"Martinez was electrifying in her raw fury and glorious joy."
- The News Review, October 2013
Melani “Mele” Martinez is a teacher, writer, mother, and flamenca from Tucson, AZ. An original member of The American Flamenco Repertory Co., she studied at the National Institute of Flamenco and became a soloist for the company and manager of the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts. Mele also studied Creative Writing at the University of Arizona and received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. Her writing has received various awards including Fourth Genre’s Literary Prize.
In 2009 Mele, along with her husband and flamenco artist Jason Martinez, opened the Tucson Flamenco Studio and co-founded the Tucson Flamenco Festival, the largest flamenco event in the State of Arizona. This outdoor festival brought some of the country’s most celebrated flamenco artists to our city from 2009-2015. Mele received the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona’s New Works Grant and the Arizona Commission on the Arts’ Research and Development Grant for her solo project, Luz in 2015. This work was co-choreographed with acclaimed flamenco artist, Fanny Ara, in honor of mothers in the arts. Luz toured California, Arizona, and New Mexico before its final performance in Tucson at Lluvia Flamenca, 2016.
Today Mele is a Lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Arizona and continues to perform and teach flamenco for Tucson audiences. She is at work on a memoir entitled The Molino and her latest flamenco work, Canciones de Luisa, produced by Tucson Meet Yourself in 2017, will honor the music of legendary Tucsonense, Luisa Espinel Ronstadt.