We pride ourselves on offering high quality traditional Flamenco instruction in a relaxed and fun studio environment. New and recurring teachers include
Meet the teachers
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! She is a compassionate instructor with a rare dedication to everything she does.
Veronica Maguire, winner of the Jacqueline Lemieux Award for her contribution to Dance in Canada, began her teaching career as a registered ballet teacher for the Royal Academy of Dancing.
A graduate of the Canadian College of Dance at the Toronto Metropolitan University (Ryerson), Veronica, earned Advanced Certificates in RAD Ballet, as well as Modern and National, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (Honours), and RAD Teacher’s Certificate (Honours). She held a full time teaching position in Toronto at the same time she was invited into the Paula Moreno Spanish Dance Company where she began her flamenco journey.
In the early 80’s, Veronica had the opportunity of studying with many top flamenco artists visiting from Spain who were performing regularly at the local Tablao Don Quijote in Toronto. It is during this time, Veronica met her future husband, the late flamenco guitarist Harry Owen. In 1987 together they started up Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company.
By 1990, after the birth of their son, Gareth, they moved to Victoria where Veronica continued teaching ballet and flamenco. She taught for the Sinclair Academy of Performing Arts while training and choreographing works for selected dancers to perform in productions for Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company. This marked the beginnings of the flamenco school in Victoria.
In 2000, Veronica retired from teaching ballet in order to further her studies in flamenco dance and cante, studying with the masters in Spain, while continuing to teach the students of Alma de España. On numerous occasions she has had the opportunity to live and breathe the culture of Andalucia and continues to stay connected with her adopted hometown of Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, a touchstone for continued growth and inspiration which she shares lovingly and wholeheartedly with her students.
As artistic director and choreographer, Veronica has produced many shows throughout Western Canada, the most memorable are “Recuerdos” 2011 and “Pasajes” 2014. Her more recent works are “Familia” Vancouver International Flamenco Festival 2021 and “For The Love of Flamenco” Victoria Flamenco Festival 2022.
Since 1998, Veronica has continued to serve as an artistic advisor to the Flamenco de la Isla Society and is a lifetime member.
At 70, Veronica does not consider retiring but rather stepping down as director of the school to allow her more time to collaborate, teach, study and perform. Flamenco has become her lifeline.
Denise Yeo is a professional flamenco dance soloist and palmera. Yeo performs 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, as its artistic director and principal dancer, Denise co-founded Palabra Flamenco — 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, flamenco guitarist Gareth Owen, and poet Garth Martens. Yeo’s new show, Fox Woman, has just completed a series of performances with her husband, guitarist Gareth Owen, at the Toronto Fringe Festival and Winnipeg Fringe Festival, with a finale in Victoria.
With a dance background in ballet, jazz and contemporary Lia was first hooked by flamenco at the age of 18 when she took a Summer intensive with Veronica Maguire. Years later she began studying flamenco more seriously as an adult in 2005 at Raino Dance in Victoria which led to further intensive studies in Spain. She has been performing flamenco locally ever since in cuadro shows and in the Victoria flamenco festival with her flamenco contemporaries as well as in larger shows under the direction of Veronica Maguire and Monique Salez. In 2022 Lia presented a Flamenco Film titled “The Letter” – a love letter to the art of Flamenco at the Victoria Flamenco Festival.
In addition to that she has been able to share her love of this highly expressive, passionate and rhythmical art form as a flamenco teacher since 2014. She describes her approach to teaching as creating a space where dancers can feel good moving in their body, focus on personal growth and develop a deeper enjoyment of the art form.
Working primarily as a photographer and creative director of a magazine group, whether with dance or photography, visual storytelling is at the core of Lia’s creative expression and community & connection at the core of her values.
