These local performers regularly rotate to perform in Tablao shows and events in Victoria.
Jan “Juanita” Bate first heard live flamenco in Tofino in 1999, and since that time she has fallen hard for this art form. Enchanted with the poetry, rhythms and melodies, Juanita has studied cante in Tofino, Victoria, Havana, Albuquerque and Jerez. She has studied with many teachers from single classes to years of study with Veronica Maguire and the late Harry Owen, Oscar Nieto, Luis de Pacote, Paco Peña Gasolina Hijo, Miguel Rosendo, Matias López El Mati, Ezequiel Benitez, Vicente Griego, Stephanie Pedraza and Coral de los Reyes. Juanita is also grateful to her fellow flamencos on Vancouver Island, for it is only through the many hours of practice that the art of flamenco reveals itself. Over the years, Juanita has performed in shows and tablaos with Rueda, Peña Flamenca, Flamenco de la Costa, and Alma de España, and she passionately produced the Victoria Flamenco Festival from 2012 – 2018.
JUAN DE MARIAS, born in Barcelona Spain, trained in classical, flamenco guitar and cante with renowned teachers in Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and Jerez de la Frontera. He has worked as a singer, guitar soloist, accompanist and music arranger with numerous artists in flamenco, jazz, Latin-American folklore and Eastern music, performing in Spain, UK, Chile, Canada, and the US. His music has been performed in the prestigious Palau de la Musica in Barcelona. As musical director, founding member and principle guitarist for the troupe Flamenko’s formerly known as Elias Vargas and Company, Juan arranged the production Gypsy Soul which was presented for 2 years in many locations throughout British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. A Canada Council award supported professional research and study in flamenco guitar and cante (singing) in Southern Spain, inspiring his first album Mimbre. He is a regular face in Canada’s Flamenco circles. He lives in Victoria where he collaborates with Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company.
CAROLYN CRAMPTON was born and raised in Victoria and studied dance there as a child. She stopped dancing as a young adult and did not feel complete. Surprisingly and happily she found the opportunity to study flamenco at age 29 at the school of Veronica Maguire and Harry Owen. She fell in love with the music and found that flamenco dancing fed her soul and formed a means of self expression. Since then it has been a necessary part of her life. Over many years she has performed with Alma de Espana and Rueda at local events and has taken courses in Spain from many world renowned artists. She prefers flamenco in its traditional form performed as a quadro where the ensemble of song, dance, guitar and palmas creates dynamic and original work. She has just retired from her day job of 35 years working in health care and she hopes to share her love of flamenco for many more years to come.
ESTELLE KURIER began her Flamenco studies in Victoria with Veronica Maguire, artistic director of Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company. Estelle has also received Flamenco instruction in Canada with Oscar Nieto, Maria Bermudez, Claudia Carolina, and Yaelisa through workshops in Victoria, Saskatoon, and Vancouver. On her many trips to Spain, Estelle has studied Flamenco in Jerez de la Frontera, Seville, and Granada during workshops with Eva Yerbabuena, Antonio el Pipa, Javier Latorre, Angelita Gomez, Belen Maya, and Rafaela Carrasco, along with private classes with Juana Amaya, Irene Carrasco, Juan Antonio Tejero, and Tatiana Garrido. Estelle has performed extensively in Victoria as a company member of Alma de España, as a dancer and singer with Peña Flamenca, and as a choreographer and dancer for Corbett & Lauchbaum at the Passion for Tango Festival and for Alboa at the Butchart Gardens and the Metro Theatre. She was also the classical Spanish dance special guest soloist for the Civic Orchestra of Victoria’s “Celebrating the Performing Arts” concert and for the Strathcona Symphony Orchestra’s “España” concerts in Courtenay. Estelle is a translator and private language tutor, and she is currently working on her PhD in Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Victoria where she teaches Spanish and Italian classes.
