After completing a BFA at the San Francisco Art Institute Kerensa relocated to Madrid to pursue intensive flamenco studies in 1996. In her eight years abroad she trained intensively with some of Spain's foremost flamenco artists including the legendary Toni ‘El Pelao.’ Pelao selected Kerensa to set three of his most well known choreographies including the Farruca, the signature dance of his family.
An early member of FatChanceBellyDance of San Francisco, Kerensa brought the group's signature Tribal style to Spain, becoming one of the first instructors and later founding a school for her unique style of Tribal belly dance. While in Madrid, her explorations into flamenco and middle eastern fusion caught the eye of popular world music group Radio Tarifa. She toured with Radio Tarifa as a featured dancer over three years, making her debut performance at Madrid’s prestigious Teatro Calderón.
With members of Radio Tarifa she formed the ‘Kerensa Oriental Band’ a music and dance collective which became known for its unique interpretations of flamenco, north african and middle eastern musical traditions. The KOB performed with its seven international members in Spain from 1999-2003 and was given a four week residency at Madrid’s Teatro Pradillo in 2003. The KOB also created the critically acclaimed children’s musical theater show “The Magic Train.”
Returning to San Francisco in 2004, Kerensa became artistic director of the Flamenco Room, a weekly Flamenco show now in its fifteenth consecutive year. The Flamenco Room hosts guest artists from Spain and serves as a home for local artists to develop and present new work. The Flamenco Room has been profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Mercury News and enjoys a consistent following for its high caliber performances.
Kerensa danced with Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco from 2005-2010 under the direction of Carola Zertuche. During that time she performed with the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theater Company and danced in the International Arts Festival in Doha, Qatar. She has performed in five seasons of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival at the Palace of Fine Arts. Kerensa is a regular performer at Bay Area tablaos and has worked with local Flamenco companies including Caminos Flamencos.
Kerensa has worked extensively throughout her career with musicians from many backgrounds including Moroccan Gnawa, Gypsy Flamenco, Lebanese, Turkish Romani, Latin Jazz and more. She has directed a series of full length flamenco programs often including musicians of other disciplines. Kerensa has presented her work in Madrid, San Francisco, Barcelona and Paris. Since 2009 she has staged six major works:
- the Flamenco/Moroccan fusion Zahara;
- an investigation into the Moorish influences in flamenco Flamenco al Andalus;
- a Romani/Flamenco collaboration Zambra Flamenca;
- a confluence of Flamenco/Indian/Middle Eastern dancers Enlaces/Interweave;
- Flamenca, a contemporary dialogue between seven international women artists,
- Mares, an homage to the iconic women artists of 20th century flamenco.
An enthusiastic instructor Kerensa teaches flamenco for both children and adults in San Francisco. She has been a guest instructor at international dance festivals in Barcelona, Madrid and Paris and at universities including St. Mary's College and the University of Wisconsin.
Kerensa served on the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee in 2013 and received an Individual Artist Commission from the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2016. She is the artistic director of the San Francisco Flamenco Dance Company (SFFDC). The SFFDC will present 5xLorca as part of the 2018 San Francisco International Arts Festival in May 2018. For more information about SFFDC please visit our website at www.sanfranciscoflamenco.com