Principal Dancers






 

Daniel Paredez_2022.jpg
Sylvia Melecio_2022.jpg
Morgan Heyer_2022.jpg
Amy Weishampel_2022.jpg
Karina Valverde_2022.jpg
Estela Velez_2022.jpg
Estela Velez de Paredez
Artistic Director/Choreographer
Soloist
Instructor
Morgan Heyer
Founding Member
 
Sylvia Melecio
Founding Member
Substitute Instructor
Daniel Paredez
Soloist
Instructor
Karina Valverde
Marketing
Public Relations
Amy Weishampel
Substitute Instructor
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
Founding Member/Substitute Instructor
 

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.

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Daniel Paredez
Soloist/Instructor

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.  

Karina Valverde
Marketing/Public Relations

 
 

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. 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.