Newsletter 3. 19 . 2014

Hola Flamenco Followers! Welcome to our March edition of the Flamenco ¡Si! Newsletter! Spring is finally here and we at Flamenco Si are proud to greet this new season with exciting upcoming shows, workshops, and events. We are especially thrilled to announce two new initiatives in the city to strengthen and unite our growing flamenco community! Below you will fi nd all the details for the new Café Flamenco, and Peña “La Pepa”. We look forward to seeing you out there, New Orleans ¡Olé!

For those of you just joining us, this newsletter is a monthly publication which will come out on the third Wednesday of every month. Founded and managed for many years by Teresa Torkanowsky and Carrie Hood, editing has now been passed on to Ingrid Adrianza and Daniella Santoro.

For Artists, this newsletter is here for your promotional needs, information and contacts.

For Flamenco enthusiasts, this newsletter is here to inform, inspire, and educate about all things flamenco in New Orleans.


  • Upcoming Company Performances
  • Upcoming Events
  • Upcoming Classes
  • Classes in Session
  • Flamenco Perspectives : An Interview with Melissa Cruz
  • For Sale



March 22 (7:30 pm) & March 23 (2:00 pm), 2014

River Regions Ballet: Peter and the Wolf World Dance Showcase

Saint John Theater

115 West Fourth and River Road

Reserve, LA

April 5 (10:30 pm)

Bach Around the Clock

Trinity Episcopal Church

May 2, 2014

Jazz Fest Kids Tent


May 18, 2014

Civic Theater

Time TBA


Cafe Flamenco: Pura FlamenCura Edition 1

April 4, 2014

Community Juerga at Dance Quarter Firehouse Café

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

In this first edition of Cafe Flamenco we have much to celebrate! The marvelous Melissa Cruz is in town to teach a 3-Day Flamenco Intensive at Dance Quarter starting Saturday, April 5. Let’s give her a NOLA-style


In the spirit of community and honoring all those hard-working local flamencos, aspiring dancers, musicians, artists, aficionados and all the fabulous folk in and around our great city, we invite you to bring your dance shoes, instruments, deck yourself out in your favorite flamenco-inspired creations, or just bring your love for this art form and join us for this springtime juerga! There will be student performances as well as an open invitation for flamenco music and dance works-in-progress. And let’s not forget that April is a special month in Andalucia, the birthplace of flamenco…it’s Feria time! Sevillanas anyone?! Admission is FREE. Dance Quarter’s Firehouse Cafe will be open offering happy hour goodies such as wine, paninis and salads!

If you are a flamenco dancer, musician, or student and would like to present your work, please contact Eliza for details: elizafl ¡Olé, que viva el arte y la FlamenCura!

Grand Opening of Pena “La Pepa”

hosted by Maria Jose Salmeron

7:00 pm – 11:00 pm 3301 State Street Drive

A “Peña” describes the traditional setting where people of

southern Spain gather to celebrate their culture of local “barrios”

and “gitanos.” The art of Flamenco is the medium of dance,

singing, and guitar. The music and dance describe the life

and emotional culture of the people. Peña La Pepa stands as a

cultural association for recreation and sharing to promote an

atmosphere of Flamenco in all its facets.

We will dance, sing, and celebrate! If you would like to play an instrument feel free to bring it with you.

įOle con Ole y Olé!

For further information please call María José at 504-315-0009 or email her at:

“María José Salmerón rehearsing at the Peña with

Flamenco guitarist “El Neilo,” Neil Unterseher,

featuring “La Ingri” Adrianza, and Daniella Santoro.


3-day Flamenco Intensive with Melissa Cruz

DANCE QUARTER (1719 Toledano St) April 5 – 7

Intermediate Flamenco Dance Technique & Choreography

Appropriate for intermediate to advanced level dancers with a minimum of 3 years of training in fl amenco.

Starts or ends with stretching and core-strengthening movement, followed by technique drills and exercises

to improve turns, personal line, rhythm, facility of movement and footwork. Choreography in the style of

Tientos to implement technique.

