Frankie Martinez, Abakua Afro-Latin Dance Company, New York
Frankie Martinez is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and renowned Latin contemporary dancers of his generation.
Born and raised in NY, Frankie dedicated himself to the study of Shotokan Karate, becoming a 4th degree black belt and winning many competition awards before joining the U.S. Navy in 1996. While on military leave, Frankie visited a Florida salsa club, and the modern age of Latin dance was born. Returning to New York, Frankie joined “The Dance Club” at Metropolitan Avenue, a ballroom dance school, where he was quickly hired as a dance instructor and soon after managed the Salsa/Mambo Department. With less than one year of dance experience, Frankie was invited to join the Eddie Torres’ Dancers. Later that same year Frankie performed “Concierto del Amor” at Madison Square Garden. Over the next three years Frankie went on to perform for such luminaries as Tito Puente, Jose Alberto, Fania All Stars and many others, from the Los Angeles Palladium to New York’s Roseland and countless venues in between.
In 2000, Frankie established his own dance troupe, the ABAKUÁ Afro-Latin Dance Company (ABAKUÁ). Within months of its inception, ABAKUÁ gained notoriety within the Latin dance community and then ultimately to the performing arts community at large. Ever since, devotees have crossed the globe for the opportunity to see Frankie perform and, for a rare few, take private instruction; the dance company Encuentro Latino, received a grant from the Arts Council Of England “to train with the most sought after Mambo/Salsa Instructor/ Performer in the world, Mr. Frankie Martinez.”
Frankie’s exploration into the Afro-Caribbean roots of his performance art and the choreographic possibilities native to Latin/Afro-Latin dance positions him as one of the foremost authorities in the genre. He is the leader of the Afro-Latin Funk Movement, a concept which answers the question, "What would Latin dance be if a disciplined training method were applied?"
To date, Frankie Martinez and ABAKUÁ have performed and taught in over 50 cities and over 20 countries worldwide. They have performed at prestigious venues including Madison Square Garden, Roseland Ballroom, Lincoln Center, Aaron Davis Hall, Jacob’s Pillow and NY Summerstage among many others.