Eva Encinias Sandoval

Executive Director and Master Teacher

Born into one of the few flamenco families in New Mexico, Eva Encinias Sandoval is the founder and Executive Director of the National Institute of Flamenco, the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts, and Festival Flamenco Internacíonal de Alburquerque. Eva learned flamenco as it was passed down through generations of her family. She was introduced to flamenco through her mother Clarita Garcia de Aranda, an American flamenco icon who was known as an outstanding performer and teacher. She established her own dance company, Ritmo Flamenco in 1973 and toured with them for 15 years. In 1976 she began teaching flamenco at the University of New Mexico. Eva developed flamenco as an art form by breaking down the essential tenets of the art to create a curriculum.

Her discipline to the art lead to her inception of the Flamenco Concentration Program at the University of New Mexico’s Department of Theatre and Dance, the only dance program in the world with a flamenco concentration. As a key figure in enriching the New Mexican cultural landscape, Eva has been a catalyst for developing flamenco as an art form in New Mexico through performance, teaching, and community advocacy. Many of her students attend classes solely through scholarships, as Eva always believed that economic circumstance should never keep anyone from learning to dance. Thousands of students have learned flamenco under her tutelage and the art of flamenco has flourished in New Mexico, in large part to her dedication to the preservation and development of the art form. Due to Eva’s life-long work, Albuquerque is widely recognized as the epicenter of flamenco in the United States.

Marisol Encinias

Associate Director and Master Teacher

As a fourth-generation flamenco dancer, Marisol is one of the few American flamenco dancers raised in a family of artists.. Marisol began her training with her family, studying with her grandmother, Clarita García de Aranda, and eventually dancing in her mother’s dance company, Ritmo Flamenco. Marisol studied with key flamenco artists in her formative years such as, Manolete, Mario Maya, Antonio Canales, La Farruca, Juana Amaya, Manuela Carrasco, Mercedes Amaya, and Alejandro Granados, just to name a few. Marisol also studied ballet, modern, Spanish classical dance as part of her dance training. She is currently an avid student of yoga. Marisol currently performs as a Principal Dancer with Yjastros: the American Flamenco Repertory Company, and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in choreography from the University of New Mexico. Marisol is a founder of the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts, where she has taught since its establishment in 1999. She became a member of the University of New Mexico Dance Program faculty in 1998, where she has been instrumental in shaping its flamenco curriculum. Marisol is also an Associate Director of the National Institute of Flamenco, an arts organization dedicated to promoting and presenting flamenco, alongside her mother Eva and brother Joaquin.

Joaquin Encinias Associate

Director and Master Teacher

Born into one of the few flamenco families in America, Encinias learned flamenco as a way of life from his grandmother Clarita and mother Eva Encinias. He began his first lessons in flamenco from his grandmother, Clarita, and began performing at age five. By age 12, he became a soloist in his mother’s company, Ritmo Flamenco. Encinias has had the tremendous opportunity to work closely with world-renowned artists including Antonio Canales, Eva La Yerbabuena, Los Farrucos, and Manolete, Carmen La Talegona, and Mercedes Amaya, In 1999, he worked with director Debbie Allen in the production Soul Possessed, which premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Encinias has also been a featured as a solo artist in Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque. Also, in 1999, The National Conservatory of Flamenco Arts opened under the direction of Encinias, his mother Eva, and sister Marisol. Since that time, Encinias has developed his unique teaching framework, the only codified and copy-written flamenco teaching methodology in the United States. As Artistic Director of Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company, Encinias has amassed a dance repertory collection of over 20 pieces of original flamenco choreography from some of the most influential flamenco artists in the world. Encinias’ vision for Yjastros is to preserve the beauty of traditional flamenco while imbuing it with a unique American aesthetic and energy. Through Yjastros, Encinias has been able to redefine flamenco choreography by truly understanding flamenco movement, having an innovative and visionary use of space, and demonstrating profound fluency in flamenco musical composition. Encinias has begun a new generation of artistry through his innovation and dedication to the art form. Today, he is one of the most highly sought-after flamenco artists and instructors in the nation because of his unique exposition of technique and craft. His musical talent and deep understanding of the language of flamenco make him an exceptional and valuable instructor and choreographer. In the fall of 2010, Joaquin was instrumental in the development of Tierra Adentro: The New Mexico School of Academics; Art and Artesania. Serving grades 6 – 12, Tierra Adentro is a free public charter school whose mission is to create an inclusive, thriving learning environment comprised of a demographically and culturally diverse student population. Focused on academics, art, artesanía (artisanship), and the study of the cultures that comprise our rich New Mexican heritage, Tierra Adentro strives for awareness, preservations, and the progression of our cultural legacy.

