Artists – táctil (2016)


Andrea Williams

flamenco dancer

Andrea is a major contributor to Vancouver’s artistic community with her experimental and provocative approach to flamenco. She has produced, choreographed, and danced in the sold-out productions of Raíces y Alas (“Roots and Wings”, 2010), Voces (“Voices”, 2011), Colores (“Colours”, 2012) and Pairings (2013). Her choreographies have also been featured at notable Vancouver dance festivals such as New Works, B.C. Buds and the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival. She was an invited soloist for the New Works: Dance AllSorts 2014 season and for Mozaico Flamenco’s 2015 productions of “Viñetas del Mozaico” and “Three Sides of a Coin”.

As a recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts grant for Professional Development (2009), Andrea embarked on an extended comprehensive study period in Seville, Spain, at Escuela Matilde Coral and with renowned teachers Ángeles Gabaldón, Isabel Bayón and Rafaela Carrasco. With the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the British Columbia Arts Council, she spent the first part of 2016 living in Seville studying intensively with the legendary Belén Maya, a master of contemporary flamenco and bata de cola, and Cristina Hall, an innovative multi-media flamenco artist.


Dayna Szyndowski

flamenco dancer

Dance and music – inseparable. Dayna’s experiences in dance have all been informed by this connection, and her pursuit of rhythm. She has primarily studied tap dance and its rich history in jazz music and improvisation as a means of communication. This led to investigations in Afro-Cuban & Greek music, body percussion, and most significantly now, her focus on contemporary flamenco. As a result of the magnetic magic of percussive dance and the desire to continuously learn and seek new rhythmic inspiration, Dayna has been fortunate enough to spend time across Canada, the US, Cuba, Spain, and Greece performing and studying with many tap, flamenco, and music greats, and passing on what she has learned as a teacher to all ages and levels.

Performances have included Athens’ Coetani Experimental Flamenco Festival, Dances for a Small Stage in Vancouver, the Toronto Rhythm Initiative’s Nina & Joni shows, the Tap Ahead Festival in Germany, Astrolabe Musik Theatre’s NEWmatica, the Vancouver Folk Festival, the NYC & Vancouver tap festivals, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Greece’s Bridges in Time performance, the Zante Jazz Festival, and the Edmonton Fringe Festival. In past years, Dayna has produced and co-produced events like With You We Dance in Seattle with fellow tap dancer Jessie Sawyers, Miles to Feet in Vancouver with an incredible roster of local artists, and the Kino Jam sessions filling the Vancouver venue with a warm community of dancers and musicians eager to share. She is the recent recipient of a Vancouver Parks Board three year Artistic Fieldhouse residency with close musical collaborator Elisa Thorn.

Maria Avila

flamenco dancer

Maria Avila has established herself as an independent dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Recent achievements include being awarded professional development grants from The Canada Arts Council in 2015 and The B.C. Arts Council in 2013 and 2015.

Maria has trained intensively in Sevilla, Spain and in Queretaro, Mexico. Locally she has trained at Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Academy, Karen Flamenco, and completed Centro Flamenco’s professional two-year dance program. Over the years Maria has performed as both a Flamenco Rosario and an Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre company member. Maria Avila performed at the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival in 2011 and 2014, as well as the Victoria Flamenco Festival in 2015.

Michelle Harding

flamenco dancer

Michelle began her flamenco dance training in Vancouver with Oscar Nieto in 2001 and began performing two years later. Since then she has developed into one of the city’s most experienced and sought-after tablao performers, known for her improvisational instinct and sharp, clean footwork. Beyond this traditional style of flamenco, she has collaborated with artists from outside the usual scope of the form to experiment, innovate and challenge expectations.

Michelle has been involved in the Raíces y Alas project since its inception and has also worked with such diverse artists and groups as The Plastic Acid Orchestra, Tyson Naylor (jazz pianist), Mashregh (Persian-flamenco fusion), Wen Wei Wang (contemporary dance) and Silk Road Music Ensemble. She has performed in the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival, Victoria Flamenco Festival and dozens of other professional presentations around the Lower Mainland. Michelle has studied flamenco dance in Spain and the USA and continues to attend workshops by visiting artists. She studies and teaches at Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Academy.