Hailed “magnificent” and "utterly compelling" by The New York Times, Nélida Tirado has been recognized around the globe for her intense grace and powerful style. As one of the most dynamic dancers, Nélida embodies the passion of Flamenco and Latin dance, alighting stages around the world with her depth and virtuosity.
The differences and origins of, Flamenco and Latin dance is figuratively and literally an ocean apart. Yet, they both reflect the histories of conquest and displacement. Flamenco's birth roots from both fusion and exodus sprang of Moorish, Jewish and Roma/Gypsy cultures of the Iberian Peninsula. Latin dance/music sprang from Caribbean migration and cultural exchanges in New York City, imagining and reinventing themselves far beyond legacies of colonization and slavery. For both, music and dance were the voice of these oppressed communities and where "rebellious disobedience" was necessary to affirm their existence. Nélida's artistic vision is informed by these narratives of anguish and survival, love and loss, beauty and pain, life and death. While Flamenco and Latin dance are singular and distinctive as separate music and movement forms, Nélida's relationship to both affirms not only her identity but also resonates in her style, contributing to one of the most exhilarating and successful dance careers.
Nélida was exposed to music and dance at an early age. She began her formal training in classical ballet, graham technique and Spanish dance at Ballet Hispanico of New York at the age of six, later forming part of their apprentice company. Barely out of her teens, she was invited to tour the U.S. with Jose Molina Bailes Españoles, Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco, Fred Darsow and Carlota Santana’s Flamenco Vivo. Her desire to continue learning led her to Spain where she became soloist/ dance captain with of Compañia Maria Pages and Compañia Antonio El Pipa, performing at prestigious flamenco festivals and television in Spain such as the Bienal del Arte Flamenco, Festival de Jerez, Festival de Otoño, Festival de la Guitarra in Cordoba and the Flamenco Festival USA touring throughout Spain, France, Italy, UK, Germany and Japan.
Flamenco defined her artistic purpose and professional calling but Latin dance had always been part of her Puerto Rican roots, family and cultural traditions. It wasn't until she started simultaneously teaching at a local Boys and Girls Club in New York and became enamored with a Latin dance class being held next door. She'd never seen this dance at such a technical level. She'd drop in on occasion for the last few minutes of class and was immediately noticed for her natural ability. She was then invited at the early age of 16 years old to perform at the Apollo Theater in tribute to Miriam Makeba with Latin legend Tito Puente.
Since returning to the U.S., her accomplishments top the charts with notable performances in the highly acclaimed Broadway production of "Riverdance" as solo flamenco dancer, she has performed and toured in World Music Institute’s “Gypsy Caravan I ”, Franco Zeferelli's "Carmen" with the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center and Jacob's Pillow and Noche Flamenca . She led the opening act with her ensemble for the Buena Vista Social Club featuring Omara Portoundo at the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, produced concerts in Symphony Space, Joyce Soho, Queens Theater in the Park and represented as a solo artist, Compañia Maria Pages in The Aichi Expo in Japan. She has collaborated with some of the greatest musicians and artists for her performances in "Amores Quebrados" with Suite Hispania at the Repertorio Espanol. In 2011 and 2012, she performed in the "Dance Under the Influence" series in collaboration with the Flamenco Festival USA, as well as "Dance Off the Grid" series at the Emellin Theater. She collaborated with Jazz's great Wynton Marsalis for a special performance at Harvard University and participated in E-MOVES 8,9 and 12 choreography showcase at HarlemStage as well as being featured soloist in the Mexican sensation "Jarocho touring Mexico and China. She was part of Summerstage "Dance Off the Grid" Series 2014 alongside Ron K. Brown Evidence, Ephrat Aserie, Sa Dance.
While always remaining connected to her Latin roots throughout her dance career, Nelida performed in an exclusive show for President Bush at the Ford Theater in Washington D.C. and has performed with numerous latin icons such as Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Tito Nieves, Tony Vega, Jose Alberto, Santitos Colon, Ismael Miranda, and The Mambo Legends Orchestra for special performances, concerts; in the New Jersey Nets Stadium for half time show in honor of Goya's 75th Anniversary, Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, Aaron Davis Hall, and throughout Colombia with Tito Puente's 100th album tour. She was featured in Orquesta de La Luz's "Somos Diferente" video, and Chris Rock's television show "Totally Biased". She performed in the Nike Play-Off Festivals, the Copabana Congress, the UK, Poland, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Miami, New York and Boston Congresses.
Nélida has been featured in The New York Times for numerous performances, The New Yorker, The Star Ledger and selected as one of Dance Magazine's "25 To Watch". She received the BRIO award twice from the Bronx Council of the Arts for artistic excellence, was a three time recipient of the Tito Puente Scholarship, recipient of the "Rosario Dawson Muse Fellow" through BAAD!, and Gibney's Dance in Process Residence 2018-2019 for the development of her new work "Tú o Yo".
In 2016, Nélida premiered her solo show "Dime Quien Soy" in The Flamenco Festival New York featuring original composition by Gonzalo Grau. A sold out show at Joe's Pub, it was an original work exploring her multitudes as a dancer in Flamenco and Latin dance, her identity as a Puerto Rican raised in the multicultural Bronx, and how music and dance transcend race and politics. This solo work has recently expand with more dancers and completed a bubble residency at The Jacob's Pillow Lab March 2021.
Nélida most recently will be seen in Warner Brother's film adaptation of Lin Manuel Miranda's "In The Heights".