Born in the city of São Paulo in Brazil, Raquel has been performing on stage since age 6 and has over 20 years of dance training. Raquel has performed among hundreds of choreographies, classical ballet and modern pieces like: Gisele, Corsario, Paquitas, Rapsodia in Blue, Bolero de Ravel, Ariedacnirb and Impact, being the two last mentioned pieces choreographed by Armando Aurich, a São Paulo Municipal Theater Dancer.
After many years of ballet, jazz and modern training in Brazil and the U.S.A. (Regional Center for the Arts in Connecticut), she was introduced to flamenco by one of the top Brazilian flamenco artists at the time, Maestro Paulo Santos with whom she performed several choreographies as part of the Paulo Santos Flamenco Dance Company. Still in Brazil, she had the honor to share the stage with flamenco master Fabio Rodrigues in an Alegrias duo choreographed by Rafaela Carrasco from Spain and rehearsed and thought by Paulo Santos.
The passion for flamenco had stayed with Raquel, and in the U.S.A. she was able to study the art form at Fazils and Ballet Hispanico in New York City. In Los Angeles, she received additional training from Briseyda Zarate, Katerina Tomas, Celina Zambon, Richard Chavez, and Alexandra Rozo. She was chosen to be part of the CZ Flamenco Dance Company, directed by the flamenco master Celina Zambon. Raquel’s work with the company included the opera Flamenco Loves Tango performed at Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara, Andalucia and Los Angeles Del Flamenco, both performed at Morgan Wixon Theatre in Santa Monica, in June 0f 2010. Raquel is currently training with Maestra Briseyda Zarate in Los Angeles and teaching contemporary flamenco to adult beginners and children in Los Angeles and Agoura Hills.
The proud mother of her daughter Lara, with whom she also performs flamenco occasionally, is grateful for the opportunity to embrace dance, friendship and passion through Pasion Flamenca de Los Angeles and other given life opportunities.
A Los Angeles native, Elizabeth Ipiña has been dancing since she can remember. Her training began with ballet, jazz and modern, which she studied at a young age, along with artistic and rhythmic gymnastics.
As a teen, Elizabeth achieved the honor of becoming a three-time member of the U.S. National Rhythmic Gymnastics team, and represented the United States in several international competitions including two World Championships, and the Goodwill Games. During this time, she trained, performed and competed in Japan, Taiwan, France, Spain, Bulgaria, Russia, Hungary, Monaco, and Germany. She participated in the first Olympic Trials for Rhythmic Gymnastics in 1984, and later went on to coach and choreograph for other national level gymnasts.
As a college student at UCLA, Elizabeth majored in World Arts and Cultures with a Dance concentration. There she explored dance styles from other cultures including India, Africa, and Brazil. She also spent a summer in Cuba studying Afro-Cuban folkloric and social dance. Upon return, she became a member of Umbalaye, an Afro-Cuban music and dance group that performed in parades and festivals in and around the Los Angeles area.
Although she had always been drawn to the soulful movement of flamenco, it was until a year abroad studying in Spain that Elizabeth fell in love with the art form. She began her studies in 2010 with Celina Zambon, and soon became a member of the CZ Flamenco Dance Company. As a member of this company, she performed in both festivals and theaters, including the Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara as part of the original production of Flamenco Loves Tango, as well as Los Angeles del Flamenco at the Morgan Wixson in Santa Monica. Over the years she has studied and collaborated with a variety of flamenco dancers and musicians such as Briseyda Zarate, Katerina Tomás, Linda Vega, Kai Narezco, Gerardo Morales, and Alexandra Rozo.
Being a part of Pasión Flamenca de Los Angeles brings Elizabeth great joy, vitality, and a place to express her inner spirit. She most enjoys dancing with mantón (the shawl) because it gives her a sense of having the wings of a dove.
A mother of two, and a full time teacher of 20 years, Elizabeth brings a variety of life experience and style to her dance, and is grateful for the opportunity to share the joy of movement with those around her.
KELLY “KELLIENTE” RICHARDSON
A multitalented dancer, cardio dance instructor and comedienne who has appeared in multiple music videos, short films, news segments and on live stages across the country. She has tickled audiences at the famous “Comedy Store” in Hollywood, co-starred in a comedy film short for “Def Comedy Jam” on HBO, performed Flamenco with the CZ Flamenco Dance Company for the production of “Flamenco Loves Tango” in Santa Barbara, achieved first place as the Top L.A. Female Salsa Dancer in 2011, and more recently performed as a principal Flamenco dancer in a music video for pop singer, Anjeza. She was one of several instructors chosen to demonstrate a cardio dance Plyojam, hot, edgy Los Angeles-based dance fitness format created by Jason Layden, on the KTLA and KTTV morning news segments.
Originating from the state of Maryland, Kelly began ballet and tap lessons at age 4. After moving to Los Angeles at age 10, she continued formal dance lessons while honing her skills as an equestrienne in Jumping, Dressage and Polo after her father purchased her first horse, a former racehorse that was a chestnut, Thoroughbred-Quarter Horse mix. Due to her parents commitment to her evolvement through education, the arts and learning new crafts, she was active in tennis, ice skating, piano playing, and writing.
Although she was mesmerized by Flamenco earlier in her life, she was inspired to begin training in that genre after attending performances of the “Riverdance” show, which featured a segment with a Flamenco dancer. Kelly began her flamenco training in 2002 with Carolyn Berger (director of “Ritmo Flamenco”,) and she continued her training with Celina Zambon in 2006, where she met Raquel and Elizabeth. Celina asked her to join the CZ Flamenco Dance Company that performed all over Southern California for several years. In addition, she received additional training from Briseyda Zarate, Katerina Tomas, Cihtli Ocampo, Richard Chavez, and Alexandra Rozo.
While honing her flamenco skills on stage , Kelly also received intensive training in Salsa (primarily with Champion Charlene Rose), and minor training in Belly Dance (including zills and doumbek drumming), Irish Dance, American Ballroom, Brazilian Samba, and West Coast Swing. She competed and won first, second, and third places in various competitions for East Coast Swing, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, and Salsa. Her most notable was first place in the Top L.A. Female Salsa Solo Dancer competition in 2011.
Kelly currently teaches Salsa, Bachata and Flamenco at the historic 3rd Street Dance in West Hollywood. She teaches at the L.A. Bachata Festivals held twice-a-year, and she has performed Cabaret-style dance for two years at the Townhouse & Del Monte in Venice, California, that merged her comedic and dance skills.
In addition to performing and teaching salsa and flamenco on a regular basis throughout Southern California, Kelly is creating her unique one-woman show that will include comedy and dance that she aspires to debut in 2017.