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Daniel Paredez

Daniel began dancing flamenco in January 2006 training intensively with local flamenco artist, Estela Vélez. He's also studied with renowned Flamenco masters Alejandro Granados, La Farruca, Carmela Greco, Antonio Santaella, Adrian Santana, Marco Flores, Miguel Vargas, David Coria, and many others.  Daniel joined Furia Flamenca in 2006, and shortly thereafter became the company’s lead male dancer and a soloist for the company. His performances include the Kennedy Center Honor's tribute to Honoree Justino Diaz (2021), Washington National Opera's production of Carmen (2015) and Don Giovanni (2007) at the Kennedy Center; soloist in Furia Flamenca’s Lorca: Flamenco Poetry (Atlas Performing Arts Center, 2011, 2015; the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, 2010; Alden Theater, 2009) where he was an Emerging Performer finalist at the Metro-DC Dance Awards (2011); Ida y Vuelta: De Donde Vienes Mestizo in Managua, Nicaragua (2011), and a featured dancer in Teatro Lirico DC’s La Verbena de la Paloma at the Gala Hispanic Theater (2014).  He has also performed in tablaos locally and abroad in Puerto Rico and Nicaragua. He's taught flamenco at the Kirov Academy of Ballet summer intensive in D.C (2009) and Maryland Youth Ballet (2017-2021).  Daniel has supplemented his Flamenco with training in ballet, modern, and aerial dance.  

Currently, Daniel is faculty at the Seber Dance Academy and Maryland Youth Ballet.  

Morgan Heyer
Founding Member

Morgan began studying dance at the age of four with ballet and modern in Laurel, MD. Upon learning of the form from a friend, she started lessons in flamenco at age nine with Nancy Sedgewick. Since then she has attended workshops given by Dame Marina Keet, Yloy Ybarra, and Jorge Navarro. In 1996, Morgan studied with Ziva Cohen and performed throughout the Washington, D.C. area.  Morgan has been a member of Furia Flamenca since its inception in 2003.

Sylvia Melecio
Substitute Instructor/Founding Member

Sylvia has been studying and performing Flamenco in the Washington, DC-metro area since 2000. She has been studying with Estela Velez de Paredez since 2002. Sylvia is one of the founding members of Furia Flamenca, and has been dancing with the company since its inception under the direction of Estela Velez. She also trained with Flamenco Masters Antonio Santaella, Alejandro Granados, Miguel Vargas, Carmela Greco and others, and attended flamenco workshops at the National Institute of Flamenco in New Mexico. Her dance background includes ballet, Spanish dance and folk dances which she studied at the Academia de Baile Zaida Varas while in her native Puerto Rico.

Karina Valverde
Public Relations and Marketing Director

Karina's flamenco journey began in 2004 as an after-work hobby. Discovering her passion for the cross-cultural art form, she joined Furia Flamenca in 2005 and studied intensively under the primary instruction of Estela Vélez de Paredez. She further trained with visiting master artists including Antonio Santaella, La Farruca, Carmela Greco, and Alejandro Granados to name a few. Always working to improve her technique and range, Karina also participated in the Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque in 2008 and 2011. She compliments her traditional flamenco style with her background in Latin Dance and Raqs Sharqi (bellydance). From 2003-2007, she concurrently trained and performed with U Street Caravan, a local bellydance troop. From 2010-2014 she trained in aerial art. Karina appreciates the multifaceted layers of flamenco and remains committed to her training.

Amy Weishampel
Substitute Instructor

Amy studied ballet and modern dance extensively at the Peabody Preparatory at the age of eight and graduated from the Carver Center for Arts and Technology in 2003. She was first introduced to flamenco at the age of 14. She trained extensively with Nancy Sedgwick, Jaime Coronado and Lourdes Elias, performing with their company, Spanish Dance Society, from 2001 to its dissolution in 2004. Amy began studying with Estela Vélez in 2006, and joined Furia Flamenca shortly after. Amy has performed at various theaters and festivals over the Baltimore/Washington area, and has taken workshops with La Farruca, Omyra Amaya, Antonio Vargas, Lola Greco, Carmela Greco, and Alejandro Granados, among others.

Tammy Lemley
Founding Member

Tammy's first experience flamenco was love at first sight! Soon after moving from Texas to Washington, DC, she saw her first flamenco show and was mesmerized by the profiles, beautiful swirling skirts and fiery footwork. She began studying flamenco with Ziva Cohen at Joy of Motion in 1995 and performed with Ziva's Spanish Dance Ensemble for over 9 years. She has performed extensively in numerous venues in the Washington, DC-metro area including the Kennedy Center, the Corcoran, Dance Place and the Publick Playhouse. Tammy has been dancing since the age of five. Her repertoire also includes ballet, tap, jazz, ballroom and belly dance.  Tammy has been a member of Furia Flamenca since its inception in 2003.

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Patricia Bueno Abdala
Substitute Instructor

Patricia is a native of La Paz, Bolivia. She started her study of Spanish Dance at Academia de Danzas Española Carmen Bravo. She moved to Chicago in 1982, and while pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Illinois, joined de Circle Dancers. In 1987, she began formal training with Dame Kibby Komaiko, founder of Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater. She has also studied with Paco Alonso, Victorio Khorjhan, Karen Stelling, Juan Ramon, Luis Montero, Manolo Rivera, Azucena Vega, Juanjo Linares. In 1988, she became a Scholarship Apprentice to the Ensemble Español, and in 1989, was promoted to Full Company Dancer. In 1996, Patricia was promoted to Principal Dancer, and danced with Ensemble Espanol for two years.  She has since studied with Carmela Greco, Timo Lozano, Paloma Gomez, Ana Gonzales, Omayra Amaya and Edwin Aparicio. In 2017, she started training with Estela Velez and Daniel Paredez. She has performed as Guest Artist for the World Fest with St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Society in St. Louis, MO. She has also performed for The Chicago Human Rhythm’s Project World Festival of Tap and Percussive Dance Honoring Juan Ramon.