JAKE LEE “CHINITO” began training as a guitar accompanist for flamenco dancers in 1997 under Harry Owen and Veronica Maguire. Drawing influence from both traditional and modern sources, Jake has been a frequent collaborator with many BC artists including Rueda, Monique Salez, the Kasandra Flamenco Ensemble, Alma de España,
Peña Flamenca, LaLuna Flamenco and Mozaico Flamenco. Performing regularly in Victoria and Vancouver, he has been a participant in the Victoria Flamenco Festival since 2013, and has performed in the 2015 and 2018 editions of the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival. In addition to playing flamenco guitar, Jake is becoming known as singer and most recently was featured in “The Letter”, a flamenco video presented at the Victoria Flamenco Festival 2022.
VERONICA “VERO” MAGUIRE, winner of the prestigious Jacqueline Lemieux Award for her contribution to Dance in Canada, has shared the stage in Canada with North American and Spanish international flamenco artists. Her longest artistic partnership was with her late husband and acclaimed guitarist, Harry Owen. In a career spanning over 45 years as dancer/ singer/choreographer, she has produced and directed world-class productions in Victoria such as Recuerdos in 2011, and Pasajes in 2014. Veronica has performed in the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival, Dawson City Music Festival, the Victoria Flamenco Festival, the Vancouver and Victoria Fringe Festival, the Victoria Symphony, as well as performances throughout Western Canada. As a member of Palabra Flamenco’s collaborative poetry & flamenco show, she performed at the Victoria Festival of Authors. Veronica was one of six artists presented in a film
A Quiet Flamenco created by Rosanna Terraciano. She has collaborated on a couple of flamenco films for the Victoria Flamenco Festival, directed and performed live in Alma de España’s production Familia for the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival in 2021, and most recently, staged and performed in For The Love of Flamenco, the opening show for the Victoria Flamenco Festival’s 10th anniversary. Currently, Veronica’s energies are going towards establishing a Flamenco Tablao every last Sunday of the month for flamenco artists to work their craft performing on a regular basis for audiences to enjoy the flamenco experience.
GARETH OWEN is a world-class flamenco guitarist based in Victoria, B.C. He has shared the stage with international flamenco guitarists Jesus Álvarez and Gaspar Rodriguez Roman, and has accompanied many international artists from Spain & United States including collaborations with Canadian artists. Gareth has recorded two albums, Gareth Owen Flamenco Guitar and El Cobre. He has also appeared on Alma de España’s CD, Flamenco Live. His third CD is currently in production and will be released later this year. He has performed solo concerts in Calgary, Victoria and Haida Gwaii, as well as flamenco tablao performances in Vancouver’s Chai Lounge & Kino, and in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, Tablao El Laga. He has performed in both Toronto and Vancouver International Flamenco Festivals, Dawson City Music Festival, Victoria Flamenco Festival including flamenco productions Café de Chinitas in Vancouver, and Alma de España’s Recuerdos and Pasajes in Victoria. In 2015, he performed a solo concert with guest artist from Spain, Coral de los Reyes. Recently, Gareth performed in Maria Bermudez’s Sonidos Gitanos Convivencia at El Portal Theatre in Los Angeles. Recently, Gareth has performed in a short flamenco film for the Victoria Virtual Flamenco Festival and the stage production of Alma de España’s Familia live for the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival.
TOMOMI OZAKI started learning Flamenco dance in 1993 in Japan, where holds the world’s second largest Flamenco population after Spain. She performed at many Flamenco shows as a company member. She has taken workshops with internationally renowned Flamenco dancers from Spain, such as José Galván, Adrián Galia, Eva La Yerbabuena, Juana Amaya, Angelita Vargas, Domingo Ortega, Ángelita Gómez, Isabel Bayón and others. Since moving to British Columbia, she has been studying with Veronica Maguire in Victoria and with Kasandra Lee and Rosario Ancer in Vancouver. Tomomi has been teaching Flamenco dance in the Comox Valley for 15 years, and has produced over a dozen shows over the years. She has performed as a soloist and with her students in venues throughout Vancouver Island, such as Tofino, Victoria, and Port Alberni. She has also performed in Japan.
