Juan Manuel Fernandez Montoya was born in Seville in 1982, son of flamenco singer El Moreno and dancer La Farruca. He is also the grandson of one of the greatest dancers in the history of flamenco, El Farruco, which gives him a flamenco background that is second to none.
His first stage appearance was at the age of five when he performed along side his grandfather in the show Flamenco Puro, which premiered on Broadway, but it was his role in the Carlos Sauras film Flamenco that was to be his springboard into the world of flamenco fame. In this film he danced head to head with his grandfather, accompanied by the voice of El Chocolate, another member of his large clan.
A few years later he was to play the lead role in Bodas de Gloria, a show that was master minded by his grandfather. This production was based on Bodas de Sangre a work by Federico Garcia Lorca, but instead of the legendary knife fight that seems to be synonymous with a gypsy wedding, Farruco changed the end for a happy one. From here Farruquito’s career was on a roll and he started to perform in numerous shows and festivals where he performed on some of the biggest stages in Spain.
His show Raices Flamencas (Flamenco roots) debuted in the Royal Albert hall in London before going on to tour most of Europe and as far away as Japan. Today he performs world wide in his flamenco troupe, Los Farrucos, which includes many family members including his mother and his brother Farruco Nieto.
In the year 2001 he was elected as “Best artiste to have set foot in the Big Apple” by the New York Times, and in 2003 he returned to America to perform with Juana Amaya in the show Por Derecho. His awards include the Premio Publico and the Premio Telón Chivas, as well as the Premio del Asociacíon Profesional de la Danza y el Espectaculo. He was also voted one of the most beautiful people in the world by the American Peoplemagazine.
However, Farruquito’s life has also been tainted with tragedy and just like his grandfather, this heartache seems to shine through in his dance.
A young Farruquito, or El Mani, as he was then known, was guided by his grandfather who had lost his own son in a car accident some years before. El Farruco had decided to pass his knowledge onto his grandson so as to keep the Montoya tradition going after his demise. Farruquito was, therefore, to become the main figurehead in the dance academy, which promotes his grandfather’s school of dance, a style that he has had the responsibility of preserving since Farrucos death in 1997.
Farruquito was only nineteen when tragedy struck again and he had to cope with the unexpected death of his own father, El Moreno who died of a heart attack while in America. Two years later the dancer was involved in a hit and run accident while in Seville, for which he served time in prison.
Farruquito is one of today’s leading figures in the world of flamenco dance and he still possesses the grace and tradition of his grandfather, although his style is more polished and choreographed. His face is known worldwide and at the age of just twenty-five he has already achieved a status that many dancers can only dream of.
Farruquito has a style that his grandfather scorned when he was of the same age; the glamour and theatrical side of flamenco dance was something he had no time for. But it was El Farruco himself who guided and watched over Farruquito’s career and he made certain that this young dancer would retain all of the gypsy grace and essence in his flamenco dance.