Flamenco Tour 2014

Jerez Spring 2104 Poster PicWant to know what it’s like to study flamenco in Spain?

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Spring Tour 2014:  May 19 – June 2, 2014

Where:  Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucía

Who: You, if you’re interested.  Really, this trip can be for anyone.  You may be an experienced flamenco or you may be an absolute beginner.  Perhaps you’ve been to Spain before, perhaps this will be your first trip.

“JUST DO IT” You will NEVER regret the decision to “JUST DO IT”… Contact Laura, now and sign up.” - Pat France

What: A small-group trip to Jerez for a workshop with Mercedes Ruíz, bulerías classes with Ana María López & Carmen Herrera, intimate performance hosted by Mercedes in her studio, massage and soak at the Arabic bathhouse, palmas classes, bodega tour & sherry tasting, lodging minutes away from our dance studios, flamenco shopping tour, support sessions with Laura, Q&A time with Laura, opening night tapas reception, walking tour of Jerez, trip packet with tips and info, small group support and individual attention.

Read more about it below or on the FlamencoTour site!

“I have been to a number of flamenco festivals and schools, but I have never had a flamenco experience like this.  Laura’s trip was intimate and personalized:  Small classes with the top instructors in Jerez created just for us, cultural experiences that we could not have had without Laura’s expert knowledge, and fabulous performances that were not available to the general public. Through Laura’s unique relationships in Jerez we had access to artists and venues that would not have been possible without her.

And through it all Laura was there to interpret, answer our questions, reinforce what we learned with solidification sessions, and make sure we were having the time of our life.

It’s the experience I had always wanted to find in Spain and it has greatly enhanced my understanding of flamenco.”

-Stefani Miller


The Idea

I’ve gone to Spain to study several times.  On my own.  With family.  With friends.  At festivals.  Each had its benefits, but none really fulfilled my flamenco learning desires.  Finally, a couple of years ago, I realized what I truly wanted from my flamenco study trips.

It was the spring of 2011, and I was studying in Jerez.   I was exposed to a lot of flamenco.  I took many classes.  Perhaps too many.  I saw shows.  I learned.  I was with a friend most of the time.  I met new friends.  And I had a good time indeed.

I loved being in a place where relaxation was built into the day.  I loved the sunshine.  I loved meeting new people.  I loved walking down the street and hearing flamenco.  And I especially loved my classes with Mercedes.  But it was also very hard.  And I thought a lot about how I might do it differently.

Almost daily I wished to be taking a workshop rather than struggling through the established classes that had been going on all year.  I wished to be with others like me who were only there temporarily.  But not in the HUGE classes offered during the festivals. I wanted to be in a small group, with people who could relate to my experiences.

Then I realized that if I wanted this, others must too.  So I decided to organize a trip, my ideal flamenco trip.  And, in October of 2012 it happened.  And it was wonderful.  We did another trip in the Spring of 2013 one more in the fall of 2013, and now it’s time for one more.

So, I invite you to join me in Jerez.  To dance, to do palmas, to hear flamenco all around you, to learn from one of the best, to experience flamenco in Spain, in its birthplace.  To do it with me, someone who’s been there before, who speaks the language, and who believes in having a great time.

¡Hay que pasarlo bien!

If this sounds like it might be for you, read on, and subscribe to the Spain Tour list.


“A fabulous, life-changing flamenco experience with special friends in Jerez, Spain.  Laura, without your dream of taking us with you, I would have no life-changing experience I am treasuring… I will welcome you back and cherish all we shared…I am a beginner, so some of my hesitations were that these are real pros, and will I fit in.  I’ve shared this with many people, that it was life-changing for me…I think that they bent over backwards to make sure we were comfortable at all levels.”    - Pat France

Click here to see where we’ll be dancing…and who we’ll be dancing with!


“Let me start with the positives.  They were all positive.  There was absolutely no negative element at all in this whole trip…Our abilities were wide from very experienced dancers to beginners.  And with Mercedes it was absolutely amazing.  She was able to address everybody’s individual needs…The classes were amazing, both with Mercedes and with Ani.  And that bulerías class with Ani was just a kick.  We had so much fun…The best part for me was the camaraderie between the group.  We all came from different walks of life.  We had different experiences, and yet the flamenco was what connected us..for us to be able to congregate in that beautiful city and just be immersed in the whole experience is something I’ll never forget.”  - Jackie Villegas MacLin, Spain Tour 2012

Click here to see past participants talk about their experiences.