Kayla Lyall

Teacher of Child and Adult Curriculum

Kayla Lyall began studying flamenco at the National Conservatory of Flamenco Arts in 1999, and continued to study with the Encinias family until she joined Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company in 2004. Kayla won the Flamenco Expo during the Festival Flamenco International de Albuquerque in 2005 and 2011. In 2008, she went to Spain to learn about flamenco, studying with influential artists and developing her own flamenco persona. After returning from Spain, Kayla continued to dance with Yjastros, and received a Bachelors of Arts and a Masters in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico. She also began collaborating and performing with La Juerga Flamenco Ensemble. Through the UNM Guest Artist Line, Kayla has worked with influential artists such as Carmen La Talegona, Antonio Canales, Jose Maya, Nino de los Reyes, and Concha Jareno. She is a board certified science and dance teacher at Tierra Adentro of New Mexico charter school, and teaches at the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts, co-organizing the performance company Teeños Flamencos.

Carlos Menchaca

Teacher of Child and Adult Curriculum

Carlos Menchaca began studying dance at the age of 10 under the instruction of his aunt, accomplished director and dancer, Belinda Menchaca. As a child, his training included Mexican Folkloric Dance, Spanish Classical and Ballet as well as Flamenco. At the age of 16, Menchaca began dancing professionally in his aunt’s company as well as with the Southwest Contemporary Ballet under the direction of Christy Walsh. In 2006, completely enamored by creation and performance of dance works, Menchaca decided to pursue his career in dancing by moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico to study at the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts and work with Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company under the direction of Joaquin Encinias. Today, Menchaca works as a soloist with Yjastros, and with Flamenco Aparicio in Washington D.C. directed by Edwin Aparicio. He also regularly collaborates with La Juerga Flamenco Ensemble, a Flamenco collective directed by Illeana Gomez and Alejandro Pais in Albuquerque, NM. Through the University of New Mexico, Carlos has worked with accomplished dance faculty in both contemporary dance and Flamenco. He has had the opportunity to work intimately with some of the most influential Flamenco artists in the field including Antonio Canales, Alejandro Granados, Pedro Córdoba, Jose Maya, Concha Jareño, Mercedes “La Winy” Amaya, and Nino de los Reyes, among others. Menchaca currently teaches and choreographs for the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is adjunct dance faculty for Tierra Adentro: The New Mexico School for Academics, Art and Artesania; a state funded charter school whose premier focus is Flamenco music and dance. Influenced by this wide variety of projects and teachers, Menchaca is wildly creative and passionate about teaching, performing, and creating.

Elena Osuna

Teacher of Adult Curriculum

Elena Osuna is a Flamenco dancer born in the high desert mountains of the Embudo Valley in Northern New Mexico. She has performed widely in the U.S. and internationally, including: Alegrias in New York City, Fountain Theatre in Hollywood with Gabriel Lautaro Osuna (Encuentro), La Cueva de la Rocio in Granada Spain, Gitanerias in Mexico City, and the Tucson Flamenco Festival in Arizona. Osuna’s mentors are renowned artists such as Joaquin Encinias, Juana Amaya, Los Farrucos, Mercedes Amaya, Carmen (La Talegona), and Concha Jareño. In 2005, Osuna won first place for her solo at the Flamenco Expo, a competition at the Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque. Currently, Osuna is a soloist with Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company, an instructor of flamenco and Spanish at Tierra Adentro of New Mexico Charter School of Academics, Arts and Artesania, and a teacher at the National Institute of Flamenco in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Giovanna Hinojosa

Teacher of Child and Adult Curriculum

Giovanna Hinojosa experienced her first Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque in the summer of 2006. Originally from Laredo, Texas she uprooted herself and moved to Albuquerque in late summer of 2007, began studying under Eva Encinias by fall of 2007, and by fall of 2012, she joined Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company. After graduating with her Bachelors of Arts degree in 2009 from the University of New Mexico, she continued to study flamenco at the University and at the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts. Giovanna continues to develop a deeper and higher ability, appreciation, understanding, and intelligence for the art form by studying with the Guest Artist Line of the University of New Mexico. In addition, Giovanna is currently a teacher at the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts. Giovanna’s hard work and desire to excel got her to where she is today; a company member of Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company, a teacher at the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts, and Assistant Business Manager at Tierra Adentro of New Mexico Charter School. It is her warmth and passion that make her such a valuable resource and individual to the company, as a teacher, and to all those around her.

Deanna Encinias

Ballet Instructor

A skilled ballerina, Deanna Encinias was trained in by Lynn Crawford in the Atlanta Ballet, then later with Mel Tomlinson and Melissa Hayden with the New York City Ballet. Deanna performed many key parts in productions including soloist in Anthony Tudor’s Dark Elegies (1988-1994), a soloist with NM Ballet Company including roles of Sugar Plum Fairy, Karen in the Red Shoes, and the lead in Balanchine’s Serenade (1990-2006), a soloist with Ballet Repertory Theatre including the title role in Cinderella and touring The Nutcracker around New Mexico as Sugar Plum Fairy (1996-2001), and finally the role of he role of “Mary” in The Performers Ballet & Jazz Co.’s production of Christmas Joy (2001-2006).

