Ingrid Sciberras (Director & Owner of Alegria Academia & Alegria Dance Company)
Artistic Name: MARIA DEL SOL .
Born in Malta, on February 27, 1967, Ingrid was introduced to Flamenco Dance by Rosana Maya at ‘Yada Dance Academy’. A couple of years later, she followed Rosana Maya when Alegria Academia was inaugurated and continued her intensive study of Flamenco dance under the tuition of Rosana Maya. She has been awarded local and foreign scholarships at the Academy and in 2005 obtained her Alianza Flamenca Teaching Certificate.
Since 2001 she has been attending the flamenco ‘Festival de Jerez’ organised by the ‘Teatro Villamarta.’ Here she has attended courses under the tuition of Maria del Mar Moreno, Manolo Marin, Inmaculada Aguilar, Matilde Coral, Blanca Del Rey, Milagros Mengibar, AnaMaria Lopez, Jose Galvan amongst many others.
Living in Seville, Spain, in 2005, Ingrid had the opportunity to continue her flamenco studies by attending daily classes in Flamenco Dance and Flamenco Singing with various Maestros of Flamenco including Soraya Clavijo, Alicia Marquez, Manuela Carrasco, Esperanza Fernandez, Angel Munoz, Jose Merina, Juan de los Reyes, Miguel Vargas, Carmen Ledesma, Manuela Carrasco, La Choni, Alejandro Rodriguez and Ana Morales. These experiences enabled Ingrid to develop a broad and intimate knowledge of Flamenco.
In 2003 Ingrid travelled to South Africa for 6 months, performing in various locations and also since this year she has been travelling annually to India giving lecture demonstrations and performances in Flamenco dance in various states in India.
On her return to Malta, Ingrid started teaching flamenco at Alegria Academia, as Rosana Maya’s personal assistant. In 2009 Ingrid took over the school and to date runs Alegria, Academia de Baile Flamenco and Alegria Dance Company and works hard for the growth of the popularity of Flamenco in Malta. The Academy invites various artists from Spain, including Cikka Grima and Maria del Mar Moreno to give annual courses at the school. She has recently joined forces with Jerez Puro, a Flamenco Company from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, whose Directors Maria del Mar Moreno and Antonio de la Malena are great artists direct from the heart of the roots of Flamenco and had the honour to perform with Jerez Puro at Malta’s National Theatre, Teatru Manoel in May 2013.
Apart from the Company, Ingrid directs Alegria Dance Company who are constantly invited to perform for local Cultural events, including Notte Bianca, Ghanja tal-Poplu, Ghana Fest, Europe Day in Gozo and Gozo Alive. The Company are also invited to perform as guests in other dance events, for launches, conferences and various other private events. Various members of the Company have also performed in India, South Africa, Spain, Italy and France.
Estelle Bonello Sant (Choreographer/Teacher for Alegria Academia & Dance Company)
Artistic Name : Estrella La Maltesa
Born in Malta, on March 28, 1983, Estelle was introduced to classical ballet at the early age of three, under the tuition of Theresa Lungaro Mifsud at ‘Tanya Bayona Princess Poutiatine Academy of Ballet’. A couple of years later, she started Flamenco dance with Rosana Maya and at the age of fifteen, Estelle was given the ‘Luisillo’ cup for Spanish dance.
Since 2001 she has been attending the flamenco ‘Festival de Jerez’ attending courses with various reknowned Maestros like Maria del Mar Moreno, Merche Esmeralda, Matilde Coral and Blanca Del Rey.
Living in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, for over 4 years, Estelle had the opportunity to study intensively and later work with the ‘Academia de Baile Maria del Mar Moreno.’ In Jerez, Estelle, attended courses and private classes with various artists, namely: Maria del Mar Moreno, Joaquín Grilo, Andrés Peña, Fernando Galán, Angelita Gomez, Javier Latorre, Maria Bermudez and Juan Tejero. These experiences enabled Estelle to develop a broad and intimate knowledge of Flamenco.
Whilst in Spain, Estelle participated in a dance competition in the village of Ubrique and made it through to the semi-finals. Estelle’s dance career has advanced since 2004 when she joined a company of young dancers who toured around Spain, promoting Jerez and Flamenco. In this way, she has spread her name of ‘Estrella La Maltesa’ in small villages and important cities in Spain, such as Madrid, Salamanca, Dos Hermanas (Seville), Lebrija, Granada etc.