A small group workshop (daily classes) including some live accompaniment catered especially to you by Mercedes Ruíz. (She is wonderful and beautiful and fabulous – an incredibly talented dancer who takes extreme pride in teaching.) Supplementary instruction with Laura or other teachers tbd based on level & individual needs

An intimate performance hosted by Mercedes Ruíz with Mercedes and her top dancers with guitarist Santiago Lara and cantaor David Lagos (or another wonderful cantaor)

Bulerías classes at Peña los Cernícalos with Ana María López and Carmen Herrera and live cante and guitarra

Palmas and rhythm classes

Support sessions with Laura to practice material studied in class

Spa!  A relaxing visit to the Hammam Andalusí (Arabic baths) for a massage and to soak in the baths.  Click here to learn more about what we do at the hammam.

A cute apartment in the historic Barrio San Miguel just minutes away from the dance studio and two of the most well-known flamenco peñas.  Multiple occupancy apartments equipped with kitchen, washing machine, living and sleeping area.  (Private rooms available at additional cost.)

A walking tour of Jerez (to the Catederal, the Alcázar, bodegas, flamenco barrios Santiago & San Miguel, las plazas…)

A sherry tasting and bodega tour

A flamenco shopping tour including a visit to the shop of Mercedes’s seamstress Fatima.

A visit to the Centro Andalúz de Flamenco (and my favorite place to get a café nearby)

Q & A time with Laura

Opening night tapas reception and informational meeting

Small group size and individual attention

Trip packet including a map of Jerez, recommended restaurants and stores, survival Spanish phrases, and tips from Laura and friends

A bilingual guide (me!) with you in all of your classes and accompanying you on all group excursions

Optional add-on visit to see the famous Andalusian Horse show at the Fundación Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre

A chance to do all of these things with a small, supportive group of people


View more photos

by 1.) clicking here and 2.) clicking here, and 3.) clicking here.

How do I really know if this is for me?

Perhaps you’re still unsure about whether or not this trip is for you.  So, here it is…

Yes, it’s for you
If you want to study flamenco in Spain with top-notch instructors in small classes tailored to your needs with a group of people interested in the same, if you want to have things organized for you by someone who is overjoyed to be doing this and has done it before, if you want to be exposed to a lot of good flamenco, if you have a sense of humor and enjoy having fun while you learn, chances are this will be your thing.

No, it’s not for you
If you don’t want to dance much, don’t like learning alongside others, do not enjoy a multi-level learning environment, or are only interested in results and not in having fun in the process then this is not the trip for you.

If you’re still not sure, see the FAQs and watch what past participants had to say.

The bulerias classes with Ana were fantastic… for me, I loved hearing the bulerias singer… singing all different letras over and over…  Ana was a hoot of course; smoking away and drinking her quarts of cold beer.  It was like being in a flamenco movie.  Stepping foot inside my first real peña was pretty freakin’ awesome.  It was a little scary and intimidating at first… but Ana loved us… because they all love Laura of course.  With the foundation I had from Laura’s bulerias classes (which are similarly designed) I was able to understand the framework at another ‘layer’… this crazy art form is all about layers… like an onion, it can sometimes make one weepy…

Mercedes… well, what can one say?  …Besides being a riveting, entrancing and amazing dancer, she is an excellent teacher as well.  Everything we did in technique class was incorporated in choreography… everything.  Lots of lightbulb moments.  She’s an absolute gem in the realm of flamenco.  And having Santiago play for us and David Lagos sing on the last day was more icing on the cake.

So many great activities… 
– Becky Poynter


Monday, May 19 to Monday, June 2, 2014 (classes begin Tuesday, May 20)

The Investment:


Initial Payment of $500 to save your spot

All payments are non-refundable.

Payment plans available.

To register*:

1. Email us at:  info [at] portlandflamencoevents [dot] com

2. Send your initial payment to:

Portland Flamenco Events
PO Box 25581
Portland, OR 97298-0581

Please be sure to email us to register prior to purchasing your plane ticket.

Have Questions?

This page should help.

To ask a more specific question:

Contact info [at] portlandflamencoevents [dot] com

Space is limited, so please don’t hesitate if this feels like the thing for you!

What do I have to figure out?

Not a lot really. Which is good because it can be hard for us to figure things out in Spain…

You are responsible for:
All transportation
Most meals, though I will point you in the direction of favorite restaurants and markets (You will have a kitchen in your apartment.)
Personal expenses

Will I have any time to myself?  Yes.  On the trip you will have both time to yourself and time with the group.

Connect with Flamenco Tour on Facebook!

How are the teachers?  Good.  Very, very good.  Mercedes makes you feel completely at ease (which is not always the case with teachers in España) and Ani showers you with some of the best tips ever, Carmen gives you just the moves you need, and Pedro explains things from a new perspective.

I want to see them dance. See them dance below and

CLICK HERE to see more of Mercedes

CLICK HERE to see more of Carmen

* Trip details subject to change

* Jacaranda photograph courtesy of Diana Welch