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.
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.
Becca Barrett began dancing at age 12 through her church's annual heritage festival. She learned folk dances for Arabic, Greek, Indian, and Slavik cultures. She discovered Flamenco Louisville in 2015 and began taking classes immediately, joining the Associate Company in 2017 under Paula Collins' direction, and has performed as an outreach member to various assisted living homes, schools, and adult daycares as well as The Kentucky State Fair. Becca is now in an internship to join Flamenco Louisville's Company and has performed with them at such places as Shakespeare in the Park, Louisville Public Library, Owensboro Annual Festival, and Worldfest. She has trained with Carmen Ledesma and Chayito Champion. Her goal is to begin training in Spain bi-annually starting in 2022.
Becca is an avid singer focusing on medieval music and has served as the performing arts representative for the Midwest region of the nonprofit Society for Creative Anachronism in 2015-2016 and 2019-2021.
She works at the University of Louisville in the School of Nursing as an Administrative Services Manager.
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 Performing Arts ArtsThrive 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.