Meet Juan Tomás de la Molía, Artist with Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía
2022 was a big year for Juan Tomás de la Molía: He presented his first solo work at Festival de Jerez, joined his first company, Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, and won the biggest flamenco dance prize at the National Competition of Flamenco Art in Córdoba, Spain. A riveting performer with impeccable lines, he dominates the technique and character of male-styled flamenco dance with ease, avoiding pandering gimmicks and creating a no-frills emotional journey for the audience.
Company: Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía
Hometown: Trebujena, Cádiz, Spain
Training: Peña Flamenca Los Cernícalos in Jerez (Ana María López); independent instructors in Seville (Jaime Cala, José Galván, Farruquito, Pepe Torres); Cristina Heeren Foundation (El Choro, Luisa Palicio, Javier Barón, Milagros Mengíbar, Rafael Campallo); Escuela de Formación de Arte y Danza de Granada (Manuel Liñán, Jesús Carmona)
Awards: 1st place Manolo Soler award, Cristina Heeren Foundation (2018); 1st place Andaluz Competition for young flamencos, Federation of Peñas Flamencas of Sevilla (2019); 1st place Flamenco Puro, Festival de Jerez Award (2020); 1st place dance prize, National Competition of Flamenco Art in Córdoba (2022)
Full circle: De la Molía began studying flamenco at 6 years old in Jerez with Ana María López. Fifteen years later he gave his first solo concert, Presente, in the prestigious Festival de Jerez. “It was incredible, a dream,” he says. “It is a place where flamenco is very popular and there are many aficionados. So I was very excited but at the same time felt responsible for giving the public what they deserve.”
Forging his own style: Diverse teachers such as Farruquito, Pepe Torres, Manuel Liñán and Jesús Carmona have all contributed to de la Molía’s style. “Knowledge makes it possible to later make your decisions and determine your way of viewing dance,” he says. Úrsula López, artistic director of Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, pinpoints one element of his dancing that sets him apart: “There is something very captivating in his dancing: his masculinity at all times. Today it is rare to see that.”
Group work: So far, de la Molía’s career has unfolded in a seemingly reverse order—
he joined Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía after already having a strong presence as a solo artist. What is he enjoying most? “The companions,” he says. “I learn a lot from them every day, and they enrich me as an artist and as a person.” López shares that “Juan Tomás is a brilliant dancer, with an innate intuition. His wisdom does not correspond to his age.”
Stage name: Though he was born Juan Tomás Dominguez Cancela, he chose Juan Tomás de la Molía for his stage name in honor of his paternal grandmother, Juana la Molía.
Taking risks: There are different types of risks when performing versus competing, explains de la Molía. “I think it’s much more difficult to dance in the tablao”—small, acoustic, cabaret-styled flamenco performance spaces—”than in a contest. In the tablao, you work with people you’ve never performed with before, while in a competition, despite the pressure of being evaluated by an expert jury, you chose the musicians and there is rehearsal.”