Calle Verde has been presenting captivating flamenco performances to audiences across the country since 2014. From BC to Newfoundland, in theatres, festivals, and tablaos, this powerful trio blends a deep respect for the rich history of flamenco with non-traditional musical inspirations ranging from classical to Brazilian and beyond. Each member of Calle Verde brings many years of professional performance to every show, cultivating a distinctive, cutting-edge interpretation of flamenco music and dance.
Maria Avila has established herself as an independent dancer, singer, choreographer, and teacher. In 2015 she launched Maria Avila Flamenco dance school, and she is currently in her second year of completing an MFA in dance at York University. Recent achievements include being awarded a mentorship to study with Myriam Allard, receiving professional development grants to study in Spain, and performing in the Coetaní Experimental Flamenco Festival in Athens, Greece.
Michelle Harding began her flamenco training in 2001 in Vancouver, and she has developed into one of the most experienced and sought-after local tablao performers. Beyond this traditional style of flamenco, she has collaborated with artists from outside the form to experiment, innovate, and challenge expectations. Michelle has danced in dozens of professional presentations including performances at the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival and the Victoria Flamenco Festival. She currently performs with the Raíces y Alas Flamenco project, Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre, and Calle Verde. Michelle has studied flamenco and classical Spanish dance in Spain, Greece, Canada, and the USA with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists.
Peter Mole has been performing flamenco for over twenty-five years. He engaged audiences across Canada and in every major venue in Vancouver, including the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the Chan Centre, and the main stage at the Vancouver Folk Festival. He composed and performed the music for "Mariposa: The Butterfly's Evil Spell", at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and performed and composed for the score for the NFB documentary "Opre Roma" with "Los Canasteros". He introduced Flamenco to the Kino Cafe in 1994 and performed there weekly until 2020. His musical training began at the McGill University Conservatory of Music then continued in Sevilla and Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, to embrace Flamenco, his latest trips being funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. He currently performs with Calle Verde, Daniela Carmona, Farnaz Ohadi Cuadro, and Las Sombras Flamenco Ensemble. Notable instructors include Diego de Morao, Miguel Aragon, Carlos Heredia, Juan Manuel Moneo Carrasco, "Fyty" Jose Antonio Carillo, Jesus Alvarez, and Paco Fernandez.
CHIBI: Japanese word for "little kid"
TAIKO: Japanese word for "big drum"
CHIBI TAIKO: Canada's first youth taiko group!
The first children’s taiko ensemble in Canada, Chibi Taiko was formed in the fall of 1993 with the goal of passing this unique and dynamic performing art on to the next generation of Asian Canadians. The group’s philosophy emphasizes cooperation, leadership, responsibility, and spirituality in addition to the physical and musical discipline needed to build a cohesive and dynamic taiko ensemble. Chibi Taiko is a member of the Vancouver Taiko Society.
Julio Montero is a Cuban-born dance instructor who has an in-depth knowledge of Cuban Salsa, which is actually called “Casino” in his native island. He was born into a family that is completely obsessed with music and dance. He grew up in the historic city of Santiago de Cuba, motherland to the very roots of Cuba’s most distinctive musical exports, and lived in neighbourhoods renowned for their strong traditions of Conga, Son, and Afro-Haitian rhythms. Upon arriving in Canada, he continued to pursue post-secondary studies, eventually obtaining a double major from the University of British Columbia.
In his methodology, Julio incorporates the skills acquired during four years at the Universidad de Ciencias Pedagógicas "Frank País" of Santiago de Cuba, where he studied to become an English teacher. Julio’s main goal is to pass on to his students the rhythmic legacy he has inherited as well as the positive cultural values associated with Afro-Latin-Caribbean culture. “Through social dancing we not only learn steps and have incredible fun – we also develop vital social skills that favourably impact our daily lives, our self-esteem, and our overall sense of happiness,” he says, adding: “I shall give you something worth your time and effort, in the form of a dance knowledge that no one will be able to take away from you.”
Julio strongly believes in the symbiosis of learning proper technique while simultaneously having a cultural experience in class, an opportunity available only through the Cuban way of dancing salsa, as it represents a nation’s heritage. He has done so while teaching in Canada and in different countries around the world.
Julio believes that sharing his native culture is the best contribution he can make to his Canadian home and the world, bringing in the genuine, everlasting, and effective system of joy that Caribbean people have conceived.
Kelli Clifton was born and raised in Prince Rupert, BC. Her mother is of European ancestry and her father is Gitga’at from the community of Hartley Bay. A graduate from the University of Victoria (Bachelor of Fine Arts), Clifton later worked as an Aboriginal Youth Intern for both the British Columbia Arts Council and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. Clifton returned north to attend the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art (Terrace, BC) where she learned to carve wood and to further develop her design skills. While in school, Clifton received several awards including the YVR Art Youth Scholarship Award for both years she attended Freda Diesing. Since graduating, Kelli's career as an artist has continued to thrive, having successfully received grants from the British Columbia Arts Council as well as the Canada Council for the Arts. Clifton has always been interested in using her artwork as a form of storytelling, especially in relation to her Ts’msyen language (Sm’algyax), her coastal upbringing, and her experiences as an Indigenous woman. She now lives in her home community of Prince Rupert where she continues to practice her art and teaches Sm’algyax at the local high school.
M’Girl is an ensemble of Indigenous women with stories and songs on the gifts received from Mother Earth. Though officially performing together since 2004, their personal musical histories span throughout each of their lives. Their hand drum songs blend harmonies into a contemporary style that reflects both their expertise of voice and their personal story of home. The message in the music is an emergence of cultural ideals and worldviews from the perspectives of their Metis/Cree (Nê-heya-win), Anishinaabe (Anish-naw-bay), and Saulteaux (prairie Anishnaabe) backgrounds. M’Girl is Renae Morriseau, Tiare Laporte, and Tracey Weitzel.