Kasandra “La China”

Flamenco Dancer and Instructor, Director, Producer, Choreographer

“Kasandra is a powerhouse of one and notable icon in the world of Canadian flamenco dance & performance.”

Kasandra is one of Canada’s leading flamenco artists well-known for her unrelenting drive to push the artistic envelope. A tirelessly ambitious artistic director, soloist and prima bailaora, Kasandra is always hungry for new sources of inspiration and knowledge, constantly pushing her musical and choreographic mastery to its limits. She has been identified as “Vancouver’s flamenco star who has embodied flamenco with her dynamic, precise style” by Flamenco-World magazine.

In high demand as a solo performer, she has performed with international artists such as Sonidos Gitanos, Maria Bermudez, Manuel Gutierrez, Ricardo Lopez, Emilio Ochando,Gaspar Rodriguez and Daniel Jurado. She has also worked extensively with local artists – Flamenco Rosario, Alma de Espana, Flamenco Vivo, Flamenco Alcala – at key venues in the Vancouver flamenco scene such as the Kino Café and the Chai Lounge.

Kasandra “La China” began her artistic journey under the tutelage of Oscar Nieto, who imparted his wisdom regarding the art of improvisational flamenco. In 2002, Oscar became her mentor and partner in forming Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Academy and the professional company, Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre. Kasandra is the prima bailaora and choreographer for Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre. She is the creator and artistic director of “Cafe de Chinitas”, “Vinetas del Mozaico” and has founded her solo career in the “Kasandra Flamenco Ensemble“. An honoured recipient of Canada Council for the Arts and British Columbia Arts Council grants, Kasandra has produced shows since 2003.

A dedicated and inspiring performer, she has appeared in prestigious events with the Vancouver International Dance Festival, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Flamenco Festival and has performed all over BC.

Known for her explosive spirit, precise rhythmic footwork, grace and personal character, Kasandra’s love of flamenco is contagious as she strives to educate new audiences and bring newcomers to the art form through her dance. Her generous spirit has brought countless devotees and aficionados to the art of Flamenco.

Kasandra has studied extensively in Spain in multiple trips since 1998 under a broad range of flamenco masters from traditional to contemporary artists, from Madrid, Seville and Jerez de la Frontera. Her teachers of notable mention include La China, Carmela Greco, Manolete, Matilde Coral, Victoria Eugenia, Merche Esmeralda, Blanca del Rey, Rafaela Carrasco, Isabel Bayon, Belen Maya, Inmaculada Aguilar, Javier Baron, Maria Chacha Bermudez, Ana Maria Lopez and Ricardo Lopez. She is dedicated to bringing international guest artists to Vancouver each year for continued studies.

Teaching Style

The true art of flamenco is an interplay between dancer, singer, guitarist and palmeros performed as a “cuadro”. Kasandra has traveled many times to study the art of cuadro flamenco in Jerez de la Frontera, the birthplace of flamenco. Kasandra’s masterclasses have demystified bulerias and tangos por fiesta for hundreds of students for more than a decade. Students are given the opportunity to learn group choreography and then dance by themselves with live musicians during class. Many students are able to dance independently within a relatively short period of time, regardless of technical level. Kasandra analyses the structure behind the dance and systematically breaks down flamenco into basic components so students can understand flamenco structure, choreography and improvisation.

Kasandra places a strong emphasis on integrating dance with music in all classes. Thorough and methodical, she teaches basic music concepts such as compas, time signature, tempo, subdivision and rhythm. This builds a strong foundation for dancers seeking to explore flamenco deeply, dance independently or work in ensembles.

Kasandra’s enthusiasm and energy makes classes fun for students. A conscientious and demanding teacher, Kasandra systematically teaches fundamental technique exercises for braceo (arms), floreo (fingers), posture (torso), cadera (hips), vueltas (turns) and zapateado (footwork). Known for her “estilo de mujer” training and “footwork bootcamps”, Kasandra brings the most current and thorough flamenco techniques to Vancouver.

“Kasandra is an inspiration and a treasure. With cultural anecdotes & humorous stories about her adventures, she teaches about Spain & Flamenco as well as the dance!”