Amaya's Biography

About the dancer…

Gypsy Queen Amaya




Albuquerque, New Mexico—
An internationally acclaimed dance performer, Amaya, has danced all her life and in many facets of show business.  She even admits to “running away to join the circus” (Circus Conelli in Zurich, Switzerland).  She was a featured performer in the German extravaganza, “Salome,” and also in the theatrical production “Zorba.”  In the early stages of her career, Amaya won First Place in a competition in Cairo, Egypt held at the Cairo Sheraton Hotel.  In 1998, she won Dancer of the Year/ International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance Award (IAMED). Her "Gypsy Fire" dvd is the recipient of the prestigious Giza Award.    

Born in Crystal City, Texas, the “Spinach Capital of the World” (complete with a downtown statue of Popeye!), Amaya has traveled extensively throughout nineteen different countries teaching and performing.  For sixteen years she produced the now retired “Annual International Shake & Bake Dance Festival.” 

Today she still produces a local event entitled “Oriental Potpourri” in New Mexico.  Drawing students from all over the world, Amaya hosts an intensive but intimate retreat called the Wise Woman Retreat in New Mexico each summer.  Producing videos, private lessons, traveling while keeping on top of all the dance trends keeps Amaya’s Dance Productions busy on a daily level.

As a performer, Amaya’s dance is filled with passion and fire, tempered with elegance and flashes of fun. Her dance is an unusual showcase of Spanish/Arabic styling with soul-stirring taksims (slow, dramatic dance).  This fusion expresses the heart of Andalucia with the spirit of Arabia.  She has chosen “La Mora Gitana” to describe her unique interpretation to this dance.  Touching soul and spirit, her dance transcends time and place.

30+ years of teaching has helped Amaya in expertly instructing the beginning dancer to the professional dancer by incorporating basic level steps to “super-embellished” moves while using dynamic music---all mixed with a healthy dose of humor and life philosophies.  This combination provides all level seminar attendees with a satisfying, challenging workshop experience.  Her teaching method is of the highest standards and a great inspiration to thousands of her past students!

Her educational background includes a B.S. degree from the University of New Mexico, Massage Therapy license (State of Texas), is a certified aerobics instructor, and has dabbled in studies in African, Indian Kathak, Spanish Flamenco, Samba, Mexican Folkloric Dance, yoga and, most importantly, intensive studies in LIFE.

Her mentor and dance partner, Roman “Bert” Balladine, has said “Amaya is a jewel in the crown of the Oriental World.”  Together they have performed with many of the greats in this fascinating dance.   He was a  huge influence by providing  Amaya with much wisdom in life and on the stage.

Says international dancer Super Star, Suhaila Salimpour,  "Amaya is an artist and a woman with the richness of emotion that only comes from the depths of her soul.  After each performance I can feel who she is as a isn't just a mere performance."

Amaya resides in the Land of Enchantment New Mexico.  She enjoys an eclectic life of green chilies, gorgeous sunsets, Scottie Terriers chubby Mr. Smith and Cute Stuff Buddy, precious Paco -The-Chihuahua and life partner, Pete "El Pelon" Garza.