Yaelisa (Artistic Director/ Choreographer) is one of the most gifted Flamenco artists of her generation. Raised by a Spanish flamenco artist, she was surrounded from birth by the rhythms, gestures and vocal laments of the art in its purest form, where her unique improvisational abilities began to flourish. At the age of 4 she danced on the stage of the famous Casa Madrid, and her immersion in flamenco culture became a part of her life because of her mother, the renowned singer/dancer Isa Mura.
She has performed with many of Spain’s finest artists, including Alejandro Granados, Antonio “El Pipa,” Manuel and Antonio Malena, Domingo Ortega, Enrique “El Extremeno,” Yeye de Cádiz, Mateo Soleá, El Junco, Juan Ogalla, Geronimo, Felipe Maya and others. Since 1986, Yaelisa has spent extensive periods of time living and performing in Spain, presenting her choreography there and in the U.S. Her choreographies have been commissioned by several modern dance companies, including John Malashock & Company, Rose Polsky and Collage Dance Theatre, and she choreographed and performed in the San Jose Repertory Theater production of “Twelfth Night.” In 1995, she was one of eleven international choreographers in Spain invited to present her choreography at the prestigious Certámen de Coreografía in Madrid, and the only American choreographer chosen among them. In 1996, she returned to the U.S. where she continues to develop and train dancers for her company. Internationally recognized as a master teacher, Yaelisa has developed a teaching style that emphasizes cultural understanding and knowledge of the cante. Her unique improvisational knowledge and history lend an authority to her workshops and classes, and many of her students and dancers have gone on to study and perform in Spain and the U.S.
She is the recipient of an Emmy Award for Choreography in 1993 for the PBS program, "Desde Cádiz a Sevilla," and an NEA Choreography Fellowship. In 2005, Yaelisa & Caminos Flamencos received an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for excellence in the category of “Best Company Performance,” and in 2006 she was chosen as one of ABC-7’s “Profiles in Excellence” Hispanic leadership awardees.
Yaelisa is the co-founder and artistic director of the New World Flamenco Festival in Irvine, California. Since its inception in 2001, the Festival has been recognized as a model of success, both critically and artistically. Yaelisa’s vision and curatorial skills provide the groundwork which makes the NWFF unique from the majority of flamenco festivals as an artistic project with a point of view, one which explores concepts, themes and uncovers new talents for American audiences to discover. Yaelisa has choreographed and consulted on a production of Garcia Lorca’s ‘Blood Wedding’ for Shotgun Players Theater group, and was choreographer for the music video of Iron and Wine’s “Boy with a Coin.” She is once again Artistic Director for the 2011 edition of the New World Flamenco Festival in Southern California.
Jason McGuire "El Rubio" began playing guitar at the age of nine, inspired by his mother, who was an accomplished guitarist and folksinger. His formal musical training began in Dallas, Texas from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where he studied jazz and classical guitar, and composition. After studying these opposing musical genres, Jason discovered the music of Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia, and fell in love with flamenco’s powerful emotional depth. While in school he was given the prestigious "DEE-BEE" award from Down Beat magazine in the category of intrumental jazz soloist and later was one of four finalists in the 1988 American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Classic Guitar Competition. Still hungry for more diverse musical experiences, he began working and collaborating with other artists in an array of styles, including gospel, rock, fusion and Afro- Cuban.
In 1994, Jason relocated to New York to pursue a career in flamenco, and began performing with Gypsy guitarists Chuscales and Pedro Cortes. He was chosen to record with famed gypsy guitarist Carlos Heredia on his “Gypsy Flamenco,” available on the Chesky Records label, and has since performed with many of Spain’s most distinguished artists include Enrique “El Extremeńo, Jose Anillo, Chuscales, Alejandro Granados, Domingo Ortega, Antonio and Manuel de la Malena, Silverio Heredia and Jesus Montoya. In 1997, Jason became the Musical Director for Yaelisa & Caminos Flamencos, an award-winning dance company whose flamenco productions have won critical and audience acclaim for innovation and choreography, and where he has demonstrated his creativity as a composer and arranger. The Los Angeles Times recently wrote that “McGuire’s solo managed to be atmosperic and fiendishly complex at the same time.”
In 1999, he was selected as the Musical Director for the San Jose Repertory Theater's production of "Twelfth Night (or What You Will)" by William Shakespeare, a flamenco adaptation which featured Yaelisa, El Grillo and members of Caminos Flamencos. Jason has appeared as a guest artist with various artists and companies in the U.S., including the Festival Flamenco in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2000, he was awarded a distinguished Music Fellowship from the California Arts Council for composition. His recording, “Distancias,” was released in 2002 and features El Grillo and world-renowned bassists Kai Eckhardt and Benny Rietveld. Jason signed with Bolero Records and re-released “Distancias” in 2005 with six new compositions, and also in 2005 began to produce several other groups, including the new metal band Zeromind.
Jason McGuire “El Rubio” is also the Musical Director for the highly acclaimed New World Flamenco Festival, which premiered in August 2001 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, and has earned its place as one of the top two flamenco festivals in the U.S.
Jesus Montoya, from Seville, Spain, was born into the one of the oldest Gypsy families in Andalucia. Jesus was steeped in flamenco purity and power, earning him the name “ El Rey Del Fandangos Grande” at age seven. At nine years old, he began his professional singing career and at the young age of thirteen, toured the world with various professional companies. He was the featured singer for the legendary Fernanda Romero, Isabel Vargas, Andres Marin, Pepe Rios, La Cipri & Manuela Salazar, Juan Ogalla, Alejandro Granados, Isabel Lopez, Omayra Amaya, Ciro, Juaquin Ruiz, Esrella Moreno, La Truco, Carmela Greco, Pepa Montes, Manolete, Jose Galvan and many more. In 1990, Jesus Montoya came to the U.S., and has since toured with every major flamenco company throughout the United States and Canada, including Jose Greco, Maria Benitez, La Tania, Yaelisa & Caminos Flamencos and Edwin Aparicio.
Jesus has recorded with various artists and has appeared in films, television and commercials since 1994, including for Nike, Windstar, Coca Cola, Energizer. He is a longtime member of the Screen Actors Guild. His recent accomplishment include the release of his 8th CD with musical genius Osvaldo Golijov and Duetsche Grammophon, which featured Jesus Montoya as the voice of Ruiz Alonzo in the stage production and recording of "AINADAMAR" "FOUNTAIN OF TEARS,” winner of a double Grammy Award in 2007 for "BEST CLASSICAL CONTEMPORARY COMPOSITION" and "BEST OPERA RECORDING." This production has toured in Latin America, Canada and the U.S. since 2005. Jesus is working on his second CD of original compositions, and performs and tours with his own flamenco company “Pureza Flamenca”.