Flamenco dancer, choreographer, master teacher and artistic director Briseyda Zárate Fernández, is a Chicana from California who grew up in a Mexican campesino household surrounded by music and art – her father and uncles guitarists, her mother and grandmother singers and her aunts dancers. She began training in the disciplines of ballet, jazz and tap dance at the age of 5 and performed professionally in these until the age of 18. It was then that her Flamenco journey began while accidentaly stumbling upon a flamenco performance while an undergrad at UCLA. She has dedicated the last 25 years of her life to the art of Flamenco. She has lived and performed extensively in Spain and the US and is among the few in the top-most level of those practicing this art form in the United States.
Her professional training began in Madrid at the prestigious school, Amor De Dios. There she studied with master Manuel Reyes Maya who noticed her dedication and talent and asked her to be part of his ensemble. She perfected her artistry by day and by night she performed at various tablaos, among them, El Cafe de Chinitas. El Juglar, Peña Flamenca Los Cabales and Al Andaluz. During this time she shared the stage with noted Gypsy and Spanish artists, Juan Treviño, Leo Treviño, El Ciervo, Antonia la Pescailla, La Chungi, Los Habichuela and La Truco. She travelled to Jerez de la Frontera where she studied with Manuela Carpio and Ana Maria Lopez, performing at the Peña Los Cernicalos and Sala Compañia for The Festival de Jerez under the direction of Javier La Torre. In Sevilla she studied with El Oruco and Juana Amaya and performed at the tablaos T de Triana and Sala Sin Miedo, accompanied by Fyty Carillo and Jonatan Reyes among others.
Upon her return from Spain, she competed and was awarded 1st place at the Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque “IV Concurso Nacional de Flamenco”. In Los Angeles, CA where she’s now based, she’s performed extensively with noted artists, Jose Tanaka, Gabriel Osuna, Yaelisa, Manuel Gutierrez, Jesus Montoya, Jose Cortez and many others. Venues include the Fountain Theater, The John Ahnson Ford Theater and The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion where she most recently choreographed CARMEN for the LA Opera. She and her company inaugurated the First Annual Los Angeles Flamenco Festival sharing the bill with Omayra Amaya and La Tania. She is featured in the award winning documentary “KUMPANIA” – Flamenco Los Angeles by Katina Dunn.
In addition to being an accomplished dancer, Briseyda is also a sought out singer. Her first songs where as a child accompanied by her dad’s guitar. Since she has sung in inumerous performances and accompanies flamenco dancers and performs solo regularly. She also combines flamenco song and dance seamlessly, making for a unique performance.
Briseyda is passionate about being both a good artist and a good teacher. She has a gift for teaching seemingly unavailable skills by breaking down the complex and making it simple , accessible and enjoyable. She is also notorious for taking students to the next level of understanding as if by magic and has trained and mentored numerous flamenco dancers to become professional.
Briseyda knows from experience and believes whole-heartedly that Flamenco is a very strong energetic force with a pull as strong as the oceans, that has the ability to heal you. She takes this deeper knowing of Flamenco very matter of factly as truth. It goes way beyond learning steps in a studio. Flamenco has a profound effect and can change your life.