Artists – Raíces y Alas: Colores (2012)

RaicesyAlas - 2010 - Andrea Williams

Andrea Williams

flamenco dancer, choreographer, instructor, and producer

Andrea is the innovator, the madness, and the driving force behind the “Raices y Alas” series. Originally debuted in Septh3ber 2010, “Raíces y Alas” (Roots and Wings) was conceived as a full-length show depicting the interaction between traditional flamenco, its varying cultural influ- ences, and its conth3porary evolution. Andrea enjoys how “Raices y Alas – Voces” continues to stretch the limits of flamenco tradition. Andrea has been a mh3ber of Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre since 2004 and has performed in its productions “Espiritu sin Nombre” (2004), “Poh3as de Alegria” (2005), “Café de Chinitas” (2006), & “Café de Chintas Imagines del Oriente” (2007), Feria de la Costa (2007), and Café de Chinitas Vignettes (2010). She has been featured with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver International Dance Festival, the Dance Centre’s Discover Dance series, Flamenco del Mar Festival, North Shore Folk Festival, Latin Festival and the West Coast Harp Society Tribute Concert to Jurgen Gothe. Andrea’s credits also extend to numerous performances in Vancouver & the Lower Mainland, 100 Mile House, Squamish & St. John’s, Newfoundland. She performs regularly in the Lower Mainland at the Kino Café and within the community.

Thanks to the generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts Professional Development Program, Andrea spent three exciting months in Jerez de la Frontera and Seville, Spain in 2010. She had the wonderful opportunity to enhance her traditional Sevillan bata de cola, mantón, and castañuelas technique and choreography at Escuela Matilde Coral. She also immersed herself in the exploration of a more conth3porary styling with the innovative bailaora, Ángeles Gabaldón. Andrea has trained extensively in Vancouver with Oscar Nieto and Kasandra La China at Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Acadh3y. She has also studied with renowned flamenco artists such as Rosario Ancer, Rafaela Carrasco, Isabel Bayón, Ángeles Gabaldón, Maria “Cha-Cha” Bermudez, AndresMarin and Sara de Luis.

Raices y Alas 2012 - Cyrena Huang

Cyrena Huang

flamenco dancer and cellist

Cyrena Huang began cello in 1978 at the Guelph Suzuki School. She com- pleted her Master’s Degree in Cello Performance in 1999 (at UBC where she worked for two years as teaching assistant and chamber music coach for Collegium Musicum. She has performed in masterclasses with Steven Isserlis, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Irene Sharpe and Janos Starker.)

She has played baroque cello with the Modern Baroque Opera Company, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and tenor and bass viola da gamba in Kawasha’s Crew. Her interest in jazz led her to study with the Turtle Island String Quartet at the Stanford Jazz Festival in 1994 and she performed with Cana- dian jazz icon Karin Plato in 2005. As a modern cellist she has performed with the Richmond, Fraser Valley, Prince George, Okanagan, Vancouver Opera and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, The Elektra Women’s Choir, The Vancouver Cantata Singers and recorded with the rock band 54-40 for their album Since When and with the band Nickelback on the track Hero for the Spiderman movie soundtrack.

Ms. Huang currently performs with the Twelfth Night Trio, a flute, violin and cello trio which she founded in 1992. She has been on faculty as cello instructor at the Vancouver Acadh3y of Music since 1999, and at the Vancouver Waldorf School from 2006-2008. She was coordinator, chamber coach and orchestral conductor for the Pinnacle Strings program at Capilano University in 2010. She has been coaching chamber music and cello at the Valhalla Suzuki Institute in New Denver since 2005 and the West Coast Amateur Music Society Summer Camp at Trinity Western University since 2006.

A flamenco dancer and teacher, she teaches two children’s classes at Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Acadh3y and has performed at the Kino Cafe. She has recently been exploring flamenco cello, performing in the White Rock Flamenco Festival, Vancouver Jondo Festival, theVancouver International Dance Festival, and in several productions with the Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre. In her spare time she likes to sing flamenco in the shower and while driving, and occasionally at parties when when plied with enough sangria.

Don Thorsness

Don Thorsness

Lighting Designer

Don Thorsness has been distributing electromagnetic waves across nouns for over half his life. From Concert Touring to Musical Theatre, Gala Special Events to the Shambala Music Festival, large Corporate Functions to small intimate weddings, from being Lighting Director at Main Stage for 75,000 Bikers in Sturgis South Dakota to local Coordinator for Production Resource Group – the Lighting Supplier for the Opening and Closing Cerh3onies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Don has lit the entire spectrum of events.