Flamenco Palmas & Rhythm

Appropriate for all levels of dancers and musicians, this is the perfect opportunity to delve into the art of

fl amenco palmas (hand-clapping), an essential percussive element in this art form. Technique will be explored

to achieve competence in accompaniment while also acquiring rhythmic sense.

Saturday, Apr. 5

12:30 – 2:00pm – Intermediate Level Dance

2:15 – 3:45pm – Flamenco Palms & Rhythm

Pricing: Register by April 2 & save!!

Space is limited, early registration is recommended.

Class Package Special: $150 for all 6 ($25/class) OR $75 for 1 full workshop (either dance or rhythm)

After April 2: $30 drop-in

If you would like to register or have any questions, please contact Eliza at elizafl or

(504) 421-3517

About Melissa Cruz

Melissa Cruz is a Bay Area-based fl amenco professional and has been a fulltime

fl amenco artist and instructor for the past 12 years. She regularly performs

in the local fl amenco cabaret circuit, allowing her to develop renown

improvisation and responsiveness skills. Recently, she served as Adjunct

Dance Faculty at The University of San Francisco, as a guest instructor at

the world dance youth program, Danceversity. Melissa performed as a

soloist in the 2012 San Francisco International Arts Festival and has presented

in seven San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festivals; in 2010 and 2011, as

a featured soloist. She was commissioned to present a solo representing

the genre of fl amenco in the 2013 San Francisco Isadora Duncan Awards

Ceremony and was a featured artist in the 2014 Caminos Flamencos

Festival de Flamenco performing alongside Spanish luminaries, Juañares

and David Paniagua. As described by Rachel Howard of the SF Chronicle:

“Any dancer could make pained faces. But Cruz is clearly possessed by the

duende — the spirit that drives this deeply introspective art.”

For more about Melissa:

Sunday, Apr. 6

1:00 – 2:30pm – Intermediate Level Dance

2:45 – 4:15pm – Flamenco Palmas & Rhythm

Monday, Apr. 7

4:30 – 6:00pm – Intermediate Level Dance

6:00 – 7:30pm – Flamenco Palmas & Rhythm

April Flamenco Mini-Series with Eliza Llewellyn

at Dance Quarter (1719 Toledano St)

Flamenco Basics

Tuesdays, April 15, 22 & 29

6 – 7:15pm

Flamenco Beyond the Basics

Thursdays, April 10, 17 & 24

7:30 – 8:45pm

Sign up by April 7 and save!

Full 3 class series for $48

After April 7, drop in: $18/class

Register at

Questions? E-mail Eliza at elizafl



5956 Magazine Street

Beginners and Advanced Beginners with Micaela Paule

Thursdays (on going)


Drop-in: $15 / $55 per month

Intermediate and Advanced Intermediate with Micaela Paule

Tuesdays (on going)


Drop-in: $15 / $55 per month

Dance and Choreography with live Guitarist

Children’s Class with Micaela Paule

Thursdays 6:00-7:00


1719 Toledano St.

New 10-Week FLAMENCO Series for beginner through intermediate levels

January 11th – March 29th

Drop-In: $18 , Flamenco Saturdays (last day March 29)

Flamenco Basics (Level 1) & Flamenco beyond the Basics (Level 2) with Eliza Llewellyn

Saturdays 2:45 – 4:00pm (75 min.)

An introduction to the beautiful, passionate, and profound gitano-Andalusian art form known as Flamenco.

Perfect for all level of beginners, even those trying it for the fi rst time, the session will examine fl amenco

posture, arm, hand and body technique, stylization, footwork technique, fl amenco rhythms, and the basic

structure of fl amenco dance. Students will learn short segments or variations in each class. Flamenco or

character dance shoes are best for class, but other sturdy footwear will work (i.e. low, thick-heeled shoes or

boots) and comfy clothing to allow movement like stretch pants and a form fi tting top.

Flamenco beyond the Basics – Saturdays 1:30 – 2:45pm (75 min.) with Eliza Llewellyn

Ideal for the advanced beginner or intermediate level student, this technique and choreography driven class

builds on core aspects such as zapateado (footwork), palmas (hand clapping) and braceo (arm movements),

turns and marcajes (marking steps), as well as how to create an elegant balance of motion and energy to

exude the type of passion that drives this art. Students will explore a variety of rhythms this session and

will learn short segments or variations in each class. This class moves at a faster pace than the Level 1.

