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.
Claudia Aguirre’s training in Spanish dance began with one of Toronto’s flamenco and Spanish dance pioneers, at Paula Moreno’s School of Spanish Dance. She later spent several happy years training as a vocalist at Carmen Romero’s School of Flamenco Dance Arts. More recently, Claudia has taken classes with Toronto’s newest flamenca on scene—Maria Serrano—and was part of the musical ensemble in her academy’s 2017 showcase of Memorias de Tablao and for the company’s Toronto-debut of Por Derecho, 2019. In the interim of these endeavours, Claudia has gone on trips to Spain where she has taken classes with master flamenco dancers and singers, including Laura R oman, Soraya Clavijo, Jesus Corbacho, and taken workshops with visiting artists in Toronto, including Carmen Ledesma, Alba Serrano, and Ali de la Tota.
Apart from training in flamenco, Claudia has practiced various dance and music genres, including jazz vocals, musical theatre, Bollywood dance, hip-hop, bass guitar and upright bass. She holds a Certificate from the triple-threat Commercial Dance Program from George Brown College, as well as a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree from York University’s Department of Dance, with a Minor in Music. Former instructors include: jazz vocalists, Lynn McDonald, and Shannon Gunn; musical theatre vocalist, Louisa Burgess Corbett; musical theatre vocal coach, Kevin Nelson; musical theatre dancer, Stephan Scott Findlay; contemporary jazz choreographer, Annie Wood; and hip hop choreographer, Katarina Rajkovic.
Claudia now co-runs her own business with her spouse, Julian Berg. Together, they are cultivating the flamenco scene in Kitchener-Waterloo, as well as in the suburban districts of the Toronto, by teaching classes and workshops in flamenco dance, singing, and guitar. In 2018, they founded Kitchener-Waterloo’s first ever flamenco festival—The Little KW Flamenco Fest which was recently renamed The Grand River Flamenco Fest and registered as a non-profit organization. She recently received a Graduate Diploma in Urban Planning for which she focused her studies on planning for the arts, cultural planning in suburban communities, and arts for health.
Julian Berg is a flamenco guitarist from Oslo, Norway, who trained in flamenco guitar in a post-secondary conservatory program, and moved to Canada six years ago. A s a teenager, Julian took lessons with flamenco guitarist, Bettina Flater, and later with with Jesús Panea Morente. During this time, young, motivated Julian also studied hard on his own, soaking in as much as he could from online sources; namely, from the instructional videos of Jason McGuire and Adam del Monte. While this certainly developed self-discipline, it was no replacement for knowledge imparted unto him by Morente, who showed him the importance and skill-set required for accompanying flamenco dance and singing, and who encouraged Julian to pursue post-secondary flamenco training.
It was at Codarts Conservatory in The Netherlands where Julian refined his skills as a dance accompanist through the formal guitar accompaniment classes and through extra-curricular training. During the summers, he would seek out additional training in the heartland of flamenco, in Andalusia, Spain. Summer programs included training at the Academy of Cristina Herren, and at a summer intensive with flamenco guitarist and composer, Gerardo Nuñez, to name a few. While at Codarts, Julian was under the direction of instructors such as: world renowned guitarist, Paco Peña; dancers, Irene Álvarez and “Flamenkika;” flamenco singer, Carmen Fernandez; and flamenco guitarists, Alexander Gávilan, and Ricardo Mendeville. At Codarts, he was also given the opportunity to receive guest workshops with some of the finest flamenco artists on the international circuit, such as Diego del Morao, Chiquelo, José Manuel León, and Arcángel. Through the Conservatory training, Julian was also exposed to formal composition classes which ignited an interest studying Baroque style composition. He continues to develop his knowledge of composition and music theory through self-study and mentorship with composition instructors when possible.
Julian is now a permanent resident of Canada and co-runs CalúJules—Flamenco Plus with his spouse, Claudia Aguirre. Since moving to Canada, he has performed with several Canada-based flamenco companies and artists, including Compañia Carmen Romero, for numerous artists at the Toronto Flamenco Tablao, and for internationally-renowned flamenco dancer, Maria Serrano. He has also accompanied workshops by visiting guest artists, such as Andrés Peña, and Myriam Allard. In 2018, Julian and his partner, Claudia, founded Kitchener-Waterloo’s first ever flamenco festival—The Little KW Flamenco Fest, now a non-profit called The Grand River Flamenco Fest. Together, they are cultivating a budding flamenco scene in their community by bringing in international guest artists for the Fest, and by offering year-round classes in flamenco and music theory, guitar, dance and vocal accompaniment.