dancer & instructor
Anastassiia La Musa is a Russian-born, Mexican flamenco dancer currently residing in Calgary, Canada. Trained in Madrid, Spain, her artistic practice is deeply rooted in tradition, yet also explores the boundaries and the intersection of flamenco with contemporary dance forms. Anastassiia’s creative process is based on free and structured improvisations, while building spatial and rhythmic patterns in response to the music or other visual or audio inputs. She is particularly interested in working with other live performers, musicians and dancers. Currently, she is inspired to explore and expand the creative vocabulary of a flamenco dancer through their interaction with dancers from other disciplines.
Anastassiia’s love of dance began with ballet, in Moscow, at age five. After exploring various dance forms, she found her ultimate passion in flamenco. Her most recent studies involve four intensive sessions at the famous Amor de Dios Centro Flamenco y Danza Española in Madrid over a period of two years, with flamenco legends La Tati and Merche Esmeralda, and with top modern innovators Manuel & Antonio Reyes, Carmen La Talegona, and Miguel Cañas, to name a few. Over the past few years Anastassiia has also been working under the mentorship of Spanish flamenco dancer Manuel Reyes in Madrid, Spain, independent Canadian dancer Fiona Malena, currently based in Berlin, Germany, and Mexican dancer and choreographer Ricardo Rubio in Mexico city.
As an independent performer, Anastassiia can be seen frequently performing in and around Calgary at various venues and festivals, as well as in Mexico city. Recognized for her skillful improvisations and work with different music styles, she has also been invited to participate as a guest dancer in various operas and a spoken word production Words That Move Me. Most recently, she has performed at Flamenco Tablao with contemporary flamenco company INTERflamenca in Mexico city, was a guest dancer at the production of La Traviata by Calgary Concert Opera, as well as a lead flamenco dancer and choreographer for production of Opera Carmen at the Badlands by Mercury Opera (Edmonton). Other past highlights include performances with the Calgary International Flamenco Festival, Flamenco Nights with Salero Calo, guest artist with Notas de 4 and Fiona Malena Flamenco Ensemble. In 2015, Anastassiia was a featured artist in a video by world musician Jeff Kavanda for his single Bossa Kava.
As an artistic director of INTERflamenca company, Ricardo Rubio invited Anastassiia to collaborate with the company in 2016. In June 2017 Anastassiia and Canadian violinist Jonathan Lewis participated in the project developed by Ricardo Rubio titled “25 Pasos para Llegar a un Zapato” (25 steps to get to a shoe) and based on free style improvisations between the artists. This project explored themes of personal and cultural identities of performers from different backgrounds working together in a traditional art form of flamenco outside of Spain. After the success of this project, together, Anastassiia and Ricardo, have embarked on a series of creative residencies to develop Anastassiia’s creative voice. The first installment of this series took place in October 2018. As a result of intensive training, Anastassiia choreographed and performed an experimental solo dance piece directed by Ricardo Rubio, titled “Deconstructed: How a dance is born.”
In 2016, driven by the desire to create greater connection between music and dance, Anastassiia and violinist Jonathan Lewis formed a contemporary flamenco ensemble, 12 Musas. The inspiration for the project came from the idea of interweaving traditional and contemporary flamenco forms with original compositions, where the 12 beats of the many flamenco rhythms are the 12 muses or Doce Musas. The signature style of 12 Musas is the involvement of elements of improvisation, in both dance and music, including completely free improvisations. Together, Anastassiia and Jonathan have produced multiple concerts in Calgary and are currently working on the material for their next production in spring.
Anastassiia is also recognized as a passionate teacher cultivating appreciation for the flamenco art form in her students. She started teaching in 2011 through the Fiona Malena Flamenco Academy, which she now helps managing. In July 2018, Anastassiia was also invited as a guest instructor for the summer intensive camp at the School of Alberta Ballet. Anastassiia continues opening up new directions for flamenco in Calgary and contributes to building a strong local community of flamenco aficionados.