Étoile, Opéra national de Paris
Former Director, National Dance Company of Spain
Freelance teacher and choreographer
Prize Winner, Prix de Lausanne 1987
Jury, Prix de Lausanne 2012 and 2022
Born in 1969 in Cartagena, Spain, José Carlos Martinez began dancing in his native city and then entered the Rosella Hightower Centre in Cannes in the class of José Ferran, one of the “founders” of the school. In 1987, he won a scholarship at the Prix de Lausanne which opened him the doors to the École de Danse de l’Opéra national de Paris.
In 1997, he was named Étoile after his performance of La Sylphide. He interpreted both luminous princes and darker monarchs, such as Jean-Claude Gallotta’s Nosferatu or Yuri Grigorovich’s Ivan the Terrible. Noticed by guest choreographers – especially those of contemporary expression – he also created at the Opera Pas./parts by William Forsythe (1999), Appartement by Mats Ek (2000). Pina Bausch chose him to be Orpheus in her dance opera Orpheus and Eurydice (2008).
He also has in his repertoire : Giselle, La Sylphide and Paquita (versions by Pierre Lacotte), Les Sylphides (Fokine), Till Eulenspiegel (after Nijinsky), Symphonie fantastique, Parade and Le Tricorne (Massine), Nureyev’s productions (Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Raymonda, Don Quixote, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, La Bayadère), Suite en Blanc (Lifar), Études (Lander), Grand pas classique (Gsovsky), Soir de fête (Léo Staats), works by Balanchine (Le Palais de cristal, Sylvia pas de deux, Thème et Variations, les Quatre Tempéraments, Agon, Joyaux/Diamants, Tchaikovski-pas de deux), Béjart (XI Symphonie, Webern op. V, Le Concours, Bolero), those of Neumeier (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Waslav, Magnificat, Sylvia, La Dame aux Camélias), The Messenger in Song of the Earth and Lescaut in the Story of Manon (MacMillan), Frollo in Notre Dame de Paris, Don José in Carmen and Pasacaille (Roland Petit), Rhapsody (Ashton), Temptations of the Moon (Martha Graham), Auréole (Paul Tailor), In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Pas. /parts and Woundwork 1 (Forsythe), Stepping Stones (Kylian), Giselle, A Sort of… and Appartement (Mats Ek), Les Variations d’Ulysses (Gallotta), Le Rire de la Lyre (Montalvo-Hervieu), Coppélius de Coppélia (Patrice Bart), Shéhérazade (Blanca Li), Oneguine (Cranko).
As a choreographer, he created his first work in 2002, Mi Favorita, and presented a new adaptation of it at the Palais Garnier for the Jeunes Danseurs shows in 2003. He then created a Pas de deux, Delibes Suite, Scaramouche, a solo for Laëtitia Pujol, Parenthèse 1, Soli-ter, Favoritita, El Olor de la Ausencia, and Les Enfants du Paradis based on the French film masterpiece by Marcel Carné and Jacques Prévert for the Ballet de l’Opéra national de Paris.
In 2009 he received the “Prix Benois de la Danse” for this choreography. The same year he continued his collaboration with the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (CNSMDP) by creating Ouverture en deux mouvements (2009). In 2010, he created Marco Polo, the last mission for the Shanghai National Ballet.
For his career as a dancer, José Carlos Martinez has received the Danza & Danza Prize (1998), the Leonide Massine Prize for his interpretation of Massine’s Tricorne, the National Grand Prix for Dance (Spain, 1999), the France/China Prize (2004) and the Performing Arts Prize (Spain, 2005). He is also Commandeur des Arts et Lettres.
Jose Carlos Martinez is the former artistic director of the National Dance Company of Spain (2011-2019).
Since 2019 he is a freelance teacher and choreographer.
His latest projects have taken him to Croatia, where he will create his version of Giselle with the Zagreb Opera Ballet.