Paula Collins began dancing at age 5 under the direction of her cousin Barbara Collins. In 2001, she was introduced to Flamenco at Ballet Español. Paula is a founding member of Flamenco Louisville, where she continues to study, choreograph and teach Flamenco. She travels regularly to Spain and has studied with Juana Amaya, Farruquito, Carmen Ledesma and Carolina Gonzalez. She has appeared alongside Maestro Antonio Vargas, Antonio Hildalgo, Chayito Champion and Marija Temo. For 6 years, Paula has attended dance workshops at the National Institute of Flamenco in Albuquerque , New Mexico . In 2009 and 2011, she performed as a company dancer for Kentucky Opera in La Traviata and Carmen. During 2011 and 2012, she directed and performed in the theatrical production of “La Esencia” a stage show for the following art centers: Global Education Center in Nashville , Tennessee , Tennessee Tech University and The Grand Theatre in Frankfort , Kentucky , as part of their Artist Series. Paula continues to perform regularly as a soloist and company dancer in a local tablao show with Flamenco Louisville as well as teaching the art of Flamenco in Louisville , Kentucky . Paula is an Associate Professor with the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and the Director of Quality Assurance and Accountability.
Diana Dinicola, a co-founder of Flamenco Louisville, is a life-long dancer, having started training at the age of 2 with the Margaret Leiber School of Dance. She holds a diploma for the advanced level intensive training program at the Fundacion Cristina Heeren de Arte Flamenco in Sevilla , Spain . She has attended the National Flamenco Institute at the University of New Mexico and returns to Spain yearly for continuing professional development. In addition, she is a Showcase Kentucky artist and a Kentucky Arts Council Teaching Artist, taking flamenco into the schools. Diana trained as a theatre major at Northwestern University where she received a BS in Communications and her teaching certification. She is also a veteran arts administrator and holds an MBA from Emory University. She has been recognized as a “Hero of Diversity” by WHAS-TV and the Kentucky Lottery and has completed the improvisation intensive, “Crossing the Chasm from Theatre to Life” with Alan Arkin.
Cross-disciplinary collaborations include choreography, staging and performance in concert:nova’s production of Amor Brujo and work with Specific Gravity Ensemble: Elevator Plays³ (actor/dancer, “Corazon del Baile”) and choreographer/actor for interlifechangecycle which premiered at the Humana Festival of New Plays in March, 2009. She also appeared as an actor with Looking for Lilith’s production of LUZ in 2014. Diana provided castanet and movement coaching for singer Ruxandra Donoses’ appearance as Carmen in the Cincinnati Opera’s 2009 season and for Stacey Rishoi who performed Carmen with the CO in 2014. Diana was the choreographer and principal dancer for Kentucky Opera’s production of La Traviata in September, 2009 and Carmen in 2011. She has appeared with the band Ut Gret and collaborators like Ruric Amari of the Samovar Dance Troupe and Russian Gypsy musician Misha Feigin. Diana is Business Manager and Partner with Studio Kremer Architects, Inc.
Larissa May began her dance training in her hometown of Owensboro, KY, at age 4. Throughout her middle and high school years she danced as a company member with the Owensboro Dance Theatre. She attended Governor’s School for the Arts, Jazz on Tap and was awarded a full scholarship to study at Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago for two consecutive summers. Larissa danced professionally in Chicago with Gus Giordano, Deeply Rooted, and Ensemble Español. As a member of Flamenco Louisville, she has performed at numerous venues including Indiana University Southeast, the Oldham County Arts Center and the regular flamenco floor show at the downtown Marriott in Louisville as well as with the Kentucky Opera in productions of La Traviata and Carmen.
Grace Mican-Work began studying flamenco at the age of 6. After trying ballet, she discovered that flamenco better suited her fiery personality, and enrolled in classes at Ballet Español in 2001. Grace has continued to grow with Flamenco Louisville, and has studied and performed with Marija Temo, Antonio Vargas, Chayito Champion and Angela Ponzio, and studied for a year at Amor de Dios in Madrid
As a member of Flamenco Louisville, she has performed at numerous venues including Indiana University Southeast, the Oldham County Arts Center and Caffe Classico. Grace is a graduate of Bellarmine University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Spanish, and has studied at the University of Granada in Spain.
Holly Jett began dance and gymnastics at the age of 5. She was a Junior instructor at the Courtney Weber School of Dance. At the UofL Dance Academy, she performed the Nutcracker in the holiday seasons from 1986-1989. From 1988-1992 Holly was part of the award-winning Louisville Male High School dance team and the Performance Show Choir under the direction of Larry Pitman. She began studying flamenco with FlamencoTalk.
