About Maria Tortuga
September 14, 1949 - November 03, 2014
|Place of Birth||:||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|Also Known As||:||Mana La Fantuna, Brenda Hale, Maria Tartuga, Marie Tortuga, Robin Comings, Maria Sharp, Maria Torres, Tara, Maria Maines|
|Imdb Profile||:||IMDB Profile|
Maria Tortuga was born on September 14, 1949 in Seattle, Washington. Her mother was a member of the first Mexican folk dance company in the United States. Maria grew up in a family with three other siblings. Following graduation from high school Tortuga moved to California to pursue her interest in conceptual art. Maria studied with feminist artist Judy Chicago at the nonprofit arts and education center the Woman's Building in Los Angeles. In addition, Tortuga also studied both Spanish and flamenco dancing with renowned performer Roberto Amaral in the late 1970's as well as served as the flamenco soloist in the Layalina Folkloric Ensemble. After graduating with an MFA, Maria went on to work for many years as the principal designer at local carpet mills. Tortuga decided to supplement her income and express herself sexually by doing hardcore loops and modeling for assorted men's magazines (she often posed for photos with a bondage motif). Maria began appearing in explicit hardcore movies in the late 1970's; among the notable adult cinema directors she worked for are Gerard Damiano, William Margold, Don Christian, David Worth, Ed De Priest, Alan Colberg, and Vinnie Rossi. After retiring from the adult film industry in 1987, Maria decided to follow her key passion for dancing full time by moving to Chicago, Illinois and changing her name to Maria Gitana. Tortuga studied with the Spanish Dance Society and traveled over to Europe to dance for a while at Amor de Dios with Maria Magdalena, who was the Ballet Mistress of the Ballet Nacional de Espana. Maria was awarded a grant to study classical Spanish dance with Spanish Dance Society founding member Dame Marina Keet in 1992. After achieving the status of Maestra de Baile with the Spanish Dance Society, Tortuga returned to Chicago and started the flamenco dance troupe Manteca Colora. Maria moved back to her home state of Washington to be closer to her aging parents in 1998 and started the performing dance troupe Flamenco Gitana in 2004. Moreover, Tortuga taught dance and pilates at several local schools and community centers. Starting in 2010 Maria was the recipient of several Youth Arts Awards from the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture Affairs. Tortuga used the associated grant to establish cultural arts programs in flamenco dance at local youth centers. Maria also did the choreography for a number of local theater productions. Tortuga died from cancer at age 65 on November 3, 2014.