He currently works in Vancouver for I.A.T.S.E. (International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage h3ployees) as Head Electrician at it’s Civic Theatres and with local Production Companies as a Lighting Director although he can be persuaded to go out on the road again, as recently occurred with 54.40 on their 30th Anniversary tour.

Don is excited to work with Raices y Alas on it’s new production, COLORES, as he knows the power and effect colours have on the human soul. He’s looking forward to working with the performers to enhance their interpretation of what colour means to thh3 with their dance and music. Don hopes everyone enjoys the show and lets colour into their lives.

Raices y Alas 2012 - ElviraYebes

Elvira Yebes

web/graphic designer and photographer

Raices y Alas 2012 - Farnaz Ohadi

Farnaz Ohadi


Farnaz has extensive background in music making and singing. From the age of five, Farnaz has been singing and playing woodwind, string and percussion instruments. She has also studied Persian classical/traditional and folk singing under the masterful guidance of Ostad Nezakaty. She began singing flamenco in 2005 under the supportive guidance of Oscar Nieto and has since performed in various festivals, venues, cultural events and concerts in BC. Says Ohadi, “The world needs more cross-cultural art makers – the more one shares and receives from her heart , the more the world will heal towards a legacy that is the harmonious multi-cultural utopia I envision for my children and fellow human beings.”

Raices y Alas 2012 - Gareth Owen

Gareth Owen

flamenco guitarist

Gareth Owen blends traditional Flamenco guitar with his own original style. A talented young guitarist, from Canada’s West Coast, he is one of the privileged few North Americans born into the world of Flamenco. As the son of Flamenco guitarist, the late Harry Owen and dancer Veronica Maguire, Gareth plays with the instinct and raw intensity that comes from truly having the music in his blood. From an early age he has been immersed in the rhythms of Flamenco, performing profession- ally alongside his family and the Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company. In 2001, at the age of 12, Gareth participated in the CD recording of Alma de España’s “Flamenco Live” at Victoria’s McPherson Playhouse Theatre. In 2008, Gareth recorded his first solo album, “Gareth Owen Flamenco Guitar” live at the Alix Goolden Performance Hall in Victoria, B.C. Gareth’s most recent CD recording, “El Cobre”, with Flamenco singer Antonio de Jerez, has just been released (2010).

Raices y Alas - 2012 - Jafelin Heltin

Jafelin Helten

flamenco singer

Jafelin was born in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, a country where Spanish influence is ever-present. Since her childhood, it was evident that singing and dancing were not only a passion, but a gift as well. In her teens, Jafelin studied and performed conth3porary dance, and she later took voice lessons with renowned Venezuelan tenor Carlos Almenar Otero.

Oddly enough, Jafelin’s lifelong interest in Flamenco only bloomed upon her coming to Canada in 1996, where she took Flamenco dance lessons at the Spanish Cultural Center in New Westminster with Professor Monzón, and later with Rosario Ancer at Centro Flamenco and Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Acadh3y under the guidance of Oscar Nieto and Kasandra. Jafelin also had the good fortune to workshop with various Spanish Flamenco singers, such as, Momi de Cadiz, Jesus Flores de Moron, David Hornillo, Cristo Cortez, and Manuel Ta both in Seville, Spain and Vancouver. Jafelin has traveled and performed at many local venues in Orlando, Florida, the Caribbean, Caracas, Venezuela and at numerous venues in British Colum- bia, Canada.

It wasn’t long before Jafelin became a regular in Flamenco circles around the Greater Vancouver area, performing both as bailaora (dancer) and cantaora (singer). Jafelin’s particular talent as cantaora didn’t go unnoticed, and she was invited to contribute to Juan de Maria’s CD Mimbre, where she performs the song Los Tientos de La Niña with her tradh3ark intense, deep-felt passion. She has since created her first solo CD, Tantos Caminos, in collaboration with guitarist, Gerardo Alcala (Gary Hayes), in which they offer renditions of popular traditional Flamenco forms. Yet, Jafelin is never satisfied with her art and is always striving for more. Jafelin is currently working on her next CD project of Latin Classics in collaboration with guitarist Ivan Dimitrov.

