Current Olé Roster

Olé Music & Dance of Spain members are comprised of energetic and diverse working professionals who are committed to the study and preservation of traditional Flamenco music and dance, enriching the community through private and group instruction, master classes and performance.  Members of Olé Music & Dance of Spain are widely varied; some are professional dancers, PhD’s, students, professional women in their fields, and many other vocations.  All members of the troupe are committed to the independent study of the Flamenco dance form, continually training and performing both on a national and international level.

Current Roster of Artists

Tamara La Garbancito Carson – Founder, Artistic Director, Instructor, Dancer

Tamara La Garbancito Carson

Tamara La Garbancito Carson

Starting dance lessons at the age of 4, Tamara La Garbancito Carson has been training for over 40 years. Her training has taken place around the globe, including in Germany, Hungary, Spain, Russia, Mexico, and the United States. Beyond intensive training in the flamenco style of dance, Tamara has also received extensive training in ballet, modern folkloric, jazz, tap dance, and more. Her performance resume includes work with American and international opera houses, symphonies, as well as educational programs as a dancer, choreographer, and director.

As the founder and artistic director of Olé Music & Dance of Spain, Tamara has brought together a diverse group of talented musicians and dancers who share her vision of bringing the passion and energy of flamenco to all communities. Tamara currently teaches for the Kansas City Ballet School at both the Bolendar Center and the KCB south school as well as offering classes northside as well.

Jarrod Stephenson – Guitarist

Jarrod Stephenson

Jarrod Stephenson

Jarrod Stephenson began playing music at a very young age and picked up guitar at the age of fourteen. In 2002, Jarrod was honored with the Greensburg Guitar Scholaship at the Conservatory of Music and Dance, at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Since then, Jarrod has studied various guitar stylings with renowned guitarists in Kansas City and Spain, including studying Classical with Douglas Niedt, Jazz with Rod Fleeman, Flamenco with Beau Bledsoe in Kansas City as well as Enrique Vargas and Nino Jerro in Spain.

After developing and perfecting his technique and adapting the Jerez style of playing, Jarrod returned to Kansas City from Spain to co-found the group “Alma Flamenca.” It was with that group that Jarrod began fusing the fiery rhythms of Flamenco with the luscious harmonies of Jazz. In the summer of 2012, Jarrod co-founded the group “Broken String” with Michael McClintock and Clint Dodson. Broken String is a group that performs guitar-driven world music.

Currently, Jarrod is performing with Kansas City Ballet, Alma Flamenca, Broken String, Olé, the Music & Dance of Spain, as well as performing solo guitar throughout the United States.

Mary Ann Esperanza Hope – Rehearsal Mistress, Violinist, Dancer

Mary Ann Esperanza Hope

Mary Ann Esperanza Hope

Born to musician parents, Mary Ann Esperanza Hope began classical violin studies at the age of ten. She has been a member of the Evansville Philharmonic, the Bloomington Symphony and the Indianapolis Symphony in Indiana; and the St. Louis Philharmonic and Independence Symphony in Missouri.

Mary Ann began ballet training at age five. She was introduced to Flamenco and Spanish dance at the Conservatory of Music, UMKC with Tamara La Garbancito Carson. She has also trained at Northeastern Illinois University and has studied with Vida Peral, Timo Lozano, Edo, Don Juanjo Linares, Liliana Morales, Omayra Amaya, Antonio Vargas, Juan Talavera, Carlota Santana, Soledad Barrio and Adriana Maresma. She currently studies with Tamara La Garbancito.

Mary Ann Esperanza has been performing with OLÉ Music and Dance of Spain since 1990 and also performs with Baila! Baila! in Bloomington, IN. She is a professional ballroom dancer and is retired from Arthur Murray Dance Studios.

Darren Carpenter – Dancer, Cajon

Darren Carpenter

Darren Carpenter

Darren began his arts career in musical theater, appearing in many shows including Pirates of Penzance, Kiss Me Kate, in southeast Kansas. In 1987, he trained to become a ballroom dance instructor at Arthur Murray Studio in Wichita, KS and later moved to the Lenexa, KS Arthur Murray Studio. He has competed professionally in the U.S. and Canada in Smooth and Latin dancing.

He currently competes with his students in Pro-Am events and teaches Ballroom Dance for the M.F.A. program at UMKC. Darren continues to study flamenco with Tamara La Garbancito and has taken the opportunity to learn choreography and technique with many teachers including Vida Peral, Antonio Vargas, Adriana Maresma and Timo Lozano.

Kirk Carson – Singer, Instrumentalist

Kirk Carson

Kirk Carson

Formerly a leading tenor with opera houses in Europe and the United States, including Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Lyric Theater of Oklahoma, Dupage Opera, Augsberg Oper, Bremen Oper, Ulm Stadtstheater, and Graz Oper. He has performed with major symphony orchestras including, Deutschland Symphonic Radio Orchestra, Bavarian State Radio Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

He received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Performing Arts in Choral Conducting from Oklahoma City University and also attended the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz Austria for post graduate work.

