Clara Rodriguez is artistic director and founder of AguaClara Flamenco, based in Oakland, CA. She has been training and working professionally in the flamenco world for 25 years, and has since been a featured soloist in productions throughout the United States, Spain, Portugal and India.
Clara was drawn to flamenco at an early age in her native Santa Barbara, California, a town recognized for its abundance of dance schools in flamenco and Spanish classical genres. Her first teachers were Roberto Amaral, Linda Vega and Kathy Cota, and she was fortunate to attend workshops by visiting flamenco artists from Spain including Eva La Yerbabuena and Belen Maya. Having moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA, where she obtained a B.A. in Ethnomusicology, Clara began working in the local tablaos or flamenco dance venues and theaters. She performed regularly with Soniquete Flamenco, directed by Jose Tanaka, and as soloist and company member with Roberto Amaral’s company “España Clásica”. She appeared at the Fountain Theatre “Forever Flamenco” series, Greek Theater, Kodak Theater, and Alex Theater. In 2005 she had the opportunity to join Benise as a flamenco soloist in a PBS Special and twenty-city US tour “Nights of Fire”, and was later invited to perform in India along with the company at the Jaipur Palace. In 2007 Clara danced in the music video for Iron and Wine “Boy with a Coin”.
Clara moved to the Andalucia region of Spain in 2008 after several extended stays in 2003 and 2006. While living in Granada she performed regularly at such venues as Tablao Albayzin, Venta el Gallo, Eshavira, and Zoraya de los Jardines alongside such noted artists as Rafalín Habichuela, Emilio Maya, Ana Calí and Juan Angel Tirado amongst others. She studied extensively in Sevilla, Granada and Madrid with master teachers Juana Amaya, Concha Vargas, Andrés Marín, Isabel Bayón, Andres Peña, Úrsula Lopez, Ana Calí, Patricia Guerrero and a host of others. During this time she also studied flamenco singing with the legendary Inés Bacán of Lebrija.
In 2010 she relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and established her company in 2011. She presented her first full length work “Somos Tierra: A Flamenco Landscape” at the Cowell Theater in November 2012, produced by the Azahar Dance Foundation and featuring guest artists La Tania and Timo Nuñez. In September 2015 she presented her second show, “Diálogos” with guest artists Carola Zertuche and Juan Siddi at the Cowell Theater, also produced by Azahar Dance Foundation. In May of 2016 she presented “Compás y Corazón: Tablao Flamenco” at the San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF), and in June of 2016 her company presented a piece “Martinete” for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival at the Palace of Fine Arts.
Frequently featured as soloist with the leading flamenco companies of the region including Yaelisa Caminos Flamencos, La Tania Baile Flamenco, and Theatre Flamenco, Clara has appeared on the stages of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, War Memorial Opera House, Palace of Fine Arts, deYoung Museum, Paramount Theatre of Oakland, and others. In 2014 she had the honor to share the stage with the late and legendary Kathak dancer Chitresh Das in his production of Yatra along with Antonio Hidalgo of Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana. As a company member of Caminos Flamencos “Nuevas Tendencias”, the group was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for “Best Company” in 2015.
Clara performs regularly on the local flamenco circuit, with appearances at Thirsty Bear, The Sound Room, Yoshi’s, Rhythmix Cultural Works, The New Parish, La Peña Cultural Center and others. She currently holds regular dance classes in Oakland and also offers workshops outside the Bay Area. She has taught for DanceVersity and Zambaleta School of World Music. A lifelong musician in addition to her dance career, Clara is a classically trained pianist and holds a Bachelor of Arts from UCLA in Ethnomusicology, where she studied the North Indian classical sitar with Ustad Shujaat Khan, Balinese Gamelan with I Nyoman Wenten, and was a member of the Bulgarian women’s choir under the direction of Tsvetanka Varimezova.