Artists – Raíces y Alas: Voces (2011)

Raices y Alas 2011 - 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, Andres Marin and Sara de Luis.

Raices y Alas 2011 - Cyrena Huang

Cyrena Huang


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.

Raices y Alas 2012 - ElviraYebes

Elvira Yebes

designer, photographer

Raices y Alas 2011 - Garreth 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).

Gareth’s talent, technical ability and the way he draws the music from his very soul has earned acclaim at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, the Victoria Conservatory Festival of Music Summer Guitar Acadh3y and his first sold out solo concert in 2006. Gareth has performed throughout British Columbia, including touring of the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island. He has participated in concerts presented by the Arts Council in the Queen Charlotte Islands, the University Theatre in Calgary and the 2008 Toronto International Flamenco Festival. With Alma de España he has performed at the 2009 Vancouver International Flamenco Festival and the 2009 Dawson City Music Festival. Gareth will return this fall for six months to Jerez de la Frontera, the heartland of Flamenco, to absorb the Spanish culture and traditions, and play for many of the local singers and dancers at Peña Los Cernica- los while furthering his studies with guitarists Jesus Alvarez, Pasqual de Lorca and the legendary Niño Jero. Today, at age 22, Gareth draws on the inspiration of many of today’s great Flamenco guitarists. Gareth creates a style that is all his own and maintains the essential spirit and traditions of pure Flamenco.

Raices y Alas 2011 - 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 2011 - Kelty McKerracher

Kelty McKerracher

flamenco dancer

Kelty McKerracher’s journey of flamenco began at the age of 18 at the Kino Café in Vancouver. Since then, it has taken her to the smoky tablaos of Jerez de la Frontera, the caves of Granada, and the sage deserts of New Mexico. Flamenco sustains and guides her in a continuing evolution of self, and she is proud to be a bonafide flamenco junkie.

Since 2006 Kelty has studied with Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Acadh3y under the guidance of Oscar Nieto and Kasandra la China. In the past year she had the pleasure of performing as a junior company mh3ber with Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre’s “Café de Chinitas” series, as well as at the Interna- tional Jondo Flamenco Festival in North Vancouver. Becoming part of the Mozaico family has been inspiring, moving, and deeply rewarding experience for Kelty. Her teachers and community continue to encourage her reach her poten- tial. In Dech3ber of 2010, Kelty received the Oscar Nieto Scholarship Award, an annual award given at Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Acadh3y to a student who displays leadership, technical ability and artistic potential.

For two years, a passion for community organizing has led Kelty to introduce flamenco to the vibrantly creative Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. In May of 2010 she participated in Vancouver Moving Theatre’s “The Minotaur Dreams: The Downtown Eastside Labyrinth Project”, playing the flamenco-dancing title character. That same spring Kelty created and performed in a fundraising concert celebrating women artists in the Downtown Eastside. The “Barrio Flamenco” series has since become a celebrated part of the annual Heart of the City Festival, and is accessible to everyone regardless of ability to pay.

In response to the interest in flamenco generated by these presentations, Kelty has taught free weekly flamenco class for women. This year she delivered workshops at Carnegie Community Centre as part of a Face the World Founda- tion grant. Kelty envisions people dancing bulerias por fiesta in the street at Main and Hastings.

Flamenco is a living art form and Kelty is thrilled to contribute to its growth through innovative projects such as the Raices y Alas series.

Raices y Alas 2011 - Maria Avila

Maria Avila

flamenco dancer

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 2011 - 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 “Raises y Alas” to visually manifest the music and the voices of the dancers in “Voces”. 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 2011 - Michelle Harding

Michelle Harding

flamenco dancer

Michelle came into this world with a passion for dress-up and make-believe and an attention-seeking personality. For many years, she searched in vain for a suitable way to express herself. In flamenco, she has finally found a voice to silence a lifetime of whispered urgings (internal and external) toward reticence and propriety. Flamenco is the quintes- sential voice of defiance; from its Roma (gypsy) roots to the personal power it gives the individual student. Flamenco has no limits and it will not admit of fear or restriction. No matter what anyone else has to say, flamenco always beckons us to speak with our truest voice.

Raices y Alas 2011 - Natalie Hobbs

Natalie Hobbs

conth3porary dancer

Natalie Hobbs was born and raised in Celista, BC. She moved to Edmonton, AB where she studied dance at Grant McEwa- nand obtained a dance diploma. In 2002, Natalie moved to Vancouver, BC to continue studying dance at Simon Fraser University. By 2004, she obtained a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in dance. Since graduation she has choreographed for professional venues in Vancouver as well as the interior of BC. Natalie is trained in Conth3porary/Modern Dance, Ballet, Flamenco, Hip Hop, African Boot Dancing, Burlesque, and Salsa. Natalie has worked with Brian Webb, Heidi Bunting and Henry Daniel. Natalie has h3powered women’s groups and worked with the Little Shuswap Indian Band as a dance instructor/dance therapist. She choreographed dance scenes for a Simon Fraser University student filmtitled, “Lily” which was screened at the 2009 Montreal World Film Festival. Currently Natalie is a creative dance assistant instructor at Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, BC. This summer Natalie danced at the Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival collaborating with a poet and a musician for an outdoor performance.

Raices y Alas 2011 - Oscar Nieto

Oscar Nieto


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 where he h3barked upon an intensive study of Spanish flamenco, regional and classico dance forms. Upon his return to North America he worked with flamenco masters Ciro & Antonio Gades. Oscar has performed and choreographed for the Boston Ballet, the Boston Flamenco Ballet, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Opera. His impeccable technique, striking choreography, and overwhelming stage presence have earned lavish praise from press and public.

In 2003, the Los Angeles Times reviewed, “For those who miss the spirit of improvisation in flamenco in this very choreographed era, and for those who like to feel their heart pounding without having danger close by, the Foun- tain Theatre in Hollywood had Oscar Nieto, a flamenco Fred Astaire. Nieto showed how to play the contrasts of flamenco like a violin careening from sweetness to sorrow. He was soft, then commanding, full of ferocity, then grace. And he took his time, interacting with the musicians as if their notes didn’t just fall around him but inspired him.”

Oscar has dedicated years to the study of the origins of flamenco, regional & classical Spanish dance forms. He is a fountain of knowledge from a cultural-historical standpoint. In 1998, Oscar received a Canada Council Grant to study the evolution of flamenco and Spanish dance in Spain. In 2004, he received a BC Arts Council grant to mount “Espiritu Sin Nombre”, ‘Spirit Without Name’, a multi-media dance, music and art presentation based on a poh3 by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. In 2005, Oscar won a Canada Council for the Arts grant to assist him in the development of his documen- tary on the life of his mentor, Lola Montes. In addition, he is the first flamenco dancer ever to receive the prestigious Jacqueline Lh3ieux Prize, awarded annually to the most deserving applicant in the Canada Council’s Dance Professionals program. He was selected in recognition of his long standing contribution to the art of flamenco in Canada.