FLAMENCO & ROMANI DANCES
I started my dance career studying Flamenco, Spanish regional dances and Spanish classical ballet - also known as Escuela Bolera - with the charismatic dancer and choreographer Celia Neves. A highly acclaimed artist in Spain, Mrs. Neves came to Portugal by marriage, and opened a semi-professional dance school in Lisbon: the "Escola de Ballet Clássico Espanhol Celia Neves". She was a pioneer in introducing the art of Flamenco in Portugal and received several awards for her devotion and contribution to the development of this cultural expression. I was lucky enough to have been able to learn Flamenco with many other great artists, such as Carlos Benavides, Salvador Martínez, Antoñete, Rosario Peinado, Doña Ana, Keren Jacobi, Rina Garavelli, Isabel Quintero and Sofia Abraços in Spain, Italy and Portugal.
But it wasn’t until 2002 when I began to research and deepen into the heart of the Romani culture. My passion for Eastern European Romani dances was born when I met the extraordinary Franco-Hungarian dancer Yumma Mudra (Myriam Szabo), founder of the Danza Duende International Network, a former soloist dancer of the Ballets Russes Irina Grjebina, who would become my teacher until today. I studied intensively with Yumma and shortly after I was invited to join her newly found Gipsy Duende Company: the Salamantras. This was a particularly exciting period in my dance journey as the understanding of what made sense in artistic terms became very clear. Things revealed themselves quite coherent in a path where I was able to reunite my oldest and most essential passions with song, music and rhythm, freedom of expression and creativity, communal interchange and a new approach to tradition. It was the beginning of a beautiful journey into the music and dance of the Roma of the Balkan countries, Romania, Turkey, Russia and Central Europe.
On a trip to Paris I met Pétia Iourtchenko, a Romani Ukrainian actor, singer and dancer who had worked in the first ever Romani Theatre: the Romen Theater of Moscow. I later resided in Normandy for three years, having the opportunity to study intensively with Pétia at the Académie des Arts Chorégraphiques in Montmartre. Originally from the Vlach Romani tribe, founder and director of the Romano Atmo company, Pétia’s dramatic and intense style, excellent in the art of rhythm, body percussion and foot work, immediately conquered his students. In France, I also had the opportunity to study with Béatrice Lavielle, Simona Jovic and Helen Eriksen. In 2013, I started travelling regularly to Berlin to deepen my studies in the Romani Dance School, directed by Katjusha Kosubek, with Anna Debicka and Rada Boguslawska.
I engaged in several trips to Eastern Europe to get closer to the culture, dances and musical tradition of the Roma communities of these regions: Czech Republic (2003), Hungary (2008), Turkey (2008) and Romania (Komando, Szászcsávás, Bucharest: 2008 and 2009). In these countries, not only did I have the opportunity to study in Festivals, but also in family homes, as was the case with Mojca Rakipov Nursel in Slovenia, Elisabeta Ciobanu in Romania and Reyhan Tuzsuz in Turkey, to whom I am deeply grateful. In Romania, I was privileged to perform at the Romani Folklore Festival Cygánifolklór Tábor in 2008 and 2009.
Last but not least, a real dream come true, was the possibility to attend in 2021 masterclasses with Romen Theatre artists Alexander Rubenchik, Angela Lekareva and Venera Ferar, organised by the Khurusha Online School.
Check out the Portfolio section to learn about my performances and collaborations with other artists.