Deborah Elias Bio

Deborah Elias is a flamenco dancer, director, and choreographer in the reknowned Twin Cities dance scene. Since 1996 she has appeared in more than 20 productions of nationally acclaimed company Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, and in 2010 began creating and presenting her own work as Deborah Elias Danza Española. Her work has included experimental piece Damnation (2014 in collaboration with artist Barbara Roche) and flamenco theater pieces Palabras al viento (2011), The Moon's Desire (2010), and Tia (2007), as well as shows of traditional flamenco, Las Flamencas (2013) and Flamenco Pure & Strong (2011), which toured to 13 cities across Minnesota.

Ms. Elias has received such awards as a coveted Next Step Fund grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (through a grant from the McKnight Foundation), an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and a Travel & Study grant from the Jerome Foundation. Her company has received multiple Arts Learning and Community Arts grants from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Arts Tour grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and Co-Production/Catalyst support from Intermedia Arts. She has served on panels for the Sage Awards, Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and COMPAS.

She began her flamenco training in 1994 in her native city of Minneapolis with acclaimed dancer and choreographer Susana di Palma, a mentorship that evolved into a strong and lasting artistic partnership. She has also enriched her dancing and knowledge of the flamenco art form during numerous trips to Spain, studying in Jerez de la Frontera with Domingo Ortega and Isabel Bayón, and in Madrid's famed Amor de Dios studios with La Tati, Maria Magdalena, and Merche Esmeralda.

A dedicated and sought-after educator, Ms. Elias has been providing quality arts education for more than 15 years through Compas, the Minnesota State Arts Board Roster of Teaching Artists, the Target Distance Learning Program of the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, and as a Cultural Partner of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's Connect Program (now defunct). She teaches ongoing adult classes in St. Paul, and also teaches regularly at Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre and School and the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, and has taught at the University of Minnesota and St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. It is her vision and inspiration to use the palpable, visceral intensity of flamenco as a means for connecting with people from all walks of life and together exploring our shared humanity.