Mission & History
To cultivate and advance both artistic curiosity and the importance of the arts in lives of students, arts educators, artists and audiences alike, enhancing the quality of life and health for individuals and society.
Fundamental aims are artistic excellence and creativity through the development of new works, and the education and development of its students, both physically and mentally, in the professional techniques of dance and music. DANMAR realizes these core functions - of Education and Production - by way of educational, artistic, social & cultural programs that engage creativity and encourage understanding among people of different cultures and backgrounds.
DANMAR was first open back in 1999 in Weston Florida and moved to Houston in 2001. In order to integrate the community in our mission, we created DAPA in November 2006 which was approved in August 2007 by the IRS as a Charitable organization 501 (C)(3), mainly to promote, preserve and forge new and greater appreciation of world cultures, through different programs in the area of Houston, Texas and its surroundings.
DANMAR has produced many original new works such as Venezuela Mia, Venezuela Nuestra, Nostalgia Venezolana, America Latina, Carmen, Danza Sinfonica Hispanoamericana, Flamenco Intimacy & Masterpiece, Through my Eyes to name a few, which have been presented not only in Houston but also in New York, Miami, Baton Rouge and internationally. DANMAR has also presented almost 30 student recitals with the participation of more than 100 people on stage.
The cast has been integrated by national and international artists, some of them have won the Latin Grammy, as well as local artists, all led by the magnificent producer, choreographer and dancer Maria Fernanda Urbaez.
On July 30th 2018, DANMAR was selected as the official EFA (Escuela de Flamenco de Andalucia, Spain) training center in the city of Houston, with the legal capacity to provide professional certification in Flamenco dance formation.
For the past 19 years DANMAR has become a well recognized multicultural dance organization that shines at entertaining the community as well as inspiring its students through the art of dance and music.
DANMAR has relied on its directors, individual and company contributors as well as many volunteers.
PRESIDENT of DANMAR & Artistic Director of DAPA
Maria Fernanda Urbaez – an esteemed Venezuelan-born artist, initiated her dance studies at an early age. Showing significant and natural talent in dance, as well as musical skills, she directed her training in Flamenco, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Belly Dance, Hip-Hop, Modern, Folklore and Latin Dances. She has studied with master dancers and musicians from Venezuela, the United States and Spain. Maria Fernanda holds Magna Cum Laude bachelor degrees in Theater and Dance as well as Modern Languages (Spanish) from the University of Houston, and Flamenco post graduate studies in Spain. Currently she has been certified by the EFA (Escuela de Flamenco de Andalucia, Spain) with the legal capacity to professionally train students in the Flamenco dance art in Houston an its surroundings.
She has been recognized national and internationally for her extreme dedication and patience in teaching, her elegant artistry as a choreographer and dancer and her immense talent and creativity as a producer.
She has been the recipient of relevant awards like 2008 award winner of the FESNOJIV Gold Medal prize as ambassador of the Venezuelan culture abroad; In February 2010 Maria was selected 1st Runner up, Fusion Category, in the Belly Dancer of the Universe contest in Los Angeles, CA and in March 2010 she received the “Hispanic Woman of the Year in the Arts” award. In August 2010, along with her dance company, she won first place in all events of the 6th Annual Middle Eastern Dance Troupe Choreography Competition in Austin, TX. Maria Fernanda received her Texas Teaching Certification in 2010. On August 6th, Maria Fernanda presented 2 pieces in the “7th Annual Middle Eastern Dance Troupe Choreography Competition” in Austin, TX and won 3rd place Overall (Large Category) and 1st place Overall (Medium Category); winner of the 2012 Lone Star Emmy Award with the story “Si tu quieres tu puedes” produced by Angelica Bianco; 2014 Commends and Appreciation by the City of Houston; June 16, 2018 proclamation by the Mayor of the city of Houston as Maria Fernanda Urbaez Day.
As Artistic Director, Producer and Dancer, Maria Fernanda has been involved in numerous and diverse new works over the last 19 years, like "Venezuela Mia", "Venezuela Nuestra", "Nostalgia Venezolana", Ämerica Latina", “Danza Sinfonica Hispanoamericana”, "Flamenco Intimacy", "Flamenco Masterpiece", "Carmen", "Through my Eyes", 18 Cultural Encounters honoring a different country each year, 9 Christmas Festivals, earning a great deal of recognition and demand for her sophisticated and beautiful choreography. The creation and presentation of these productions reflect her heart: using the arts to address social issues and to give a voice to those who otherwise would be unheard.
Currently Maria is the Artistic Director of DANMAR Academy of Performing Arts, president of DANMAR Art & Dance Studio and co-founder of the 1st Live Tablao Flamenco in Katy, TX: "La Canastera". She is teaching at Danmar´s as well as preparing and training Danmar Dance Team, Danmar Dance Company and EFA Flamenco students.
Daniela Urbaez-Olivares was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in Venezuela. She began her dance instruction in ballet, tap, jazz and flamenco at the age of 5 with Anita LeBleiss, Carmen Vercelli, and Omayra Oliveros in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. In 1998, she moved with her family to southern Florida, where she continued her dance training at the University Center for the Performing Arts. She also began dancing, teaching, and competing in Salsa Casino Rueda and Salsa Free Style. Later, she moved with her family to Katy, Texas, where her family started DANMAR Art and Dance Studio. As one of the lead instructors at DANMAR, Daniela taught Flamenco, Middle-Eastern dance, Salsa and Ballet.
Daniela participated in festivals, concerts, and other dance events, placing first along with her dance partner, Wilmer Melendez in several free-style salsa competitions in Texas and Florida. To continue her dance education, Daniela participated in the XVI International Flamenco Festival 2002 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, taking classes with international dancers Omayra Amaya, Joaquin Encinias, Mercedes Amaya, and El Farruquito. In addition, she completed classes in Sevilla, Spain, with renowned dancers Lourdes Recio and Felipe Mato in 2004. She participated in belly-dance workshops with well-known dancers Samara, Leyla Gamal, and Bozenka.
Moreover, Daniela choreographed dance routines for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Cultural Encounters. She was also a co-founder of the Siburene Salsa Company and was one of the main dancers, choreographer, and percussionist of DANMAR Ensemble and DANMAR Venezuela. In December of 2005 she was invited to participate in the Houston Community College international festival Joy to the World. Daniela was a guest artist in the “Colombia Unica” production in November of 2006, sharing honors with Ballet Folklorico Colombiano, Ballet de Cali, and Ballet de Bogota. She was majoring in Dance with a minor in Spanish at the University of Houston.
Our beloved Daniela passed away along with her husband, Pedro Cesar Olivares, on January 1, 2007. Daniela and Pedro will be missed forever………………
DAPA Current Board
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Fernando Urbaez, Chair
Maria Romero - Urbaez, Executive Director
Maria Fernanda Urbaez, Artistic Director
Raul Edwards, Marketing & Public Relations
Marisabel Grunewaldt, Social Program
Alejandro Tapia, Director
Dorothy Caram, Chair
Maria Fernanda Urbaez, President of DANMAR and Artistic Director of DAPA
Alejandro Tapia, Vice-president of DANMAR and Director of DAPA
Maria A. Romero-Urbaez, Secretary of DANMAR and Executive Director of DAPA
Laura Quinteros, Front Desk Manager and Administration assistant of DANMAR