Juliana's relationship with dance began when she was 6 years old and was exposed to the traditional folk dances of her native Argentina. She later discovered flamenco through the inspiration of Mara Maldonado, who founded Ballet Español in Louisville, and from the beginning flamenco became her biggest passion and the highest expression of herself. Juliana had the fortune to study with renowned artists from Spain, Argentina and New Mexico, where she travels regularly, and also to share the stage with some of them. Currently she is the director of Academy of Flamenco Arts where she also teaches, choreographs and performs.
Christina fell in love with Flamenco in 1996 when she saw Ballet Español in Louisville, KY. A few years later she began as an apprentice in the company. Dancing with Ballet Español afforded her the opportunity to study with and perform alongside artists Mara Maldonado, Arturo Martinez, Angel Muñoz, Antonio Granjero, Vicente Griego and more. Christina also traveled to Spain, New Mexico, NY and Chicago to develop her skills, and in 2007 she began her own company. Christina’s journey to understand this incredible art form and share it with the community continues now with Academy of Flamenco Arts.
Gareth Jones has been studying and playing flamenco for 15 years. He began his studies in Granada, Spain at Escuela Carmen de las Cuevas. He has since studied and performed with Arturo Martinez, NYC's master guitarist, Sid King, Professor of Bass at the University of Louisville and Brian Kushmaul percussionist of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. He has toured most continents as an audio engineer, stage managing some of the world's best-known artists.
Gareth just released "en mi mente"a 5 year solo project featuring the Bulerías, "upperwest". Available to stream and purchase here
He enjoys his work at the academy as an accompanist for the classes and for the professional performance ensemble.
Kristy ‘la Chispa” Mercker took her first flamenco class in 2000 and instantly knew she had found one of her greatest passions. She began an intense study of the art form offlamenco, and in 2001 started performing with Ballet Español under the direction of Mara Maldonado. Kristy has studied with Maestros Juan Parra, Manolete, Juan de Juan, Omayra Amaya, Joaquin Ruiz, Antonio Granjero, Timo Lozano y Angela Ponzio to name a few. Kristy was a founding member of the Soleo Flamenco Dance Company of Chicago, and has co-founded Camino Flamenco Dance Company in Louisville, KY.
Brenna became a Louisville resident and Flamenco enthusiast in 1998, as a dancer with Ballet Español under the direction of Mara Maldonado. After the company disbanded, she danced with Flamenco Talk under the direction of Mariya Tarakanova and with Sueño Flamenco, wild attending Nursing school in Lexington, KY. Since her discovery of the art form, she has studied with such legends as Antonio Granjero, Angel Muñoz, Nélida Tirado, and Timo Lozano. She is grateful to be reunited with old friends and new to continue the flamenco tradition as a member of the Academy of Flamenco Arts.
Juliana, born in Bogotá, Colombia, is a Musician/Singer with more than 10 years of experience in music education and 20 years as a performer. Juliana has been part of the Louisville music scene since 2015 where she became lead singer of the Funk/Soul party band, Rusty Dimes and The Good Times. Later she started working alongside her husband on a new original project, Los Dolores, also on vocals as well as bass guitar. In March of 2018, Juliana joined the Academy of Flamenco Arts as their Cantaora. She's currently teaching voice and piano at a local music academy and volunteering for Girls Rock Louisville.
Lina is from Cuba and moved to Louisville in July, 2017. She started in the world of dance at age 6 and from the start it was her passion. She graduated from modern and contemporary dance in Cuba and later she began her own flamenco dance company called "Ballet Lina Sanz" where she was director, choreographer and dancer and ran her own dance academy for children. She spent two years in China working as a dancer for children's shows and now she accompanies Academy of Flamenco Arts as a dancer and teacher of the youngest children and adult beginners.
Renée Lam began dancing at age eight - starting at Lila Jean’s School of Dance followed by a figure skating career under Mary Gaffney and Jeff Choate. She competed on the national level with the United States Figure Skating Association until her teens. Renée was captivated by flamenco when she saw her first show. The impression stuck with her for years, leading her to enroll with Mariya Tarakanova’s FlamencoTalk in 2009. Her career has continued under the tutelage of Juliana Grossi at the Academy of Flamenco Arts as an apprentice company member.
Lisa found her love of flamenco when beginning her studies with Ballet Espanol under Mara Maldonado. She has studied with such masters as Antonio Vargas, Antonio Granjero, Timo Lozano, and Carmen Ledesma. She has twice participated in the Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque and has studied in Sevilla, Spain. Before flamenco, Lisa performed with the Imperial Guard and Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps, was the University of Louisville marching band color guard caption head and was a competitive ice dancer. She enjoys singing and previously sang backup for a local country artist.