Alegrias – Emerging Artist Act

“This dance (palo), Alegrias, is the culmination of several months of a coaching class which includes teacher directed as well as my own personal choreography. In addition I am soon going to Spain for the festival of flamenco in Jerez Spain. I hope to learn more about the structure of the Alegrias and to improve my own choreography with what I have studied.

It has been such a good learning experience to work on my dance with live singer Veronica Maguire, dancer Denise Yeo, and Gareth Owen who plays flamenco guitar.

It is one thing to learn and reproduce someone else’s choreography and quite another thing to understand the structure of the dance and how to work with the singer, the palmeras and to communicate with the guitarist!

There will be 2 complete letras (verses) in this performance.

I have loved the experience and I feel I’ve learned a lot!

Now, I’m ready to share my Alegrias!” – Sandi Berry

Meet the artists:

Sandi Berry is a dancer who has been studying and loving flamenco for more than 14 years in total. She has studied with Alma de España, Flamenco Victoria, Oscar Nieto, Maria Bermudez, Mercedes Ruiz, Lina Kazan and soon with Angel Muñoz.

Veronica Maguire, winner of the prestigious Jacqueline Lemieux award for her contribution to Dance in Canada, has shared the stage in Canada with North American and Spanish international flamenco artists. Her longest artistic partnership was with her late husband and acclaimed guitarist, Harry Owen, together co-founding Alma de España flamenco dance Company in Victoria 1991.

In a career spanning over 50 years as dancer/singer/choreographer Maguire has produced and directed world class productions in Victoria such as Recuerdos in 2011 and Pasajes in 2014. She has performed in the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival, the Dawson City Music Festival, the Victoria Flamenco Festival, , the Vancouver and Victoria Fringe Festivals, with the Victoria Symphony, as well as performances throughout Canada. As a member of Palabra, Flamenco’s collaborative poetry and flamenco production Maguire performed at the Victoria Festival of Authors. In 2018 she was one of six artists presented in a film, A Quiet Flamenco, created by Rosanna, Terraciano.

In 2020, Maguire directed and performed in the Flamenco films Solo Cantando and Familia Flamenca for the virtual Victoria Flamenco Festival, and later at the Waterfront Theatre in Alma de España‘s live production, Familia for the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival in 2021. Her most recent work, she created and staged For the Love of Flamenco, the opening show for the Victoria Flamenco Festival’s 10th anniversary. Currently Maguire is the coordinator for Alma de Espana‘s monthly Flamenco Tablao in Victoria featuring a roster of flamenco singers, dancers and musicians.
Maguire continues to be active in the community as one of the founding members and artistic advisers to the Flamenco de La Isla Society, and enjoys singing and teaching dance to the students at Flamenco Victoria, all the while staying connected to her adopted home town, Jerez de La Frontera, Spain, a touchstone for continued growth and inspiration.

Gareth Owen is a world class flamenco guitarist based in Victoria, B.C. He has shared the stage with international flamenco guitarist Jesus Álvarez and Gaspar Rodriguez Roman, and has accompanied many international artists from Spain and United States, including collaborations with Canadian artists. Gareth has recorded two albums, Gareth Owen, Flamenco Guitar and El Cobre. He has also appeared on Alma de España’s CD, Flamenco Live.

Gareth has performed solo concerts in Calgary, Victoria, and Haida Gwaii, as well as Flamenco tableau performances in Vancouver’s Chai Lounge and Kino, and in Jerez de La Frontera, Spain, Tablao El Laga. He has performed in both Toronto and Vancouver International Flamenco Festivals, Dawson City Music Festival, Victoria Flamenco Festivals, including Flamenco productions, Café de Chinitas in Vancouver and Alma de Espana’s Recuerdos and Pasajes in Victoria. In 2015, Gareth performed a solo concert with guest artist from Spain, Coral de los Reyes, and in 2017, he performed in Maria Bermudez’s Sonidos Gitanos Convivencia at El Portal Theatre in Los Angeles.

As a member of Palabra Flamenco, Gareth has performed in La Palabra en el Tiempo, for the Victoria Flamenco Festival, Victoria Fringe Festival, Vancouver Fringe Festival, and Victoria Festival of Authors. Together with his wife, flamenco dancer, Denise Yeo, he has collaborated with acclaimed poet, Jan Zwicky, in Dark Sounds and is currently working on a sequel.

In 2021, Gareth performed in the short flamenco film Familia Flamenca for the virtual Victoria Flamenco Festival, and later, played in the live production of Alma de Espana’s Familia for the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival. In 2022, he performed in the film Fox Woman and in the stage production For the Love of Flamenco for the Victoria Flamenco Festival’s 10th anniversary. Currently, Gareth is a regular performer at Alma de España’s Flamenco Tablao in Victoria.