Featuring Elena Villa – March 20, 2015
Elena Villa is a professional performer, choreographer and teacher of flamenco, Middle Eastern belly dance and Arab-flamenco fusion dance. Elena’s parents introduced her to belly dance as a young girl in the late 1970s. She performed her first public belly dance solo to live Middle Eastern music at age 10. After seeing flamenco performances in Spain and France, Elena was inspired to begin her flamenco training in 1991. She has studied in the U.S. and in Spain with some of the great international masters of today, including Jose Galván, La Tania, and Felipe Mato, and continues to pursue regular study with some of flamenco’s brightest young stars and old masters. In 1995, Elena Villa began developing her own fusion dance style based on her training in raqs al-sharqi (belly dance) and flamenco. She has taught numerous original choreographies in this fusion style and is frequently invited to present her work at festivals and in gala shows. In 2007, she won the Alternative Music Professional title at the Belly Dancer USA competition for her original Arab-flamenco fusion choreography.
Known for her fiery elegance and musicality, Elena has shared the stage with many world-class musicians and dancers, such as Amel Tafsout and Souhail Kaspar, and continues to pursue artistic collaborations with fellow artists from around the world. Elena began teaching dance in 1996, and has become a passionate and dedicated instructor who is committed to creating a positive learning environment that encourages growth, cultural awareness and a sense of community. In addition to being a dance performer and instructor, Elena holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature and teaches literary, cultural, and performance studies at the university level. She is also the Performance Coordinator and a principal dancer for the acclaimed Gypsy Caravan Stage at the Oregon Country Fair, one of the West Coast’s legendary live Middle Eastern music and belly dance venues for over 40 years. www.elenavilladanza.net