Peña Flamenca

Peña Flamenca takes to the stage with passion and style in a show that promises traditional Flamenco at its finest. Dance selections range from deeply dramatic to light and spontaneous, with soaring cante (singing), syncopated rhythms, and guitar improvisation. Peña Flamenca was originally formed in the year 2000 by a group of dedicated Flamenco artists in Victoria, B.C. These Flamenco musicians and dancers performed regularly around Vancouver Island and even hosted several nationally acclaimed guest artists during regular monthly shows. In Spain, peñas are social clubs where Flamenco aficionados can gather to collaborate and inspire each other. The strength of Peña Flamenca has always been in recognizing the potential of each artist and showcasing their talents within the group. Dancers Estelle Kurier and Amy Atchison are joined on stage by guitarist Jake Lee and singer Jan “Juanita” Bate for this very exciting reunion of some of the original members of Peña Flamenca. Collectively these performers have over 75 years of flamenco experience between them!  Thank you for sharing the fabulous Flamenco and great company that is Peña Flamenca!  Recent performance highlights include being invited guests at The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival (2015 and 2021), The Victoria Flamenco Festival (2015), and sold out performances in both Victoria and Nanaimo, B.C.

Meet the artists:

Photo credit: B. Skala

Estelle Kurier first discovered Flamenco in Woodstock, New York and began her Flamenco dance training in Victoria with Veronica Maguire of the Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company. On her many trips to Spain, Estelle studied Flamenco in Jerez de la Frontera, Sevilla, and Granada in workshops with numerous instructors, including Flamenco legends Eva Yerbabuena, Rafaela Carrasco, Juana Amaya, and Belén Maya. Estelle has performed extensively in Victoria with Alma de España and as a choreographer and dancer for Peña Flamenca, Corbett & Lauchbaum at the Passion for Tango Festival, and Alboa at the Butchart Gardens and the Metro Theatre. She was also the classical Spanish dance special guest soloist at the Civic Orchestra of Victoria’s “Celebrating the Performing Arts” concert and the Strathcona Symphony Orchestra’s “España” concerts in Courtenay. Estelle is currently an instructor and PhD candidate in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Victoria.

Photo credit: B. Skala

Guitarist Jake Lee began training as an accompanist for dancers in 1997 under Harry Owen and Veronica Maguire.  Drawing influences from both traditional and modern toque, Jake has played for many of BC’s flamenco ensembles including Monique Salez, Alma de España and Mozaico Flamenco. Since 2013 he has also been a regular collaborator with various ensembles participating in the Victoria Flamenco Festival.

Photo credit: B. Skala

While living in Tofino in 1999, Jan Bate attended a flamenco concert in which Harry Owen and Veronica Maguire were supporting local dancers. She was struck with the insatiable desire to learn to sing those gorgeous melodies and to play palmas to the foreign and exciting rhythms. Since then, in Tofino, Victoria, Havana and Jerez, Jan has studied with cante teachers to whom she is forever indebted for their skills, inspiration and very long patience, including: Veronica Maguire and the late Harry Owen, Oscar Nieto, Luis de Pacote, Paco Peña “Gasolina Hijo”, Miguel Rosendo, Miguel Chávez, Matias López “El Mati”, Ezequiel Benítez, and Vicente Griego. Jan is also most grateful to her fellow flamencos in Victoria, for it is only through those many hours of practice that the art of flamenco reveals itself. Hopefully there will be many more hours, for life is short and flamenco is very long.

Photo credit: Zsofin Sheeny

Amy Atchison has been passionate about flamenco since 2006 when she first entered the Alma de Espana studio. The first flamenco lesson with Amity Skala and Harry Owen sent shivers down her spine and she knew at that moment that this art form would be a permanent institution in her life. Since then, during her dancing forays at home, Amy has been fortunate to study with Veronica Macguire, Gareth Owen, Denise Yeo, Juan de Marias and abroad in Spain with Angelita Gomez and Carmen Herrera. She enjoys performing at local fundraisers and the Victoria Flamenco Festival due to the meaningful connection with the flamenco community and for the pure and authentic quality of expression that flamenco can allow.