Flamenco Intimo Cast 2021
Dancer/Director, Julia Chacon, directs Flamenco Theater, which was recently named “Best Flamenco Group in the 2021 Phoenix New Times. She was 2019 finalist for the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award and Mayor’s Arts Award and was a 2019 and 2020 Resident Artist at the Musical Instrument Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate. A former soloist with the Cuadro de Jose Galvan in Seville, Spain, Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco, and Flamenco Vivo, she currently teaches at ASU where she is completing two masters degrees and begining a doctoral degree. Julia founded Flamenco Theater in 2008 under the name, Inspiracion Flamenca in Santa Fe, NM. She toured the USA and abroad for over ten years and believes in the power of dance to build bridges of connection, which she exemplifies through the expression, power, and art of flamenco. Click here for full bio.
Guitarist, Misael Barraza Diaz – Born in 1990 in Sonora, Mexico, Barraza is among the most outstanding Mexican guitarists of his generation. He earned his master’s degree summa cum laude from the Master Guirarra Alicante in Spain and a second master’s degree from the University of Arizona where he is pursuing his doctorate. In 2019, he toured three months Europe. He has been presented at international guitar events in Spain, Amsterdam, Mexico, across the USA, and Finland, where he was awarded first place in the International Classical Guitar Competition. He has played with Flamenco Theatre since 2016.
Singer, Olivia Rojas is from El Paso, TX. Her versatile background in traditional Mexican and Choral music coupled with her wide vocal range allows her to capture a depth of expression. An emerging artist, Olivia is sought-after by flamenco companies across the USA and has worked with the National Institute of Flamenco, Sachiko La Chayi, EmiArte Flamenco, and others. She co-directs Flamenco por la Vida in Phoenix, AZ and has worked with Flamenco Theatre since 2015.
Flautist, Diana Schiable studied flute and classical guitar at the University of Idaho and holds a master’s degree in flute performance from the University of Arizona. She was principal flautist for the Arizona Symphony, a member of the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quartet and playde in the UA Wind Ensemble. She performed in Canada, Mexico, Ireland and the USA. She is a teaching artist for the Tucson Unified School District and maintains her own studio. She has worked with Flamenco Theatre since 2019.
Dancer, Francisca Ivon Nava began her flamenco training under Laura Moya in Phoenix, AZ. She was a formative member of Flamenco por la Vida under the direction of Angelina Ramirez and performed in “Mujeres,” directed by Yumi la Rosa. She performs regionally as guest artist and instructor with Chayito Champion in San Antonio, Texas. Francisca has performed with Inspiración Flamenca since 2015.
*Spanish Legacies performances only.
Dancer, Tamara Sol Flys trained with Lydia Torea and Dini Román. Flys was as a member of Torea’s Artes Bellas and appeared in Torea’s televised performance, “Flamenco Fireworks” at the Phoenix Symphony Hall and Chacon’s choreography in “Sabor y Ritmo” at Los Angeles’ Century Club. An ASU alumni, she also holds a Ph.D. and MPH from Johns Hopkins University. Tamara lives and teaches in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her first performance with Flamenco Theater was in 2009.
*Spanish Legacies performances only.
GUEST SPEAKING ARTIST
Lydia Torea – A touring soloist and dance partner with José Greco for many years, Lydia is a living legend of Spanish dance and a master of Spanish Classical. An American pioneer in Spain under the reign of Franco, Lydia made headlines in Spain as a young dancer. She trained with Regla Ortega and Vicente Escudero and danced in the cuadro of the Coral de la Moreria in the 1960’s. She was a soloist touring with Paco de Lucia and Pedro Azorín, whom she also partnered. She has performed for royalty and had a featured role in the film “Ship of Fools” with Vivien Leigh. Her company, the Lydia Torea Spanish Dance company, included los Bronces Gitanos.
Lydia is a featured artist in the Spanish Legacies: 75 Years of Spanish Dance in Arizona exhibition and will participate in a post-show Q&A after the Flamenco Íntimo shows on October 29 and 30, 2021 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
GUEST SPEAKING ARTIST:
Dini Roman – A touring dancer with Maria Alba, Ramon de los Reyes, Ximenez-Vargas Ballet Español, Mariano Parra, and others for many years, Dini was among the early Americans to study Spanish dance in Spain under the reign of Franco. Dini performed with and directed the Flamenco Theater of San Francisco for four years, serving as the second director after founder Adela Clara. Dini was a close associate of ethnic dance ambassador La Meri (1899-1988) and taught many years at Meri’s Ethnic Dance Festival on Cape Cod. She appeared numerous times at Jacob’s Pillow and was an emissary of flamenco, working with companies across the United States.