Gareth Owen blends traditional Flamenco guitar with his own original style. A talented young guitarist, from Canada’s West Coast, he is one of the privileged few North Americans born into the world of Flamenco. As the son of Flamenco guitarist, the late Harry Owen and dancer Veronica Maguire, Gareth plays with the instinct and raw intensity that comes from truly having the music in his blood. From an early age he has been immersed in the rhythms of Flamenco, performing professionally alongside his family and the Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company. In 2001, at the age of 12, Gareth participated in the CD recording of Alma de España’s “Flamenco Live” at Victoria’s McPherson Playhouse Theatre. In 2008, Gareth recorded his first solo album, “Gareth Owen Flamenco Guitar” live at the Alix Goolden Performance Hall in Victoria, B.C. Gareth’s most recent CD recording, “El Cobre”, with Flamenco singer Antonio de Jerez, has just been released (2010).
Gareth’s talent, technical ability and the way he draws the music from his very soul has earned acclaim at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, the Victoria Conservatory Festival of Music Summer Guitar Academy and his first sold out solo concert in 2006. Gareth has performed throughout British Columbia, including touring of the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island. He has participated in concerts presented by the Arts Council in the Queen Charlotte Islands, the University Theatre in Calgary and the 2008 Toronto International Flamenco Festival. With Alma de España he has performed at the 2009 Vancouver International Flamenco Festival and the 2009 Dawson City Music Festival.
Gareth continues to return to Jerez de la Frontera, the heartland of Flamenco, to absorb the Spanish culture and traditions, and play for many of the local singers and dancers at Peña Los Cernicalos. More recently he spent 6 months in Jerez where he performed occasionally in Tablao ‘El Lagar’ while furthering his studies with guitarists Jesus Alvarez, Pasqual de Lorca, Pepe del Morao, Manuel Jero, and the legendary Niño Jero. Today, Gareth draws on the inspiration of many of today’s great Flamenco guitarists.
Gareth creates a style that is all his own and maintains the essential spirit and traditions of pure Flamenco.
Born in Vancouver, Lia began her dance training in 2002, studying with renowned maestros Oscar Nieto and Kasandra “La China.” In 2004 she started performing regularly at the city’s flamenco peña, Kino Cafe. Lia performed with Vancouver’s Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre in 2007 before relocating to Toronto. She continues her studies with many of Spain’s great artists including Manuela Rios, Farruquito, Manuel Betanzos, Ursula Lopez, and Alicia Marquez. In 2012 she toured nationally with Flamenguitos del Norte Dance Company and was a featured performer at the Vancouver Jondo Flamenco Festival and the inaugural Montreal Flamenco Festival. That same year Lia began dividing her time between Canada and Spain.
In 2013, Lia was one of three flamenco choreographers nationally to be selected for participation in the prestigious “Paso a Paso” program run by contemporary flamenco company La Otra Orilla. The following year, Lia was honoured to perform in “60×60”, a NextSteps production directed by Viv Moore at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre Theatre.
From 2015 to 2019, Lia lived full-time in Spain, first in Seville and later in Madrid, returning to Canada to perform. In 2016 Lia was a headlined All Over the Map, a festival celebrating international dance produced by Vancouver’s NextSteps. Lia was one of six North American flamenco dancers selected to compete in the 2017 CERTAMEN USA, a competition that takes place annually at Lincoln Center in New York City.
From 2013 to 2019, Lia devoted much of her creative energy to Fin de Fiesta Flamenco, an international flamenco dance and music ensemble she co-founded with Canadian guitarist Dennis Duffin. Fin de Fiesta toured festivals and theatres across Canada each summer and in 2019 completed a 40-show tour of Canada and France.
In early 2020, Lia co-founded the global music and dance ensemble Qairo, based in Bordeaux, France. The group will embark on their first national Canadian tour in November, 2022.
In 2022, Lia presented “La Forastera,” a multidisciplinary full-length dance, music, textual and multi-media work that premiered at Toronto’s Factory Theatre. Lia receives support for her choreographic and performance work from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.