Deanna Encinias holds a Bachelor degree from the University of New Mexico as well as licensing for personal training from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Since then, she has been teaching beginning to advanced ballet curriculum at Tierra Adentro of New Mexico: The New Mexico School of Academics.

April Goltz

Teacher of Adult Intro to Flamenco

April Goltz took her first flamenco steps in Sevilla while spending a year abroad in 2005. Immediately hooked, she returned home to Minneapolis MN and began studying with teachers Colette Illarde of Fuego Flamenco and Susana di Palma of Zorongo Flamenco. April opened Candelabra Studios, a multidisciplinary arts venue and community center in 2007, and began hosting classes and performances by some of Minneapolis' top artists and instructors spanning from flamenco to jazz to circus arts.

In 2010, she packed her bags and relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico to study at the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts. She spent 5 years under the instruction of Joaquin and Marisol Encinias, Kayla Lyall and Carlos Menchaca. During this time, April began working administratively with the National Institute of Flamenco, first as a director's assistant and flamenco tablao coordinator. In 2012 she began developing and managing the Conservatory's retail store Flecos y Lunares.

April began pursuing a degree at UNM in Musicology and Flamenco in 2013, allowing her to study under master teacher Eva Encinias-Sandoval and exposing her to the UNM Dance Program's incredible line of guest artists. April began teaching the Adult Intro class at the Conservatory in January, and moved into her current professional role as NIF Co-Education Program Manager and Conservatory Manager. She loves interfacing with the Conservatory's newest students, and introducing them to the rich programming the National Institute of Flamenco has to offer.

April also works as an assistant to her mentor in Musicology at UNM, and plans to pursue graduate studies in New Orleans music at Tulane University next year. She is fascinated by the way music, culture and history shape and influence one another, and is grateful to the Encinias family for providing her with such an incredible immersive experience in the world of flamenco in New Mexico.

Dolores Garcia Teaching Assistant

Dolores Garcia is a native New Mexican from Albuquerque’s North Valley. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a concentration in flamenco from the University of New Mexico. She is also pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Dance History and Criticism from the University of New Mexico. Dolores has been studying flamenco at the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts and the University of New Mexico since 2010 and has had the amazing opportunity, through the university’s Visiting Guest Line, to study with flamenco icons such as Mercedes Amaya, Carmen la Talegona, Concha Jareño, Alejandro Granados, Jose Galván, Nani Paños, and Antonio Canales, among others. She has had the great fortune to study under Eva Encinias Sandoval both as a dancer and as a teaching assistant for children’s classes at the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts. Dolores is currently a Manager for Educational Programming for the National Institute of Flamenco.

Mario Febres

Teacher of Flamenco Guitar

Mario was first introduced to the Flamenco Guitar by Paul Villmoare in Baltimore. He later attended the College of Santa Fe to continue to study the music, language and culture of Spain, while studying privately with the renowned Chuscales. During his junior year of college, Mario studied abroad throughout Spain. While in Madrid, he studied with Enrique Vargas and was introduced to the school of guitar called Caño Roto. A former student and teacher at the College of Santa Fe, he now teaches music at Tierra Adentro Charter School.


Misa Romero

Teacher of Adult Intro to Flamenco

Misa Romero is a native New Mexican from the small town of Ojo Sarco in northern NM.  She started dancing in grade school with ballet, tap, and jazz dance classes.  In 1993 Misa began taking flamenco classes with Eva Encinias at the University of New Mexico.  Under the direction of E. Encinias, she performed in faculty productions and at various venues and events.  She also studied with Pablo Rodarte and performed in his company “Dance España”.  At the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts, she studied with Omayra Amaya (grandniece of the great Carmen Amaya). 

In 2004 Misa moved to Granada, Spain for six months where she studied with Conchi Maya (a lead dancer in Joaquin Cortez’s company).  She then moved to California where she resided for five years, performing at various venues in San Diego and Los Angeles.  During this time she  worked with numerous amazing flamenco artists. 

In 2009, Misa returned to her roots in Albuquerque and begun studying once again with the incomparable Eva Encinias.  Since 2011,  Misa has been privileged to study under the amazing line of guest artists including Carmen “La Talegona”, Alejandro Granados, Jose Maya, Sonia Olla, and Antonio Canales, to name a few.  In May 2015, she graduated from UNM with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a dance minor.  In addition to the prestigious line of guest artist teachers, Misa currently studies with Eva and Marisol Encinias and is proud and honored to teach at the National Institute of Flamenco Arts.


We are proud of all of our diverse faculty that make this Conservatory a center for a supportive and excelling environment for the unlimited artistry of our students.

Conservatory Faculty