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I am Griset Damas-Roche.

Flamenco is my art.


U Will Dance Studio

“My art is my breath. It's my life. Flamenco dance is a very challenging discipline. Flamenco expresses strength—through the stomp on the wooden floor, the expression of my face and body and numerous different powerful movements.”

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Griset Damas-Roche on flamenco

"Flamenco is also passion, sometimes happy, sometimes deep and dark but real. With more than 70 different rhythms, you have to be very creative and have good shape and skills as dancer."

"Flamenco is from Spain, and I have studied and practiced this genre of dance for more than 20 years. I started my dance career studying Ballet for 12 years in Cuba, then I won an audition to be part of Ballet Espanol de La Habana. I traveled to Bogota in 1998 and I was living there for 17 years. I got my own studio there and I made and choreographed more than 12 complete flamenco shows. In 2014, I came to Columbus to make a workshop for Flamenco del Corazon's people and I decided to stay."

"We flamenco dancers, are a different human species, believe me. My creative process has to involve everything: my life, career, my trips, my new lives, understanding what is the flamenco and where I am in the flamenco, and how I can make this interesting for the people. I need to be creative all the time. My mind is “in” the flamenco every day."

"What artistic creation I am most proud of? Salir del Paraiso, a show that I made when I was in Colombia. It is related to Cuban “balseros” (people traveling in very primitive boats from Cuba to the United States). I adapted the flamenco dance to tell the story about this terrible situation. The story included a traditional Cuban religion called “Santeria” and there wasn't a happy ending. Many people cried during the performance, including my husband who was behind the stage doing the production. I had the opportunity to work with musicians from Cuba, Colombia and Switzerland."

"I have to study every day of my life to improve my skills— to be faster and more expressive. I have an obligation as a teacher to transmit to my students the love and passion that I have for the flamenco dance."

"I love it when I am creating a new piece with my musicians. I feel that I can change the world."

"I am really proud when I finish preparing one simple class for my students. I really enjoy teaching because a class can have passion and feelings that you won't find in a performance. When your student is able to dance, you feel very happy."

"I am inspired by living in a safe place, such as Columbus. The calm, the safety, the pace is what almost every artist needs. You can walk here and see the gardens, and there is a lot of art in a garden! You can enjoy your family here and that is a real opportunity. You can be more focused in your art when you don't have big problems around you. Some people might think that everything is about money, but it isn't. It is more about the peace, it’s more about the soul and the time that you have to be focused. If you have to keep thinking on your safety, probably you won't have time to be creative."

"I would really love it if more Columbus people asked about what the flamenco dance is. There is almost a story for every rhythm. I use to perform to schools in Columbus and I really loved it when the kids ask about my skirt, accessories or styling. It's motivating when you catch their attention, probably someday, some of them will be interested also in how to dance."

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