Dini is a featured artist in the Spanish Legacies: 75 Years of Spanish Dance in Arizona exhibition and will participate in a post-show Q&A after the Flamenco Íntimo shows on October 29 and 30, 2021 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
additional COMPANY MEMBERS
Julia Chacon Flamenco Theatre employs a rotating cast of artists. The following performers are not in the 2021 series, but appear with the company regularly.
Dancer, Martin Gaxiola founded and directed the nationally touring flamenco company, Calo Flamenco in Phoenix, AZ. With a cast of 25 artists, it was the largest flamenco repertory company of the time and met with acclaim throughout the United States. A former soloist with Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco, Martin toured the USA and abroad prior to forming Calo Flamenco. He has performed with Flamenco Theatre since 2017.
Dancer, Risa Jacobson has performed in California and Arizona tablaos and has studied flamenco since she was a child. One of her early teachers was Lydia Torea in Phoenix, AZ. She has performed with Inspiración Flamenca since 2016.
Dancer, Claudia Welding is originally from Oregon. She lived in Spain for many years and has studied Spanish Dance under Lydia Torea, Bernadette Gaxiola, Linda Machado and Julia Chacón. She has performed with Inspiración Flamenca since 2015
Emerson Laffey is a professional drummer and multi-percussionist from Phoenix, AZ. He began playing drums over 20 years ago and earned his BA in Music from Arizona State University. Versed in flamenco, jazz, Brazilian, gospel, R&B, salsa and rock, he plays with groups throughout the Valley. He has appeared with Flamenco Theatre since 2016.
Pianist and composer, Ioannis Goudelis has performed, recorded and opened for artists such as Stevie Wonder, Dierks Bentley, Ray Price, Mike Stern, Stanley Jordan, Pantelis Thalassinos and Alexia Vassiliou. His original music has been featured on t.v. shows like “House,” “NCIS,” and a few of HBO’s series. In 2011, he scored the feature film “The Church Office,” and appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in 2012 with Miss Willie Brown. He has appeared with Flamenco Theatre since 2016
Guitarist, Roger O’Sullivan has studied under Monte Perrault, Kristofer Hill and Juan del Gastor. He travels to Spain annually to study and play in Seville. Roger has played with Inspiración Flamenca since 2015.
The following artists made guest appearances with Julia Chacon Flamenco Theatre in the years between 2014 and 2021.
José Mendez is a flamenco singer from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Hailing from the flamenco family of la Paquera de Jerez, Mendez is sought after for his expertise in singing for dancers. A singer in the legendary flamenco tablao Los Gallos in Seville, Spain he has worked with flamenco legends of our time including Carmen Ledesma, José Galván, Maria Pages, and many others. He was featured with Flamenco Theatre in October, 2015 in Scottsdale and Peoria, AZ.
Myriam Vaquero is a disciple of the legendary Carmen Ledesma with whom she has shared the stage in Sevilla and abroad. She studied extensively with la Faraona of the Farruco Family and is a master of bulerías and tangos. She was featured with Flamenco Theatre in October, 2015 in Peoria and Scottsdale, AZ with José Mendez.
Meagan Chandler discovered a passion for Flamenco at age 14. She moved to Jerez de la Frontera, Spain to dance, but was drawn into the cante, the singing that is at the root of the Flamenco tradition. In Spain, she studied under Ana Maria Lopez and La Chiqui de Jerez. In the USA she quickly found work as a flamenco singer, moving to New Mexico where she learned to accompany the dance, studying and playing with Yiyi, Chuscales, Julia Chacon, Joaquin Gallegos, Jesus Muños, Felix de Lola and many others. She has worked with Flamenco Theater since its inception in 2008.
Javier Heredia is a festero from Seville, Spain. He has toured the world performing with Manuela Carrasco and as has appeared as guest artist at the respected flamenco festival, the Bienal de Sevilla. Known for his subtlety and grace, he is a singer and dancer who infuses his performances with simple, elegant mastery. He was featured with Flamenco Theatre in September, 2013 in Flagstaff, AZ.
Soloist, La Lea studied many years with Spanish dance masters at el Amor de Dios in Madrid, Spain. She performed in the 9th annual Certamen de Coreografía in Madrid in an award winning piece and has toured the US twice with Romería Flamenco. She was a soloist with Inspiración Flamenca from 2015 – 2018.
Dancer, Carlos Montufar directs World Dance Collective in Phoenix, AZ. A former dancer at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, he trained with Joaquin Encinias at the National Conservatory of Flamenco in Albuquerque, NM where he also performed with Yjastros, the National Flamenco Repertory Company. He performed with Flamenco Theatre from 2014 – 2019.
The following artists performed as guest artists with Flamenco Íntimo in the years between 2008 and 2013.