Jose Carlos Martínez (born 1969 in Cartagena) is a Spanish dancer and choreographer, Danseur Étoile of the Paris Opera Ballet, and since December 2010, artistic director of the Spanish National Dance Company.
He is the only dancer to have received the Prix Benois de la Danse, the Gold medal of the Varna International Ballet Competition, and the Prix de Lausanne, among the most prestigious dance competitions in the world. The Japanese Shinshokan Dance Magazine thus recognized him has one of the best dancers of the era in the world.
Martínez studied dance with Pilar Molina in Cartagena, followed by the École supérieure de danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower. In 1987 he received the Prix de Lausanne and entered the Paris Opera Ballet School, joining the Paris Opera Ballet in 1988, where he was named Danseur Étoile in 1997. In 1992, he was awarded the Gold medal of the Varna International Ballet Competition and in 1999, the Premio Nacional de Danza.
He danced the major classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, La Bayadère, The Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda, Paquita, The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, Romeo and Juliet, as well as neoclassical ballets by Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Kenneth MacMillan, Yury Grigorovich, Antony Tudor, Serge Lifar, Harald Lander, John Cranko, among others. Martínez also danced contemporary pieces by Maurice Béjart, John Neumeier, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Ji?í Kylián, Martha Graham, Roland Petit, and Pina Bausch.
He performed as guest artist at the most celebrated dance companies in the world, including the Bolshoi Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, English National Ballet, La Scala Theatre Ballet, Tokyo Ballet, Ballet de Bordeaux, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, the Berlin Staatsoper, and l'Opéra de Nice.
In 2008, initiating a series of shows under the artistic project José Martínez in Compañía, Martínez's project showcased in Spain numerous Spanish soloists who had carried out their careers abroad. The shows included renowned dancers Lucía Lacarra, Tamara Rojo, Alicia Amatrian, Iván Gil-Ortega as well as provided an opportunity to lesser-known young Spanish dancers to dance in their home country again.
In 2002, Martinez began choreographing, completing eight ballets since and receiving the Prix Benois de la Danse as choreographer for Les Enfants du Paradis in 2009. His latest, from 2010, entitled Marco Polo, the last Mission was commissioned by the Ballet of Shanghai during the Shanghai World's Fair.
In December 2010, Martinez was named artistic director of the Spanish National Dance Company.