Udu drum, the flamenco string cajon, kenjira, riq and djembe. 

Presenters: Rebeca Byam, Maria Zemantauski & Brian Melick

Grades PK-12; 45 to 90 minute presentation; Maximum group size: any size for performance, Fees: Single presentation $900 ($300 per artist); Two presentations: $1800 ($600 per artist), Three presentations: $2700 ($900 per artist); School provides: wooden floor, performing space (minimum 16’ x 16’) and sound system if available; if sound system is not available, artist will provide; Travel from Troy, Ravena and Oneonta. Available anytime.

Artist Bios:

"La Niña" aka Rebeca Byam, a high school Spanish teacher for 33 years, has been teaching flamenco and tap for II years. A native of Colombia, South America, she studied flamenco in NYC with master dancers Jose Molina, Jorge Navarro and Mariano Parra, and in Spain at the Academia de Flamenco de Mariquilla in Granada. La Nina has conducted dance work- shops and performances at various colleges and elementary and high schools in New York State. She performs regularly with guitarist Maria Zemantauski and teaches flamenco, Spanish dance and tap at the Wendy Wade Studio in her hometown of Oneonta, NY.

Maria Zemantauski is one of the world’s few heralded female flamenco guitarists and composers. She has performed in Spain, Italy and across the continental United States to great acclaim.  As a recording artist, her CD releases have received stellar reviews from music critics around the world. She has an MA in Anthropology from SUNYA and is a frequent guest lecturer at schools, colleges and universities, placing the flamenco art form in its socio-cultural context and emphasizing the importance of the arts as a vital educational component and an integral part of society.  Maria performs extensively as a soloist and with the multi-instrumental trio, GX3+. She is on the faculty in the Department of Fine Arts, Theater Arts and Digital Media at Hudson Valley Community College and has been the college's Coordinator of Cultural Affairs since 2004. 


Brian Melick, Musician, Educator, Author and Designer has been professionally involved in music since the early age of 13. Featured recording artist on over 250 commercially released recordings, highlighted by Five solo projects: "Percussive Voices" (Hudson Valley Records), “Diverse Elements” (uduboy music), "Perpetual Motion,"  "The Art of Udu", and “Diverse World” (Gene Michael Productions).  The last three have been released as sound libraries to the commercial / industrial environments and are now placed with Universal Pictures, MGM Studios, Columbia Pictures, Fox Network, Discovery Channel, and Disney.   As an educator, he offers participatory workshops,master classes and individual lessons for all ages; focusing on the World of Percussion, World of Udu, and Making and Playing Percussion Instruments Out of Found Objects.