Solaz: Creative Team

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Adrian Arias
Artistic Director
Adrian Arias is a prize-winning multidisciplinary performer, visual artist, poet, curator, cultural promoter, and art teacher, working and living in the Bay Area since 2000. Adrian has participated in international individual and collective exhibitions and performances in France, Spain, Italy, Macedonia, Poland, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Japan, Peru, and the US. He is one of the founders and creators of MAPP (Mission Arts Performance Project) and creates iconic Festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area such as: VideoFest, Luna Negra, and ILLUSION show, a one-day happening event at de Young Museum, MCCLA, and SOMARTS. Since 1999, Adrian has worked in big scale Altar-installations for Day of the Dead exhibitions at San Francisco Symphony, Oakland Museum, MCCLA, and SOMARTS. He is considered a pioneer of video art and multimedia shows in Peru, his country of origin, where he is a descendant of the ancient Mochica culture.
José Cortés
José Cortés is part of an important gypsy family from Almería. At the age of ten, José began his career in Jerez de la Frontera where he won the “Premio del Joven Aficionado del Cante Flamenco,” accompanied on guitar by Terremoto Hijo. He was immersed in the world of flamenco with the great artists, such as Terremoto, Pansequito, Camarón de la Isla, Moraito Chico, and Tomatito. In his formative years, José was deeply influenced by the legendary flamenco singer Camaron de la Isla, who also mentored him. José has shared the stage with flamenco artists such as Alfonso Losa, Belén Lopez, Carmen Ledesma, Sergio Arranda, Juan Carmona, Nino de los Reyes, and Antonio Carmona. He is a frequent guest artist with Jesús Muñoz Flamenco and has sung for Israel Galván, Angelita Gómez, and Javier Latorre. In 2010, he moved to the United States and has worked with many local artists and organizations, including singing for the San Francisco Opera in Giselle. José has shared the stage with great artists during many live performances and TV specials including the Gipsy Kings, James Brown, Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis, Eva Longoria, and Tony Parker.
Melissa Cruz
Melissa Cruz is a Bay Area-based flamenco artist who has been performing and teaching for the past 15 years. She began training with the Bay Area’s acclaimed flamenco master Rosa Montoya and soon thereafter, joined Ms. Montoya's professional company. Melissa has performed as a soloist in the SF International Arts Festival and has danced in eight SF Ethnic Dance Festivals, twice as a featured soloist. In 2013, she was commissioned to present a solo representing the genre of flamenco for the SF Isadora Duncan Awards Ceremony. She currently continues as principal dancer and choreographer for the San Francisco Flamenco Dance Company and has collaborated with Flamenco Fever, Oleaje Flamenco, Quiero Flamenco, Arte y Pasion, Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, Tucson Flamenco Festival, St. Louis Flamenco Society, Flamenco Pacifico, Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco, and Caminos Flamencos. Recently, she was Artistic Director of "The Flamenco Room," San Francisco’s longest running cabaret flamenco show.
Patty Ann Farrell
Lighting Designer
Patty Ann Farrell has been a Lighting Designer throughout the Bay Area for over four decades. She has deeply impacted the local performing arts field, serving in the roles as production manager, stage manager, and lighting designer for many dance, theatrical works, and special events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Washington D.C., Tokyo, Hawaii, and up and down the West Coast of the United States. Her work has taken her into artistic collaborations with many wonderful artists over the years. She has created lighting designs for literally thousands of events, including hundreds of San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival performances, as well as performances by the Oakland Ballet, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, the Black Choreographers’ Festival, Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu’s annual Hula Show, Ballet Afsaneh, and many, many more. Patty Ann has received many awards for her work, including four prestigious Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and a Bay Area Critic’s Circle Award for her outstanding lighting designs.
Gary Haggerty
Musician (Oud)
Gary Haggerty is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist, playing a wide range of string instruments from various traditions. In addition to the violin and viola, he plays a variety of lutes including the oud, laouto, mandocello, tarhu, and saz. He plays with the world music ensembles Teslim and Stellamara, we well as several other Bay Area groups such as Janam and The Helladelics. He has studied with oud master Naseer Shamma and has studied, recorded, and performed with Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma. He has toured with the Mevlevi Dervish (Sufi) Order of America and continues to participate in Turkish ceremonial and devotional gatherings around the country. In addition to being a composer and performer, Gary is a talented luthier, repairing stringed instruments of every variety; coaxing sound from sazes, violins, rebabs, restoring lutes and lyras, making bows and finding ingenious ways to allow the true voice of an instrument to come forth.