Tomomi enjoys sharing her passion of Flamenco with local Flamenco lovers.
Amity Skala has been active in the Victoria dance community since 1984. She has studied Ballet, Tap, and Modern dance as well as a wide range of ethnic dance forms. In 1996, she began teaching privately and became a faculty member at Kidco Dance School in 1998. She worked with the Veselka Ukrainian Dance Association as a performer and teacher, including serving as interim Artistic Director in 2002-2003 and is currently the Promotions Manager for Ballet Victoria.
Her passion for Flamenco began in 1994 when she started taking lessons with Victoria-based Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company, under the artistic direction of Veronica Maguire and the late Harry Owen.
In addition to performing with the company, Amity taught in the affiliated dance school for many years, as well as operating classes in Nanaimo, B.C. In 2022 Amity was pleased to take on the full responsibility of offering top quality Flamenco instruction in Victoria. She continues to work closely with the Alma de España teachers to offer comprehensive and authentic instruction.
Having traveled to Spain more than once, Amity has had the opportunity to study with top Flamenco artists Eva Yerbabuena, Belén Maya, Rafaela Carrasco, Ana Maria Lopez, Angelita Gómez, Domingo Ortega, and José Granero. Amity’s skills and enthusiasm have earned many guest appearances as a teacher locally and internationally, including a 2003 workshop series in the US and guest teaching around B.C. in 2014-15.
She has upgraded her teaching skills through workshops with The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, The National Coaching Institute and Movement Analyst Bill Evans. Her choreography has won awards at numerous festivals including Danceworks, The Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, British Columbia Ukranian Cultural Festival, and Pysanky Festival in Alberta.
In addition to many local stage shows and festivals, Amity has had the opportunity to perform professionally with Alma de España throughout the Pacific Northwest including Seattle Folk Life 1997, Nanaimo’s Port Theatre in 2002 and concerts in Calgary and the Queen Charlotte Islands in 2008. She was a soloist in both Recuerdos 2011 and Pasajes 2014 with Alma de España. Other performance credits include guest appearances with the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Symphony Splash 2006 with the Victoria Symphony, Butchart Gardens “Spanish Passion” Summer shows 2006 and as a soloist with Peña Flamenca. Amity recently performed with both Peña Flamenca and Alma de España at the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival in 2021. She serves the Flamenco de la Isla Society by acting as the Assistant Coordinator for the Victoria Flamenco Festival 2014-2022 and was a Board member for many years. She is currently an artistic advisor to the Society.
Amity loves teaching and inspiring her students at Flamenco Victoria! She is a compassionate instructor with a rare dedication to everything she does.
DENISE YEO is a professional flamenco dance soloist and palmera appearing in tablaos across Canada. She has performed in large-scale flamenco productions Recuerdos and Pasajes for Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company. In North America, Denise has trained with award-winning choreographers Veronica Maguire, Carmen Romero, and Oscar Nieto. She has also trained with international flamenco artists, including Concha Jareño, Domingo Ortega, Maria Bermúdez, Inmaculada Ortega, Antonio El Farru, Carmen Herrera, Ana María Lopez, and more. In 2017, she co-founded Palabra Flamenco as its artistic director and principal dancer — joining traditional flamenco with English language poetry and storytelling. The show La Palabra en el Tiempo toured the Victoria Flamenco Festival, Victoria Fringe Festival, Vancouver Fringe Festival, and Victoria Festival of Authors. She later performed as a soloist for Dark Sounds, a unique collaboration with acclaimed poet Jan Zwicky, guitarist Gareth Owen, and poet Garth Martens. In 2019, her new work Fox Woman, Yeo’s second production as artistic director, toured the Toronto Fringe Festival and Winnipeg Fringe Festival. As principal dancer and storyteller, she performs the roles of Fox Woman and the Hunter, with her husband, flamenco guitarist Gareth Owen, accompanying her. Recently, Denise has performed in a short flamenco film for the Victoria Virtual Flamenco Festival and the live stage production of Alma de España’s Familia for the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival.