Born in Cordoba in 1969 into a gypsy family, headed to Madrid soon where he began his dance studies at the age of twelve. By the age of fourteen he was admitted in the Spanish National Ballet whom he traveled around the world, dancing in top venues like the Metropolitan House of New York or the State Kremlin Palace. At the age of sixteen he became the company’s soloist dancer and will act as principal dancer during the next three years.
In 1988 he leaves the Spanish National Ballet. At this time he is invited to perform in the “Géants de Danse” gala, an event that took place in the Champs Elysees Theatre (Paris). On the bill, top names like Maya Plisetskaya, Sylvie Guillem or Peter Schmalfuss among other international dance stars.
At this time he created the choreography for the opera “Carmen” for the Arena of Verona (Italy ) . He also participated in the Summer Flamenco Festival of Tokyo ( Japan) or the Lincoln Center’s annual gala in New York ( USA) being hailed by critics and audiences decide to create his own company : “Joaquin Cortes Ballet Flamenco”
In 1992 he created his first show “Cibayí ” debuted it at the Champs Elysées Theatre in Paris (France ) . In this work Cortés perform two solos : a soleá bulerías and a farruca , heartfelt , full of flamenco soul , that won the favour even of the most skeptical fans.
In “Cibayí” Cortés set the trend of what would be his future work: Avant garde and spectacular yet with sparks of a singular beauty.
The Cibayi’s tour was a total success: Selling out for twelve days in a row the Albéniz Theatre (Madrid) and performing in places like the Cordoba Guitar Festival or the Zarzuela Theatre (Madrid). He also performed in two classical dance sanctuaries: Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow) and Kirov Theatre (St. Petersburg) plus touring with great success over France, Italy, Japan, Venezuela and EE.UU. Places that would be usual destinations in upcoming tours.
In that same year he works with the Spanish pop group Mecano, appearing in their videoclip “Una rosa es una rosa” and in the “Aidalai Tour” where he danced with the group’s singer Ana Torroja.
In 1993 he was named Español Universal in Miami.
In 1995 he created his second show, “Pasión Gitana”, debuting it in the Albéniz Theatre in Madrid. Giorgio Armani, a friend of Joaquin’s, was the costume designer of the show. During four years, “Pasión Gitana” visited more than 40 countries, drawing more than a million and a half spectators worldwide. Highlights of the tour includes his appearances at the Spoleto Festival (Italy), London’s Royal Albert Hall, New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Los Angeles’ Universal Amphitheatre, Caracas’ Polyhedron (Venezuela), Japan’s Tokyo Forum or Ipanema Beach (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) where he attracted an audience of more than 800.000 people.
In 1995 he appears in his first advertising spot, being the brand image of Seat Ibiza Passion. Later that year, he made his debut as an actor in the Pedro Almodovar’s film “La Flor de mi Secreto” (“The Flower of my Secret”). In that film he arranged the choreography, with the great bailaora Manuela Vargas as a dancing partner and the music of Miles Davis as a sonic background. In that same year, he also appears in Carlos Saura’s “Flamenco”.
In 1996 he was asked to bring his “Pasión Gitana” show at the “Red Cross Special Show” gala that took place in the London’s Royal Albert Hall.
During this tour he visits places as diverse as Canada, Australia , South Korea , Japan , China , Russia , Turkey , Lebanon , UAE, Brazil, Mexico and Iceland.
In 1997 , he recorded his first CD , “Gypsy Passion Band ” in which he participated as a percussionist. With this album, Joaquín Cortés became the second Spanish artist to releasing an album worldwide ever (Julio Iglesias being first) . This group performed in such iconic venues like the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland ) , where they gave a concert . Later that year he makes a collaboration with the dramatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti to raise money for the ” Spoleto Festival” , where the price of tickets hovered between 200,000 and 500,000 liras. Thanks to this benefit concert “Spoleto Festival ” could continue his tenure. In 1998 he was invited to present his work at the Universal Expo (Lisbon) being seen by more than 25,000 people . For all the aforementioned reasons, “Pasión Gitana” became the most-watched Spanish show in the world.
On January 1999 he moved to New York where he get in contact with other trends in the dance and music’s world. He studied contemporary dance. About this time, he began his collaboration with the renowned choreographer Debbie Allen, who participated in the ceremony “71st Annual Academy Awards” (the Oscars), at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.
On April he created the Joaquín Cortés Gypsy Foundation for dissemination, disclosure, promotion and development of Romani’s culture and art. In August, he plays Hercules at the Opening Ceremony of the VII World Athletics Championships. He is portrayed as the mythical and immortal founder of the city of Seville, crowning with an olive wreath to the winners of the events. His portrayal of Hercules closes the gala telecast,with an estimated 2.500 million viewers.
During this year he is also chosen as the image of the advertising campaign for the Italian socks firm “Pompea”. At the end of the year Joaquín Cortés made a special gala in Rome (Italy) due to the exchange rate of Lira to Euro, the show was held at the gates of the majestic Roman coliseum being cited in this gala among the most prominent figures of the country at the time .
