2016 Flamenco at the AGA – Performer Bios

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Francesca Canalizo – dancer – Calgary
Francesca has been dancing Flamenco for the past seventeen years and has been privileged to study under many well respected Flamenco Artists from Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Spain. Since its inception in 2001, Francesca has performed with Calgary flamenco group Salero Caló, which has played a large role in cultivating the local flamenco scene in Calgary. She has also performed in several productions in the city with many of her flamenco friends and colleagues. Her most recent performance was in Saskatoon in a Flamenco Borealis production, “Al-Andalus” as a soloist and guest artist in July 2016. She was awarded an Alberta Foundation for the Arts grant in 2013 to support her dance studies at the Victoria Flamenco Festival. In addition to performance and study, Francesca has been teaching flamenco dance at Free House Dance Plus since 2010.

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Holly Blazina – guitarist – Calgary
Guitarist Holly Blazina creates an immersive world of beauty and sound that draws in music lovers and Flamenco aficionados alike. The notes emanating from her instrument disarm unsuspecting listeners as they are ushered into an ethereal experience that is exotic, evocative, buoyant and deeply nourishing.When first exposed to Flamenco’s passionate, soulful melodies and driving rhythms, Holly knew she had found her home musically. This quickly led to a lifelong commitment to the art of Flamenco. Holly has had the good fortune of studying intensively with renowned artists both in Spain and North America. Having completed a Bachelor of Music degree in classical guitar performance in 1994, Holly loves to share her knowledge with aspiring guitarists as well as professional musicians, offering private lessons, accompaniment classes, workshops and online courses. Her original compositions have recently won awards from the Canada Council for the Arts and FACTOR. Holly produces her own public and in-home concerts, and has built a sizable following of repeat private event clients. Her upcoming recording, Transcendencia, will be released in the fall of 2017.

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Stephanie Pedraza – singer/dancer – Vancouver
It was at the age of 19 that Stephanie fell in love with flamenco, and ever since, has dedicated her life to mastering the art. In 2003 she moved to Andalucia, Spain, after a 4 year intensive training period at Vancouver’s Centro Flamenco with Rosario Ancer. It was in Sevilla where she trained intensively both in singing and dancing at the world renowned Fundacion de Arte Flamenco Cristina Heeren where she studied with some of the most prominent figures in flamenco. Over the past decade, she has performed and taught workshops across Canada and internationally in countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and USA. Stephanie is currently collaborating with Toronto based dancer Carmen Romero, acclaimed choreographer and dancer Oscar Nieto, and guitarist Benjamin Barrile in a production which will premiere in 2016.

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Irena Dumicz – singer/dancer – Edmonton
Since 2003, Irena has been studying with local and international artists across Canada as well as prominent flamenco teachers in Jerez de la Frontera and Seville in Spain. In 2010, she received The Canada Council for The Arts Grant which allowed her to return to Seville, Spain to study flamenco dance and singing for 5 months. Irena has been an active member of Flamenco communities in Edmonton (AB), Kelowna (BC) and Halifax (NS). She performed with Maria Osende Flamenco Company and most recently with Flamenco en Rouge in Halifax. She also served as a Chair on the Atlantic Flamenco Festival Board (Halifax NS). Irena is a founding member of the Flamenco Society of Edmonton where she currently serves as a Board member. She is currently both teaching and performing in Edmonton.

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Jane Ogilvie – dancer – Edmonton
Jane was first bitten by the flamenco bug at the feria in Seville in 1996. The following year, she began taking classes with then Calgary teacher Marilyn Malinsky, Vancouver’s Oscar Nieto and Toronto’s Claudia Carolina. Since then, she has trained extensively with prominent teachers in Spain and South America and with visiting international teachers in Canada. She has been a teacher, performer, and leader in the flamenco community in Alberta since 2001, regularly hosting guitarists and student singers for class accompaniment as well as guest teachers for workshops in song, rhythm and dance. As a performer, she is known for her rhythmic experimentation and precision. She was recently awarded funding from the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton for a month of study in Seville, Spain this past July. Jane is the Edmonton Flamenco Festival’s Artistic Director and is a founding member of the Flamenco Society of Edmonton.

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Nyles Varughese – guitarist – Edmonton
After playing in a rock band for 8 years, Nyles began his quest to find flamenco in 2009. In 2011 and 2012, he attended the renowned Christina Hereen Flamenco school in Seville, Spain and also studied with guitarists Eduardo Rebollar and Michele Iaccarino. Nyles is a founding member of the Flamenco Society of Edmonton and currently works with flamenco singers and dancers in Edmonton. He has experience performing solo, with other local artists, and continues to explore the complex rhythms and beautiful harmonies of this art form.

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