In 2004, Estelle accompanied Maria del Mar Moreno, on two different occasions: May 2004 Padova and Venice, Italy and June 2004 Paris, France. She worked as Maria Del Mar’s assistant, teaching flamenco to students of all ages.
On her return to Malta, Estelle started teaching flamenco at Alegria, Academia de Baile Flamenco and forms part of Alegria Dance Company. She is a member of the Teaching Faculty and is head of Choreography, both for the school as well as for Alegria Dance Company.
Ema Marie Attard (Choreographer/Teacher for Alegria Academia & Dance Company)
Starting ballet three years, dance has always been a vital part of Ema Marie Attard’s life. Falling in love with dance and movement, Ema ventured into Jazz, Tap, Classical Spanish (receiving the Spanish Dance Award in 2003), Ballroom, Latin and Flamenco (receiving the Comsec International Scholarship Award in 2010 and the Estrella Jerez Award in 2014). Ema soon realised her true passion was Flamenco and after a few years of intensive study, she became a member of Alegria Dance Company with whom she performs regularly. She is currently a teacher and choreographer at Alegria Academia de Baile Flamenco. She has, to date, done numerous courses both locally and in Spain with various flamenco teachers some of which include Maria Del Mar Moreno, Andres Peňa, Jose Merino, Mercedes Ruiz, Juan Polvillo and Concha Jareño.
Sara Bianchi (Estilizada Choreographer/Teacher for Alegria Academia & Dance Company)
Stage Name : La Soler
Sara started classical ballet at the age of 3 under the tuition of Daphne Lungaro Mifsud and Mary Jane Bellia. She completed RAD examinations in classical ballet till Advanced levels and also studied Jazz and Spanish Dance. She successfully completed her Spanish Dance Society exams and later on took up Flamenco under the tuition of Rosana Maya. She successfully completed her Alianza assessments, also obtaining her Alianza Flamenca Teachers’s Certificate. She has recently obtained her Spanish Dance Society teacher’s certificate. Sara forms part of the teaching faculty at Alegria and has been a member of Alegria Dance Company since its formation. In 2008 she was awarded the Comsec International Award and followed a course in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Sara regularly attends courses in Flamenco dance, both in Malta and in Spain, by re-knowned Flamenco maestros such as Francesca Grima, Andres Pena, Maria del Mar Moreno and many others. Sara holds a degree in Psychology and also holds her Post graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Malta. She currently teaches Performing Arts at San Anton School.
Nicola Henson (Estilizada Choreographer/Teacher for Alegria Academia & Dance Company)
Nicola Henson AISTD. Dip. started ballet at an early age under the direction of Ms. Tanya Bayona where she was awarded several scholarships both locally and abroad. Nicola has been trained in various forms of dance including Spanish Dance and Flamenco. She began her teaching career at the Tanya Bayona Poutiatine Academy and a few years later founded Alegria Academia alongside Rosana Maya running the classical ballet section of the school. In 2009 Ingrid Sciberras took over the running of the school however Nicola still forms part of the Alegria teaching faculty and is a member of the Alegria dance Company. Nicola regularly attends flamenco dance and estilizada classes in Jerez de la Frontera Spain and Malta with artists like Angel Muñoz, Maria del Mar Moreno and Gala Vivancos.
Ursula Farrugia (Choreographer/Teacher for Alegria Academia & Dance Company)
Ursula started Flamenco dance under the direction of Rosana Maya at 7 years, following the syllabus of Alianza Flamenca. Since the age of 13 she has been attending courses at the Festival de Jerez, Spain and Malta with some of the great maestros of Flamenco such as Matilda Coral, Concha Jareño, Maria del Mar Moreno, Joaquín Grillo, Angel Munoz, Cikka Grima and many others. In the year 2000 she won the Alegria local scholarship and in 2011, she was awarded the Comsec International Award. She currently teaches at Alegria Academia de Baile Flamenco and forms part of the Alegria Dance Company. Ursula holds the art of Flamenco very much to heart and wishes to further her dancing skills through choreography.