On October 14 he debuts his third work “Soul” at the Barcelona’s Tivoli Theatre. The Gypsy “soul” of Joaquín Cortés is recognized worldwide. And with great success visit cities as diverse as London (UK), Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong (China), Milan, Rome, (Italy), Tokyo, Osaka (Japan), Hannover Expo 2000 (Germany), or Beirut in Beittedine Festival (Lebanon)
On January 2000 he start shooting the film “Gitano” (Gypsy) written by Arturo Perez Reverte. It’s his first starring role, playing opposite french model Laeticia Casta and renowned spanish actors like Pilar Bardem and Juan Diego.
On February 2001, it’s the opening act of the Viña del Mar Festival (Chile). After forty-two editions and for the first time in his history a dancer participates in the most important music festival on Latin America.
On March 7, 2001, he presents his new show and fourth work: “Live” at the Royal Albert Hall in London (U.K.), with a huge success. When Sevilla (Spain), birthplace of flamenco culture, hosts “Live”, at the La Maestranza Theatre the venue is filled completely . The next day, critics exceeded all expectations. The year closes with a month of performances in Madrid (Spain) where Nuevo Apolo theater hangs the sign “sold out” in all representations.
On September this year the Puerto Rican pop singer, Jennifer Lopez, performed the first concert of his career live in Puerto Rico (USA), for which he wanted that Joaquin arranged the choreography and danced with her.
In that year he was asked again to bring his work “Live” at the “Red croos Special Show” gala held in Basel (Switzerland).
In 2002 he returned to the legendary Royal Albert Hall in London (U.K.), and continues touring throughout Europe with little rest. To conclude the year on December 11, 2002, Joaquin Cortes is invited to perform at the traditional concert to be held at the Oslo Spektrum on the occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize, hosted by Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange who introduced artists like Laura Pausini (Italy), Carlos Santana (Mexico), Willie Nelson (USA), Josh Groban (USA), Angelique Kidjo (Belgium), Jessy Norman (EE .S.), Sissel (Norway), Michelle Branch (USA), Mari Boine (Norway), Suede (England). The Nobel Peace Prize that year was awarded to former US President Jimmy Carter which publicly acknowledged his admiration for the dancer. Cortés was the only Spanish representative in this gala among a cast of elite artists.
Also in this year he performed at the “The Grammy Awards 2002” gala at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (USA) and made a collaboration with the big winner of that edition, the singer Alicia Keys on “Fallin” .
During 2003 Joaquín Cortés continues its international touring schedule through twenty countries. In September 2003 in Rome (Italy), stars in the film “Vaniglia e Cioccolato” with actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta and Italian director Ciro Ippolito.
On March 15, 2004 premieres at the Teatro Diners della Luna (Milan,Italy) his fifth work, “Love and Hate”, directed, produced and choreographed by himself. A show with a contemporary concept, with a theme that covers war, hunger, violence, deepening in love. With that spectacle he visited countries like Italy, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Spain.
Joaquín Cortés continues his work “Live” at the same time, which continues to reap success, so it was forced to do both shows simultaneously.
It also participates in the “Fashion Rocks for the Prince’s Trust” held at the Royal Albert Hall in London (UK) by the hand of famous designer John Galliano. The artist performed in the presence of His Royal Highness Charles the Prince of Wales.
In late May returns to the Royal Albert Hall in London (U.K.) and performed in Munich (Germany) for a week. In summer he toured one month throughout Italy. In November also he toured South America and Central America. Ends the year visiting Portugal and Romania.
On September 15, 2004, he was invited to participate in the “Hispanic Celebration” gala, being the first Spanish that performed at the White House with all Latin American presidents and former President George Bush among the audience.
On May 3, 2005, he premiered his sixth work, “Mi Soledad” at the National Auditorium in Mexico which brought over 10,000 people, continuing with a worldwide tour. In August he was invited to perform at the Universal Expo 2005 Aichi (Japan).
Jean Paul Gaultier was the costume designer of the work. Accordingly, on March 2006 he led “Mi Soledad” to Europe starting in Paris where he appeared at the designer’s “maison”. It was one of his most representative works, visiting more than thirty countries worldwide.
During this year the name of Joaquín Cortés becomes a global firm. The artist creates his own brand and begins with the marketing of perfumes for men and women: “Yekipe” “24K” “Night Show”.
In 2006 he was elected image of different brands as relevant as: Choppard, IWC, La Veuve Clicquot and Samsonite worldwide. He also collaborated with the Rava Foundation in various performances in mythical venues like the theater “La Fenice” in Venice (Italy) for the construction of a children’s hospital in Haiti.
In November 2006 he was appointed Ambassador of the Romani People by the European Parliament. He was invited to Brussels where he had an interview with Presidents Barroso and Borrell. Where he directed a speech to all MEPs in an emotional speech expressing his feelings about the Romaní People.
