Director

Estela Velez, Director

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ms. Velez trained intensively with Maestro Antonio Santaella and recognized Spanish flamenco figures Mercedes Amaya, La Farruca, Rocio Molina, Carmen 'La Talegona', Carmela Greco, Joaquin Grilo, Vero 'La India', Pastora Galvan, Israel Galvan, Belen Fernandez, Karime Amaya, and Cristobal Reyes. In addition, she has studied with other noted flamenco figures Antonio Vargas, and Joaquin Encinias at the Flamenco Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  She has a background in ballet, jazz, tap, and Middle Eastern dance.

She has been performing flamenco in the Washington DC area since 1998.  In 2001, Ms. Velez was invited to perform with Ballet Antonio Santaella in a production of "Julia en Flamenco" at El Centro de Bellas Artes in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Ms. Velez is recognized for her dancing style which combines the traditional flamenco gypsy with a modern touch, and for her strong technical delivery.  She has been noted for her elegance and vitality.  In a 2002 review in the Washington Post, Ms. Velez was described as "a stunning performer with a gaze that enraptured".  The Washington Area Mid East Dance Association agreed when they wrote, "Certain performers clearly stood out.  One was Estela Velez, a student of both Flamenco and Middle Eastern Dance.  She delivered a strong, graceful performance to a haunting piece of Flamenco and Native American fusion music".

Ms. Velez has performed at venues throughout the DC Metro area including the Kennedy Center, the Jack Guidone Theater, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Dance Place, Publick Playhouse, and Alden Theatre, to name a few.  She has appeared in festivals and showcases throughout the DC metro area. She has also performed in flamenco demonstrations for the District of Columbia, Fairfax County and Montgomery County public schools, and with the D.A.R.E. Dancers Program.

Estela is faculty at the Joy of Motion Dance Center and Born 2 Dance Studio, VA. She also regularly teaches at the Summer Intensive Program at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC.

In 2003 she founded the flamenco dance company Furia Flamenca which she directs.