Kerensa DeMars is a Flamenco dancer, instructor and choreographer. Known for her unique synthesis of Flamenco and Middle Eastern dance she has performed internationally at venues including London's Royal Festival Hall, the Teatro Calderón of Madrid, the Tivoli Theater in Barcelona and San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center. The founding director of the San Francisco Flamenco Dance Company, Kerensa lived in Spain from 1997-2004 where she trained intensively in flamenco dance with some of Spain’s foremost flamenco artists. Prior to founding the SFFDC Kerensa performed with major flamenco companies in the US including Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco and the Juan Siddi Flamenco Company.
An early member of an internationally renown ATS dance company of San Francisco, Kerensa brought the group's signature Tribal style to Spain, becoming one of the first instructors and later founding a school. 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 a music and dance collective known for its unique interpretations of Flamenco, North African and Middle Eastern musical traditions. The group 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. Together they 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 sixteenth 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. Kerensa served on the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee in 2013 and received Individual Artist Commissions from the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2016 and 2018.
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 these major works:
Volver a contemporary Flamenco work with musical score by internationally renown musicians Amir John Haddad and Ali Paris and original soundscapes featuring the poetry of Leonard Cohen, Federico Garcia Lorca and Cecilia Woloch. Brava Theater (San Francisco);
5xLorca (Lorca by Five), where five flamenco choreographers interpret selections by poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Fort Mason Center for the Arts (San Francisco);
Mares, an homage to the iconic women artists of 20th century Flamenco at the Brava Theater (San Francisco);
Flamenca, a contemporary dialogue between seven international women artists at La Peña Cultural Center (Berkeley);
a confluence of Flamenco/Indian/Middle Eastern dancers Enlaces (Interweave) at the Teatro Casa de Vacas (Madrid) and Theatre L'Espace Jean Dame (Paris)
a Romani/Flamenco collaboration Zambra Flamenca at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (San Francisco);
an investigation into the Moorish influences in Flamenco Flamenco al Andalus at La Peña Cultural Center (Berkeley);
the Flamenco/Moroccan collaboration Zahara at the Cowell Theater (San Francisco) and the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
Kerensa was commissioned by Dance Mission Theater to create the work Refugio - examining the effects of climate change on the Syrian refugee crisis. The work premiered in March 2019 at the Dance in Revolt(ing) Times (D.I.R.T.) Festival at Dance Mission Theater.
An enthusiastic and patient instructor, Kerensa has been teaching dance for over twenty years. She holds a regular schedule of Flamenco classes for youth and adults and travels internationally to impart Flamenco dance and choreography workshops. Kerensa has created several works for children including ¿Dónde está Don Quixote? a Flamenco show for families that premiered at the 2018 San Francisco International Arts Festival. The second work in the series, Don Quixote Rides Again premiered in May 2019.
In 2016 Kerensa founded the San Francisco Flamenco Dance Company (SFFDC). In that same year the SFFDC presented Mares at the Brava Theater and performed on opening weekend of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Kerensa directed two SFFDC premieres for the 2018 San Francisco International Arts Festival. In January 2019 she directed the SFFDC’s new work Volver. For more information about SFFDC please visit www.sanfranciscoflamenco.com
Kerensa recently opened Studio K Flamenco where she imparts a full schedule of classes, hosts visiting artists from Spain and directs the performance series Studio K Presents. For more information please visit StudioKFlamenco.com