Cristina Hall
Cristina Hall is a flamenco artist of uncommon artistry, technique, and innovative vision. She grew up in San Francisco and has made flamenco her life in Spain, having moved there in 2001. Cristina pushes dance forward through her artistic rigor and respect for flamenco’s deep tradition, which she interprets through her unique international lens. She has performed with many outstanding companies such as Israel Galvan and Andres Marin and performs regularly in tablaos. Cristina has danced as part of Israel Galván’s company at Teatro Central of Sevilla and has collaborated with Manuela Rios at the Festival de Jerez. She presented her show "Ensueño" in connection with the Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla, as well as choreographing and performing Monocromo for the Bienal de Sevilla in 2014. She has worked and choreographed on many high-profile stages in Spain since then and now has her own company that presents her work internationally.
La Tania
Artistic Director, Choreographer, Dancer
La Tania has spent more than four decades setting the international standard as an innovator and icon of traditional and contemporary flamenco. Her work has earned her top honors and recognition including prestigious Choreographers Fellowships from both the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Artistic Excellence, the Arts Achievement Award for Contemporary Dance from San Francisco Focus, as well as many grants from agencies and foundations including The National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, James Irvine Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and others. La Tania began her professional career at age 17 dancing and touring with multiple companies in Spain, and soon danced as a soloist in the major Tablaos of Madrid, such as Canasteros, La Venta del Gato and the prestigious Corral de la Moreria where she performed for many years, eventually becoming its star dancer, followed by touring as a soloist with some of Spain's most renowned Flamenco companies. Traveling with Paco Peña, Mario Maya, Los Flamenco Somos Asi and others, La Tania danced throughout Europe, North Africa, Japan, and Mexico. In 1991, La Tania started her own company in Madrid and toured extensively, including performing in 1993 in California where she decided to relocate.
Jose Luis de la Paz
Musician (Guitar)
Jose Luis de la Paz is an award-winning guitarist, recognized in all three disciplines of the Flamenco art. He is a composer, virtuoso, and performer whose original compositions range from the most traditional to the most experimental forms in flamenco music. He became the prized pupil of the legendary Mario Escudero at the age of 15. The unique versatility of Jose Luis de la Paz allows him to accompany singers and dancers, as well as write songs and solo work. He has collaborated with world renowned artists such as Cristina Hoyos, Siudy, Garrido, Jose Merce, Concha Buika, Belen Maya, Farruquito, Antonio Canales, La Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Jose Luis’ commitment to his practice, his profound knowledge of the tradition and the roots combined with his desire for research and experimentation, and his contemporary approach to flamenco music, makes him one of the best guitarists in the world.
Mizuho Sato
Mizuho Sato was born in Iwate, Japan. She started classical ballet at the age of 3 and shifted her career to flamenco at the age of 18. When she was 20, she received awards from the Japanese Flamenco Association and the Ambassador of Spain. In 2003 she moved to Los Angeles and since has been featured in many projects such as the LA flamenco documentary Kumpania, Houston Flamenco Festival, Forever Flamenco at The Ford Theatre, and LA Opera’s Carmen. Mizuho’s style evolves continuously with much respect to her 35+ teachers who she has learned from. Currently, she lives in San Francisco and in 2021 debuted her own company Mizuho Sato Flamenco Company with a show called "¡FLAMENKING!" to spread the power of healing "flamencura" and to embrace the multicultural Bay Area flamenco scene. She continues to thrive as a cross-cultural dancer and is mixing experimental flamenco with contemporary and hip-hop movement.
Faisal Zedan
Musician (Derbakki)
Faisal Zedan is an Arabic percussionist and drummer who and was born in Lebanon and raised in Syria. He grew up impassioned with the derbakki (Arabic drum) and at the age of 15, after intensive study with a local drummer, Faisal became exposed to a wide repertoire of Arabic classical and contemporary music, playing on derbakki, riqq, and frame drums from Arabic and Middle Eastern music genres. Upon arrival in California in 1991, he joined the acclaimed UCLA Near East Music Ensemble directed by Dr. Ali Jihad Racy. Faisal is affiliated with several groups including Kan Zaman, Qadim, Stellamara, and Aswat Ensemble. In addition to his collaborations with local and international artists, Faisal has taught at music camps, conducted workshops around the world, and has produced instructional DVDs on derbakki fundamentals and Arabic percussion. He currently teaches Arabic drumming traditions focused in Syria and Egypt.

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