Students should have completed a minimum of 3 BASIC sessions or at least one year of study unless

approved by the instructor.

Private, semi-private and small group classes are available. Please contact Eliza at elizafl amenkita@gmail.

com or (504) 421-3517.


Red fl amenco skirt , with black trimmed single ruffl e made in Spain (D’Pertiñez), size Medium. Excellent

condition. Can be used for practice or performance. For more information, contact Eliza at

elizafl or (504) 421-3517.

FLAMENCO PERSPECTIVES:An Interview with Melissa Cruz

By Eliza Llewellyn

Melissa Cruz, a Bay-Area based Flamenco dancer, choreographer & instructor, will be in New Orleans teaching

a 3-Day Flamenco Intensive at Dance Quarter studio April 5 – 7. Here she spends a few minutes telling us

about herself and her fl amenco journey. Aspiring dancers and students, take notes!

1) Where are you from?

I was born in Quezon City, Philippines. Our family moved to Brooklyn, New York shortly after I was born and

after 4 years we moved to New Orleans, where I spent all my formative years.

2) How did Flamenco come into your life?

I was exposed to fl amenco initially in high school studying AP Spanish, but it didn’t speak to me with urgency

until my senior year in college at UC Berkeley. There I was pursuing a minor degree in Spanish Language and

Literature. In a Spanish Culture class, our professor had us watch Carlos Saura’s fi lm, “Carmen” which featured

fl amenco very prominently. The music and dance affected me in such a way that I was compelled to get

myself into fl amenco dance classes right away. I’ve been doing it ever since.

3) What compelled you to dedicate yourself to the art form?

After graduating from UC Berkeley, I planned to attend law school, which I did, at the University of San

Francisco. I never stopped studying fl amenco though and, in fact, my love for it grew to epic proportions.

After completing my law degree, I needed to choose between a conservative career path as an attorney and

a potential career dancing fl amenco. As fate would have it, I didn’t pass the California Bar but by that time,

I was working with a professional dance company in San Francisco and performing a lot. After a few years of

working a day job as a Private Investigator while performing and rehearsing fl amenco, I decided I had to

dedicate myself 100 percent to fl amenco in order to realize my potential as a dancer and artist. So I left my

home in Oakland, packed my belongings and moved to Spain.

4) Who inspires you?

All types of artists inspire me – from rock musicians to painters and all in between. I fi nd fl amenco in

everything. I get endless inspiration from my colleagues and I feel I work with some of the best fl amenco

artists in the world. My students inspire me. They make me realize how substantial the power and draw of

fl amenco is as they continue to come back to classes again and again to learn the most they can.

5) Which people or artists have been instrumental in your development as an artist?

Rosa Montoya was my fi rst teacher and mentor and continues to be the biggest infl uence in my life as an

artist. She trained people to become not just dancers, but artists. She ingrained in me the importance of

behaving with a sense of humility, integrity and respect in every situation, onstage and off.

Some of my subsequent teachers have made a unique and signifi cant impact on me. Andres Marin gave me

an undying appreciation for fl amenco cante and music. Manuela Rios introduced me to a different intention

in fl amenco movement. Alegria Suarez gave me a wealth of knowledge regarding how to use personal line.

Lastly, working for the past 11 years with Caminos Flamencos, directed by Jason McGuire and Yaelisa, has

given me opportunities to work always with the best dancers and musicians. I’ve learned so much

working with these artists, who are lightyears ahead of me in their development. I wouldn’t be where I am

today with out all of these incredible people and opportunities.

6) I know you are a dedicated and gifted teacher. What are some of the most important lessons you want to

convey to your students?

Realize, before you undertake the gargantuan task of studying fl amenco, what your intention is with the

subject matter. In other words, you should have very clearly defi ned why you are studying it and what you

want to do with it. In this way, you’ll be able to focus on exactly what you need to be able to realize those

Be at peace with the process. It will take a very, very long time to merely become competent. Going

through the process means, in part, that you discover how the art form will speak through you. It’s never

going to be about you. You’re just the medium. Rushing into performing often belies an egotism that’s

inappropriate for a true disciplined study of something. You have to give fl amenco time to fi nd a way to

manifest itself in you.