2007 was a year of touring: “Mi Soledad”, which open fire with the click of his heels in front of 4,000 people in Moscow’s Kremlin Palace (Russia). He also acted for three weeks in a row in Madrid’s Gran Via (Spain), donating part of the proceeds to the “Fundación Gitana Joaquín Cortés” to raise funds for charitable projects for the integration of the Romani People.
On July 2007, he starred in the “The new seven wonders of the world” gala, held at the Lisbon’s Stadium of Light (Portugal). An event attended by various film personalities like British actor Ben Kingsley, Indian actress Aishwarya Rai, and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank. Also attended by astronaut Neil Armstrong, the Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and Spanish former UNESCO director Federico Mayor Zaragoza and singer Jennifer Lopez. The gala was watched by more than 1,600 million viewers.
Hideo Kojima, director of video games based on his image to create “Vamp”, a character in the “Metal Gear Solid” saga.
On February 2009 he arranged two nights with his company on the London Roundhouse, in Camden, as a warm up gig before his upcoming world tour.
On May 14, 2009 premiered at the Beacon Theatre in New York (USA) his seventh work: “Cale” (Gypsy). The work was a fusion of the best moments of all his aforementioned creations and was dedicated to his mother. With this work he traveled to Mexico, Spain, Greece and the United Arab Emirates among others places around the world.
In September 2009 he performed at the majestic Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens (Greece). Built in the fourth century BC, it’s the first Olympic Stadium in history and Joaquín is the only dancer in history to have performed in such place.
Later that year he received “The Lunas Award” at the National Auditorium D.F (Mexico), for his work “Calé” as the best alternative show of 2009.
In 2010 the Spanish government granted him with the “The Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts” given by the then Prince of Asturias (Felipe de Borbón, the actual King of Spain) in recognition of his twenty years career.
That very same year he was appointed “Ambassador for Climate Change” by former US Vice President Al Gore. In July, the artist returned again to receive “The Lunas Award” at the National Auditorium D.F (Mexico), for his work “Calé” as the best traditional show of 2010.
On September 15 2011 the artist was invited to perform at the 25th Hispanic Heritage (HHAS) Awards ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington (USA) attended by First Lady Michelle Obama. On November 12 Joaquín Cortés returns performing in the Miami’s ” L. Knight Center Theatre” where more than 4,000 people attended generating great media coverage.
In 2012 continues the “Calé” tour performing it in several cities such as Madrid, Cordoba, Malaga, Barcelona (Spain), Monterrey, Guagalajara, Queretaro, Guanajuato, Puebla, Mexico City (Mexico), Buenos Aires (Argentina) , Santiago de Chile (Chile), Lima (Peru), Caracas (Venezuela) where it is seen by more than 30,000 people, Bogota (Colombia), Oporto, Lisbon (Portugal), Moscow, St. Petersburg (Russia) Batumi, Tbilisi ( Georgia), Istanbul (Turkey), covering twenty countries throughout 2012.
On November 9 he receives the keys to the city of Miami from Mayor Regalado hands. That same day the mayor of Miami Beach declares November 9 as the “Joaquín Cortés Day”.
During Christmas 2012 and early 2013 Joaquín Cortés decides to give to the city of Madrid (Spain) a new show called “Tell Me” , an intimate work in which the artist wants to return to its origins, to his flamenco roots, accompanied by 18 musicians and three dancers.
In May 2013 he was invited to the “Billboard Latin Music Awards Winners” awards and “Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame” both galas held in Miami (USA). On November 2, 2013 assisted as a guest at the “Fillmore Theater” 6 (Jackie Gleason Theater) Miami Beach (USA) as a representative of the Spanish emerging artists
During that year he was listed by various specialized dance lists as one of the ten best dancers of the 20th century. Later that year he begun to create his work “Gitano” which premiered on March 2014 at the Tivoli Theatre (Barcelona). With that show he toured over Spain until September 2014. Soon after he was requested to participate as a jury in the first “talent show” created by Raffaella Carra for RAI 1 (Italian television) called “Forte, Forte, Forte.” Sharing the stage with Raffaella Carra, actress Asia Argento and fashion designer Philipp Plein. At the same time, he is requested to work in another “talent show” on Portuguese television (SIC) whose objective is to find the best dancer in the country: “Achas Que sabes Dançar”
During late 2014 and early 2015 Joaquín Cortés is traveling from Rome to Lisbon until April 2015, which is when starts a new tour of “Gitano” throughout Eastern Europe visiting places like Bucharest (Romania), Moscow, St. Petersburg (Russia) or Almtaty (Kazakhstan) among others.
Joaquín Cortés has changed the history of flamenco and Spanish dance, bringing his art worldwide, mixing his heritage with his own and distinctive style . He is a virtuoso dancer and is no wonder why he is known today as “Gitano Universal” (Universal Gypsy).
It has crossed the borders, even getting the UNESCO recognition which in 2009 granted his artistic legacy as “Universal Heritage” (even before that recognition went to the flamenco itself).
He continues in his struggle to bring culture through music and dance to every corner of the world.