Chelsea Hamati

Chelsea saw her first flamenco show in Barcelona while studying abroad, and has been inspired by its movement, rhythms, and music ever since. She took her first class in 2017 at the encouragement of a coworker, and has since been taking classes with Estela Velez and Daniel Paredez. Chelsea has a background in tap, jazz, modern, and tennis (which helps with fast footwork!). She joined Furia Flamenca in 2019.  

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Kristen "Kiki" Koerner

Kristen, at age four, fell in love with ballet. She received much of her early ballet education from Maryland Youth Ballet. She later received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Towson University and a Master of Arts in Dance (concentration in History, Theory, and Pedagogy) from American University.  While an undergraduate, she supplemented her studies with classes at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD and a semester at The N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg, Russia State Conservatory. Kirsten has spent a majority of her professional career at the National Ballet Company/National Ballet Institute for the Arts – first performing as a soloist, and later assuming responsibilities of Assistant Director and Ballet Mistress. Prior to the National Ballet, she danced for Ballet Eddy Toussaint, USA; Ballet Theater of Annapolis; and the Alexandria Ballet. While dancing for the National Ballet Company, she continued her education with Pamela Moore receiving the Enrico Cecchetti Diploma and has attained the highest teaching level in the Cecchetti Council of America, Diploma Fellow.  Kirsten began studying flamenco in 2018 with Estela Vélez and debuted with Furia Flamenca in 2021.

Erin Kopp

Erin studied dance at the University of Maryland College Park and fell in love with Flamenco while studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. She began studying Flamenco with Estela Vélez de Paredez in 2017 and joined Furia Flamenca the following year. With Furia Flamenca she has performed at the Reston Multicultural Festival, the Taste of Bethesda, Atlas Performing Arts Center, and The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.

Vivien Lee

Vivien began her dance journey during college when she discovered ballroom and Latin practices led by US amateur 10-dance champions and performed with the Harvard Ballroom Dance Team. She furthered her competitive Latin dance experience in New York City with US and International Latin champions and coaches, competing at various national events. After moving to the DC area, she supplemented her training by exploring ballet, jazz, street jazz, and hip hop. Vivien was always intrigued by the flamenco influence on the paso doble, one of the 5 competitive Latin dances. It wasn’t until she started learning flamenco with Estela Vélez and Daniel Paredez in 2018 that she absolutely fell in love with the dance form. Its challenging, unique and beautiful rhythms and syncopations, footwork and overall shapes are a constant source of inspiration. Vivien debuted with Furia Flamenca in 2022 under the guidance of Estela Vélez, and is honored to be part of the Furia Flamenca family and in the company of such fine dancers! 

Mariana Teresa Osorio

Mariana began her flamenco studies with a summer Sevillanas course taught by the late Tina Ramirez at Ballet Hispanico in New York City. During her senior year in college she learned her first solea and bulerias in a class taught by Clara Mora Chinoy, after which Mariana knew she had found a life-long passion. Upon moving to Washington D.C., she studied extensively under Lourdes Elias, Jaime Coronado and Nancy Sedgwick Monahan at the Oxford Academy and later joined their dance company, the Spanish Dance Society. After the company was disbanded, Mariana continued her studies under Sara Candela, Ana Menendez and Ulrika Frank at the D.C. Dance Collective. After taking a hiatus to pursue a master's degree, she returned to intensive flamenco studies in 2008 under Estela Vélez and joined Furia Flamenca later that year. Mariana has studied with Antonio Vargas, Carmela Greco, Alejandro Granados, Miguel Vargas, and Pablo Rodarte. Mariana has performed at numerous events and venues around the D.C. area including the Feria de Sevilla, the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, the Alden Theater, the Atlas Theater, the Corcoran Gallery, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Reston Multi-Cultural Festival, the Intersections Festival, Happenings at Harmon Hall, and the EU Embassies Open House.

Lauren Raivel

Lauren started dancing flamenco with Martin Cruz at the ADEC in Puebla, Mexico in 1996. A native of Maryland, she has lived in Pamplona, Spain for a year and Puebla Mexico for three years. After returning to the United States, she took Spanish Dance lessons at the Oxford Academy with Nancy Sedgewick. In 2004, she started taking classes with Estela Velez. She became a company member of Furia Flamenca in 2004. She has performed at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, The Alden Theatre, the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Theater, Sidney Harmon Hall, Dance Place and Publik Playhouse. In 2006, she took classes at the Amor de Dios studio in Madrid, Spain. In 2011, 2016, and 2019 she attended the National Institute of Flamenco in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Among the flamenco Masters she has trained with are Alejandro Granados, Miguel Vargas, Carmela Greco, la Farruca, Antonio Vargas, Antonio Santaella, Raimundo Benitez, Adrian Santana, and Jonatan Miro. She taught beginning dance at Forever Dancing in Falls Church, Virginia from 2014 to 2015.

Kotomi Uno

Kotomi’s flamenco journey started in 2006 when she joined the flamenco club in college. Each year she performed at Japan’s National University Flamenco Festival where more than 100 students showcased their work in performance. Kotomi trained extensively with Mie Shinoda in Tokyo where she performed in tablaos and theatres. She also studied with Jorge Navarro in New York City and performed at Peacock Theatre with Nuria García’s flamenco company in London. She joined Furia Flamenca in 2021. 

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