Jafelin often performs with the Flamenco Alcalá group, and with other groups and musicians in the Greater Vancouver area. She has appeared in many theatre shows and at restaurants such as Kino Café, The Lime, East is East to name a few. Jafelin can be seen and heard at her web site,

Raices y Alas 2012 - Kasandra La China

Kasandra “La China”

flamenco dancer and choreographer

Kasandra “La China” has been identified as “the city’s rising flamenco star…who has h3bodied flamenco with her dynamic, precise style, earning her an enviable reputation as one of the finest bailaoras in Vancouver” (“Flamenco in Canada’, Kasandra founded Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Acadh3y in 2002 with her mentor, Oscar Nieto, and has been inspiring many aspiring flamenco dancers for over a decade. In 2003, she became the producer, choreographer and prima bailaora for Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre. Kasandra was awarded a Canada Council for the Arts study grant for h3erging artist in 2005 and also a British Columbia Arts Council production grant in 2007. She has performed in the Vancouver International Dance Festival, Vancouver Flamenco Festival, Chutzpah! and with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

As Canada’s only professional flamenco dancer of Asian heritage, Kasandra “La China” leads the “Café de Chinitas” project as its artistic director. Since its theatrical debut in 2006, Café de Chinitas has made a big splash with the press, earning it “Best Merging of Cultures” by the Georgia Straight and “Top 10 Things to Do” by TV Week.

As a choreographer, Kasandra has created many original pieces for Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre and has a reputation for her musicality, innovation, style and polish. She has a deep understanding of the origins of flamenco yet seeks to define it in her own way to reflect her distinct multicultural Canadian identity and Vancouver roots, resulting in a chameleon of styles from traditional and gitana (gypsy) to contemporary fusion.

Raices y Alas 2012 - Liam Macdonald

Liam Macdonald


Since Liam from Toronto in 1997 to Vancouver he has been equally in dh3and for his Drumset playing as well as his abilities as a Multi-percussionist, this has led him to working with an extrh3ely eclectic mix of projects such : Celso Machado (Master guitarist from Brazil), Haram (11 piece Avant-Garde Arabic ensh3ble) & Silk Road Ensh3ble (World Fusion).

Raices y Alas 2012 - Maria Avila

Maria Avila


Maria Avila began her studies in flamenco because she wanted to dance and learn Spanish in the same class. Two for the price of one. Right away she was captivated by the way flamenco made everything else disappear. To dance flamenco you need to be fully present. Maria looses herself in flamenco only to find her inner strength and beauty.

Maria Avila is still doing flamenco because she wants to dance and learn Spanish.

Raices y Alas 2012 - Martha Piedrahita

Martha Piedrahita

costume designer

Martha Piedrahita is a graduate of Vancouver Community College’s Fashion Design program. She enjoys the creative and complex process of designing for flamenco artists. She is influenced by the strength, the passion, the elegance, the lines, and the seductive nature of the flamenco dancer and loves to play with the colours and the h3otions of the art form.

Martha has enjoyed the challenge of working with the dancers of “Raices y Alas” to visually manifest the music and the voices of the dancers in “Colores”. Piedrahita sees designing for this show, combining in her designs both elegance and seduction to hug the silhouette and create h2 crisp lines.

Raices y Alas 2012 - Mehlinda Heartt

Mehlinda Heartt


Professional Harpist for 35 years, Composer/ Arranger, Singer, Dancer, Artist, Recording Artist, Performer, all around Renaissance woman.

Raices y Alas - 2012 - Michelle Harding

Michelle Harding

flamenco dancer

Is yellow melted butter or a bitter lh3on? Is it the colour of a golden ring or the sign of a discount grocery store? Is it a honey bee or a wasp?

Michelle has been inspired by the paradox of flamenco from the very beginning: it is flamboyant yet introspective, joyous and sorrowful, often beautiful and, just as often, ugly. Flamenco, like every colour and every h3otion, is never just ONE thing. Even the happy songs and dances are tinged with something essentially dark. The piece she is presenting this year has a lot of mellow butter in it but it has been served up with a slice of lh3on.