Mercedes Nelson began dancing at the age of 7 at Beverly Roger's Academy of Dance. She performed Jazz, Modern and Musical Theater with the competitive company for eight years. During college, she performed and competed as part of the Bellarmine University Dance Team. Mercedes began taking flamenco with Diana Dinicola at the Louisville Ballet School. She has continued her studies under Paula Collins as part of the associate company. She attended Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque in New Mexico where she studied under Ivan Vargas, Carmen Coy, Marisol Encinias and Joaquin Encinias. Mercedes is a Physical Therapist at Oaklawn Health and Rehabilitation Center.
Paul T. Carney grew up in Louisiana surrounded by music, but developed a love for percussion while living in the Chicago area. He studied with Cuban jazz percussionist Dede' Sampaio, and accompanied at the Giordano Dance Center while earning his degree from Northwestern University in Performance Studies.
Paul began playing cajon (box drum) with Flamenco Louisville in 2004. Then, in 2007 Paul began playing flamenco guitar as well, becoming an accompanist and solo musician.
His gracious teachers have included Juan Ramirez, Carmen Ledesma, Karolina González “La Negra”, Maribel Ramos "La Zambra", José Manuel Ramos "El Oruco", Marija Temo, Antonio Vargas, Michelle Iaccarino, John Lawrence, Richard Marlow, Chayito Champion, and Juan del Gastor (Juan Amaya), Mariano Campallo and Ana Real Pérez.
Paul owns and operates Body Mechanics Massage Therapy Clinic, and is a performing musician with the Kentucky Art Center's Arts in Healing program, and an accompanist at Louisville's Youth Performing Arts School.
Suzanne Allen holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Music from Indiana University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from IUS. Suzanne first encountered flamenco when she was hired for a production of Carmen and decided to take a flamenco dance class to add to her movement vocabulary. She continued her dance studies with Mariquita Flores and Victorio Korjan. She has studied flamenco vocal technique with Marija Temo, Chayito Champion, El Oruzco (Sevilla, Spain) and Angela Ponzio.
Former Company Members:
Shannon Fitzgerald (cante) holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Foreign Language (German and Japanese) and International Studies in History and Diplomacy. Her musical background is in jazz, blues, classical, and musical theatre, taught primarily by Gordon Crawford and Barry Lawrence. She continued vocal solo work at Bellarmine University until she went abroad to study. She began her initial flamenco dance studies with Flamenco Louisville under the direction of Diana Dinicola and Paula Collins before her year abroad in Spain. Upon her return to Louisville, she began developing her repertoire as a cantaora with Flamenco Louisville’s guitarist, Paul T. Carney. She has continued her studies with Marija Temo and attended the Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque in New Mexico in June 2013, where she studied with Vicente Griego and world-renowned Spanish cantaor Tomás de Perrate.
Mary Ann Silveri-Ljubic (baile): her thirst for flamenco became apparent when she was introduced to the Academy of Ballet Español in 1996, and later became a company member. Mary Ann has studied flamenco in Madrid, Spain; Chicago, Illinois and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Some of her private instruction has included Maestros Antonio Vargas, Timo Lozano, and Antonio Hidalgo. She has also studied with Adelo Campello, Jose Junco, Antonio Granjero, Angél Muñoz, Angela Ponzio and Diana Dinicola. As a Flamenco Louisville company dancer, she has performed at numerous venues including Indiana University Southeast, the Oldham County Arts Center and Caffe Classico. Mary Ann has also been a guest artist with Camino Flamenco. Mary Ann is a Clinical Pharmacist at Baptist Hospital East and also an accomplished pianist and mixed media artist.
John R. Harris (cajon) received a Bachelor’s degree in music performance from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. His major teachers were John Kasica and Richard Holmes, both members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his conservatory years, John attended the University of Kentucky where he was a student of David Davenport. He has also studied with Tom Vanarsdel, former percussion instructor at Murray State University. John received a Master’s degree in music performance from the University of Iowa as a teaching assistant of Thomas L. Davis. John is the former Principal Percussionist of the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Lincoln Symphony Orchestras as well as the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra. He has also been a member of the Omaha, Paducah, Lexington, Sioux Falls and Sioux City Symphony Orchestras as well as an extra with the Louisville Orchestra.
Lisa Canter (baile), a Louisville, KY nativ, has been a student of flamenco since 2000. She has studied with master artists Antonio Vargas, Antonio Granjero, Timo Lozano, Marija Temo, Chayito Champion, and Carmen Ledesma, has twice participated in the Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque in New Mexico, studying with Marisol and Joaquin Encinias. She has also studied with the Flamenco Louisville company in Sevilla, Spain. Her Louisville based studies began with Ballet Espanol.
As an original company member of Flamenco Louisville, she has performed at numerous venues including Indiana University Southwest, Centre College, the Oldham County Arts Center, the Grand Theater in Frankfort, KY and the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville, KY.
Lisa has also been a guest artist with Camino Flamenco and The Academy of Flamenco Arts
Offstage, Lisa was for several years a member of Flamenco Louisville's board of directors. Before flamenco entered her life, Lisa performed as a member of the Imperial Guard and Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps and was a competitive ice dance.