7) Do you have advice for students passionate about fl amenco who live in areas with little direct access to

the art form? What are some of the things they can do to continue learning and connecting with Flamenco?

Go online – there are so many resources. YouTube, CanalSur Radio,, the list is endless.

You can even take online classes in guitar and dance and I know several fl amenco singers who conduct

classes via Skype. There is no excuse for ignorance with everything that’s online.

8) Do you have a daily routine you adhere to? [i.e. practice time, meditation, yoga, etc.]

Apart from my class schedule, I don’t have a daily routine. I prefer to improv my way through each day. If I

feel like rehearsing, I will, but if I don’t, I don’t feel guilty about not doing it.

9) What informs or nurtures your creative process?

I love working in situations that challenge me, that me push me out of my comfort zone. It makes me look

at my dancing from a different perspective and gives me lots of ideas. Also, I love to people-watch. I get

countless ideas from watching people just walk on the street. Everyone has a different weight change, gait,

10) In addition to being one of most well-known dancers in the West Coast- an area known as a hotbed of

fl amenco in the US- you also play music. Tell us a little about your collaborations with groups in California.

How did they come about? Have they infl uenced your dancing?

Most of what I contribute musically if I work with a band is with palmas and footwork. I studied music when

I was younger and can play a little piano, guitar and drums, but if there are already good musicians

dedicated to those instruments in the band, there’s no reason for me to play. However, studying music has

helped me tremendously in understanding a musician’s phrasing, feel, dynamic, communication, and fl ow.

Right now, I work primarily with three bands. I started working with LaRuya about three years ago. The

music is described Near Eastern fl amenco and the instrumentation for that band is fl amenco guitar, oud,

middle eastern percussion, fl ute and violin. I play palmas and dance in a pretty traditional fl amenco style

in that project. Another group I dance with is called Alta California and the style of music is Afro-Latin

Flamenco. In that group, I am one of three dancers and each of us specializes in a particular dance style.

Lastly, in recent months, I’ve been working with a popular Bay Area band called LoCura and their style is

very varied – cumbia, rumba fl amenca, ska, reggae, rock…In that band, in addition to dancing and palmas,

I do some background vocals and play a percussion instrument called a guiro. Working with Alta and

LaRuya resulted from having professional connections with some of the musicians. The fi rst time I worked

with LoCura, I think they called me sort of randomly because they needed someone to step in for their

regular fl amenco dancer.

Working with bands is comfortable for me but is also one of those challenging situations that takes me out

of my comfort zone because it brings me in front of a different audience and usually in a different kind of

venue. But I’ve been wanting for years to take fl amenco dance out of the Spanish restaurant/cabaret scene

it usually has to live in, so I love it.

It’s infl uenced my dancing in many ways – I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t to hold the attention

of a particularly rowdy audience, for example. Working with a band also has made my dancing more

effi cient and streamlined because I usually have to develop and resolve something within a certain

number of bars.

11) Any more exciting creative projects on the horizon you’d like to tell us about?

I’ll do a short tour with LoCura in May and present a showcase featuring my students sometime in July

or August. Right now, I’m doing research on the origins and culture of New Orleans Voodoo in order to

develop a theatrical show proposing a relationship between Voodoo and fl amenco traditions. It should be


We are proud and thrilled to be co-editors and share our passion for fl amenco and for this city. Please note

some recent changes to our blog with two the addition of two new pages Articles and More and Flamenco

Artist Bios. “Articles and more” features a collection of past archived publications authored by local fl amenco

artists either reviewing past events, explaining dance theory and technique, or personally refl ecting on the

power and essence of the art form. We have had several different contributors in the past few months and

encourage anyone who would like to write a short piece, to please let us know.

We will see you next month!

Until then,

Con duende siempre…

your Flamenco ¡Si! co-editors,

Ingrid Adrianza and Daniella Santoro


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