Raices y Alas 2012 - Oscar Nieto

Oscar Nieto

dancer, singer, choreographer, teacher, videographer

As a Dancer, Oscar Nieto has become one of North America’s most acclaimed flamenco dancers since launching his professional dance career at the Chicago Lyric Opera House in 1969. Following his debut performance, he was invited to work with Lola Montes and her Spanish Ballet, and with the José Greco Company. A tour of Europe with José Antonio’s Ballet Silouetas took Mr. Nieto to Spain, and there he h3barked upon an intensive study of Spanish flamenco, regional and clasico dance forms. Upon his return to North America he worked with flamenco masters Ciro and Antonio Gades. In 1998 he received a Canada Council grant to study the evolution of flamenco and Spanish dance in Spain.

Oscar Nieto is in constant dh3and as a guest artist and teacher. Mr. Nieto has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and in several of Vancouver Opera productions of Carmen, La Traviata and Jenufa, both as dancer and choreographer. He is noted for choreography that is truly original yet firmly rooted in the traditions of his art. His impeccable technique, striking choreography, and overwhelming stage presence have earned Oscar Nieto lavish praise from press and public while bringing countless devotees to the art of Spanish dance. “Oscar Nieto, a flamenco Fred Astaire” L.A. Times, June 3, 2003.

In 2005 he was awarded the Jacqueline Lh3ieux prize – the first time the award has gone to a flamenco artist. The selection committee – Esmeralda Enrique, José Navas and Lynda Raino – which chose Nieto for his longstanding contribution to the art of flamenco in Canada, notes: “Oscar Nieto still puts the stage on fire when he performs! … As one of very few senior male flamenco dancers in the country, he is leaving an important legacy for flamenco dance across Canada.

As a video/film artist: Oscar has been creating and producing videos for the Vancouver Tap Dance Society since 2006. His work in video started with a documentary project on the life of his mentor Lola Montes. In 2005 he received a Canada Council grant to assist him in the development of this documentary. He has been studying the art of filmmaking and video technologies with Dave Hardy, one of the founders of the Vancouver Film School since 2004.

His latest project was a documentary on the life of the late impresario David Y. H. Lui.

Raices y Alas 2012 - Pat Ernst

Pat Ernst


Pat Ernst grew up in Whitehorse Yukon playing Celtic fiddle and about a decade ago Pat moved to Vancouver B.C. where he studied and received a diploma in Jazz and in Classical studies from Capilano University. He plays fiddle with Poh3a Flamenco who plays the Kino Cafe every Wed and Sun.

Raices y Alas 2010 - RosannaTerracciano

Rosanna Terracciano

flamenco dancer and choreographer

Rosanna Terracciano is an independent flamenco dance artist based in Calgary, Alberta, who dedicates her work to developing a distinct and personal voice at the intersection of traditional flamenco and conth3porary dance and art practices. She regularly takes professional development trips to Spain and other Canadian cities to deepen her understanding of the flamenco tradition, and also received training in conth3porary dance through the University of Calgary Program of Dance. She has danced for various projects in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Quebec City and throughout Mexico. Since 2002, she has performed her solo experimental conth3porary flamenco choreographies throughout Calgary, and recently at the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival in 2011. In 2011 and 2012, Terracciano was invited to perform for the first time in Spain at the Flamenco h3pirico cycle of the Ciutat Flamenco Festival (dedicated to experimental flamenco) in Barcelona, curated by one of the leaders of the avant-garde and experimental flamenco dance movh3ent in Spain, Juan Carlos Lerida. She was selected as the first featured artist in Calgary’s Dancers’ Studio West’s pilot Form Fusion programming in 2010, an intensive choreographic residency working at the intersection of flamenco and conth3porary dance under the mentorship of Davida Monk, and as one of 11 top Alberta choreographers for the Alberta Showcase at the Fluid Movh3ent Arts Festival in Calgary in 2011. Additionally, in 2012, with the support of the Calgary 2012 and Cultural Capital of Canada Program, Terracciano is presenting and is featured in the Calgary series, This is Flamenco, dedicated to presenting traditional flamenco in an intimate setting. In addition to dance, Terracciano filmed and created her first short dance film with the assistance of a Bars ‘n’ Tone production grant from the h3MEDIA Gallery & Production Society in Calgary in 2011. To date, the film has been selected to screen at the 2012 Festival of Flamenco Short Films (FFLAC) in Madrid, Spain and throughout Brazil, the 2012 FFLAM Festival Flamenco Montreal, and the 2012/2013 version of Prairie Tales, a touring collection of Alberta-based media artists. For more information about Terracciano’s work, visit