El Martinete & Antonio

Once owned by Antonio Ruiz Soler, “El Bailarin”, the famous flamenco dancer and movie star, El Martinete Villa was renowned for its glamour and celebrity. Today, when you enter El Martinete, you step back into that bygone age of elegance, sophistication and style. Antonio would welcome you.

Antonio Ruiz Soler

  • Born in Seville, 4th November 1921.
  • Dancer, Choreographer, Artistic Director of the Spanish National Ballet 1980-1983, 1989.
  • Died in Madrid, 5th February 1996.
  • Flamenco was declared a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.


The passionate and percussive music and dance of Spain. Quick tempo, drumming steps and intricate dramatic body movements. It’s origin and style are uniquely Andalusian based on the traditional Gypsy folk music of this region.

One of the oldest flamenco forms is the ‘Martinetes’, which means ‘hammer’. These are songs of the blacksmiths, with a rhythm based on the hammer beating an anvil. The Martinete style has great dramatic force.

Antonio first interpreted this musical form the Martinete as a dance in the 1950’s. Antonio was known for his elegance and precision, and for the volume of his stamping feet, a hallmark of the dance.

When Antonio created his Martinete dance he was already so famous he was widely known simply as Antonio or Antonio El Bailarín ‘Antonio the Dancer’. He had started dancing at age six as a prodigy and was soon paired with another paragon, the equally young and gifted Rosario (Florence Pérez Padilla). They performed together as Los Chavalillos Sevillanos ‘The Kids from Seville’. They were very popular and toured the world together for 24 years, including 12 years in North America, where they also performed in movies.

“All arts are capable of duende, but where it finds greatest range, naturally, is in music, dance, and spoken poetry, for these arts require a living body to interpret them, being forms that are born, die, and open their contours against an exact present.”


During his long and illustrious career Antonio innovated, choreographed and promoted Spanish dance and flamenco to a worldwide audience. He was received by kings, queens and presidents, danced with aristocrats and loved celebrities; Ava Gardner, Gina Lollobbrigida and Vivien Leigh were among his favorites. He was acclaimed by artists like Pablo Picasso and had legions of fans worldwide.

A selection of Antonio dance videos

Antonio Ruiz & Rosario, ‘Hollywood Canteen’ 1944

Pepa Flores & Antonio ‘el bailarin’ – Zorongo Gitano & Rumba

Antonio ‘El Bailarín’ ‘Martinete’ (Edgar Neville)

Excerpt from ‘Duende and mystery of flamenco, 1952’ – Antonio ‘el Bailarín’ dances the martinet at the Ronda bridge

The El Martinete Logo

The El Martinete bird logo was inspired by one of the most significant features of the Villa. Pablo Picasso, who created ‘The Dancer’ drawing which is copied in the Villa’s swimming pool. It is his artistic legacy.

Picasso was a bird lover and often featured them in his art. He named his fourth child, a daughter, Paloma, the Spanish word for dove.

Picasso’s first Dove of Peace, was a naturalistic ink wash of a white dove. It was chosen as the emblem for the First International Peace Conference in Paris in 1949. His later dove images were simpler line drawings and became symbols of the peace movement during the Cold War.

These iconic later versions of Picasso’s ‘Dove of Peace’ inspired the El Martinete logo.