CaluJules—Flamenco Plus is a partnership between dancer-singer, Claudia Aguirre (a.k.a. Calú) and flamenco guitarist, Julian Berg. Together, they teach flamenco in Waterloo and the north-east districts of Toronto. They are passionate about community-building and arts education, having led workshops for organizations such as Wheeldance Canada and the VIVA Youth Singers Choir. They are avid contributors to Canada’s growing flamenco scene. CaluJules perform shows, teach, accompany guest artists, and have collaborated with some of Canada’s finest, including Compañia Carmen Romero and Maria Serrano’s Flamenco Dance Academy.
Achievements include founding the Little KW Flamenco Fest, a community-level arts festival that introduces the art of flamenco to fellow community members and bring together flamenco enthusiasts old and new. For this project, they were awarded the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund, 2018. Claudia and Julian have started ‘Working with an Accompanist—a Guitarist’s perspective’ workshops for flamenco dancers in Toronto, facilitating the independence of flamenco dance students looking for the tools to work with accompanists on their own. They have been invited to lead workshops and perform at the University of Waterloo, including a presentation on art for health during a Mental Health Awareness Day event founded by Aguirre. Other prominent educational organizations that have recruited them include SHAD Waterloo, a national enrichment program for exceptional youth.
Our artistic goals include imparting knowledge on the delicate and integral interrelationship between dancers and musicians in flamenco, and educating audiences and students about the sub-genres of flamenco, their tradition, idiosyncrasies, and characters. We also aim to model how flamenco, as an intergenerational and multi- disciplinary art form grounded in culture and tradition, can be utilized in the Canadian context for community-building and artistic development.
Hi, I’m Claudia
Photo by Levent Erutku
My passion for dance began as a child, watching my mom as she danced around the house for calisthenics. My formal training later began with Toronto’s Spanish dance pioneer, Paula Moreno, and afterwards, with Carmen Romero. I spent several happy years at Carmen’s School of Flamenco Dance and she continues to be a mentor to this day. More recently, I have taken classes with Toronto’s newest flamenca formidable—Maria Serrano—and performed as a vocalist in her 2017 school showcase. In the interim of these endeavours, I met and re-met Julian on my trips to Spain, where I have taken classes with flamenco singers, Laura Roman and Jesus Corbacho, and dancer, Soraya Clavijo.
Apart from flamenco, I have also studied jazz and classical upright bass, Bollywood dance, hip-hop, and musical theatre. Igniting my interest in music was my dad, who has always kept a lively and musical home. One of my earliest post-secondary vocal instructors was jazzer, Lynn McDonald, followed by musical theatre vocalist, Louisa Burgess Corbett.
During my Master’s, I explored pole dancing within the philosophical debate of ‘what is art’? I continue to be amazed by the skills of pole dance artists and athletes. Now, as a PhD student in Urban Planning, I am looking into social isolation, aging, and arts-for-health in the suburbs.
Thank you for visiting my page and for taking an interest in me!
B.A. & M.A. Dance; Commercial Dance College Certificate
Hi, I’m Julian
As a child, my interest in guitar was sparked seeing my older cousins rocking out on theirs. My grandparents must have noticed my longing to play, because at age 9 they bought me my first guitar.
At 15 years old, I signed up for lessons with Bettina Flater and, soon after, with Jesús Panea Morente. Around this time, I also searched for flamenco on YouTube and started following Jason McGuire, who offered flamenco guitar lessons online when YouTube was still in its infancy. But it was by witnessing Jesús accompanying dance classes that I came to appreciate accompaniment as a skill-set significant to flamenco. Thanks to Jesús’ encouragement, I sought out training in Spain and at Paco Peña’s conservatory flamenco program in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
While at Codarts Conservatory, I was exposed to music theory and Baroque music. Composition is a craft I am still developing by taking classes with conductor, Howard Dyck, as well as composer, Professor Alexander Rapoport. It is a practice that reminds me of my interest in programming, in that by cleverly applying or bending rules, the person crafting the work can create a desired aesthetic.
I am grateful I had the opportunity to study with such talented people. I now aim to facilitate the guitar-learning process for people who take classes from me.