Kirk has directed both opera and musical theater productions during the past 20years for many different theaters, both professional, civic, as well as academic. In 2001 he created the role of Sheriff Jack Potter in the operatic world premiere of Showdown on Two Street and can be heard on the original cast recording.

Kirk has been studying flamenco percussion and vocal styles the last several years, and has been lucky enough to sit in on master classes by Antonio Vargas and Vida Peral as well as studying cajon with Hector Aguirre and Timo Lozano.

Marc Williams – Cajon/Dancer

Marc Williams

Marc Williams

Marc is a former jazz and rock tenor saxophonist who grew up listening to Coleman Hawkins and Dexter Gordon and performing in Little Rock and Memphis. At the University of Central Arkansas, he received a Bachelor’s degree with a minor in music, and was the founder of that school’s chapter of the National Association of Jazz Educators. He studied jazz under Homer Brown (Glenn Miller big band), Buddy Hines, and Dr. Pat Hasty, and attended workshops with Lou Marini (Chicago), Stan Kenton, and Woody Herman.

After a 26 year Army career as an Infantry officer in Ranger, Infantry, and Eskimo Scout units, he followed Olguita into the world of Spanish dance, studying flamenco under Tamara La Garbancito Carson. He has attended master classes with the Carlota Santana Dance Company, Jose Porcel Compania Flamenca, Vida Peral, and Timo Lozano. At the 22nd Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque, he was delighted to study castanets with Teodoro Morca, palmas with Joaquin Encinias, cajon with Hector Aguilar, and flamenco history with John “Juanito” Truitt.

Marc began performing with OLÉ Music and Dance of Spain, has introduced the cajon into the drumming ministry of Marked Men for Christ, and is a baritone in the East Hill Singers, under the direction of Kirk Carson.

Cindy Bleck – Dancer

Cindy Bleck

Cindy Bleck

Cindy has been studying Flamenco with Tamara since 1996 and has performed with Olé since 2004. She retired from the Kansas City Missouri School District in 2009 where she taught Dance at Longfellow Visual and Performing Arts Magnet Elementary School for 19 years. She taught Dance at Young Audience’s Community School for the Arts and wrote the dance curriculum for that program.

She is teaching Flamenco classes at City in Motion and the Culture House in Overland Park, Kansas and has taught workshops at the Global Education Center and Second Story Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Cindy has performed with the Vanderbilt Dance Group, Tennessee Dance Theater, City in Motion and currently performs with the Billy Mahoney Tap Dance Troupe here in Kansas City. Other Flamenco teachers with whom she has studied include Antonio Vargas, Timo Lozano, Vida Peral, Lilana Morales and Melinda Hedgecorth.

Marbel Mattsson – Dancer

Marbel Mattsson

Marbel Mattsson

Marbel was born in Puebla, Mexico of Hungarian and Mexican parents. Her early enthusiasm for dance was nurtured at the Seguro Social institute of Dance. Professional experience would soon begin with the Ballet Folklorico de Bellas Artes and the Ballet Folklorica del Seguro Social.

After moving to the United States she was invited to perform with the Rosa Moreno Ballet Folklorico. She was invited to become a member of Olé Music & Dance of Spain. During Marbels time with Olé, she has diversified to include performing with UMKC’s Gamalon, featuring music and dance from Bali. She has also studied flamenco at Danza Fuerte with Jack Iahey.

Her supportative nature has led to her involvement with another Kansas City’s school of dance, City in Motion, where she is a member of the Board of Directors.

Jan Supica – Dancer

Jan Supica

Jan Supica

Jan Supica “La Serbillana” has been a member of Olé Music & Dance of Spain for three years. She has had an opportunity to study with many teachers in Kansas City, Chicago and Spain, but considers her 11 years of studying with Tamara “La Garbancito” as her primary influence and responsible for instilling the love of flamenco in her corazon.

Jan received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Kansas. Dr. Supica has worked in education in public and private schools as well as teaching at the university level. Dr. Supica is the Commissioner representing Serbia in the Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Commission.

She is also active in the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International which promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. Jan lovingly gives her support to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church of which she is a member.

Maria Aranda – Dancer

Maria Aranda

Maria Aranda

Born in Juarez, Mexico Maria Aranda began studying mexican folkloric dance with Maria Chaurand when she was eight years old and performed with El Grupo Ballet Folklorico Atotonilco. She also performed with other folkloric groups in hispanic festivals in Kansas City and Chicago.

Maria has been belly dancing for the past seven years also, studying with both Siham Ali and Zada Al gaziyeh. She has performed since 2001 with belly dancing groups in the Kansas City Ethnic Festival and the Renaissance Festival.

Maria has a BSBA from Rockhurst College and works for El Centro. Maria has been active in flamenco workshops given by ‘La Linda’ and Timo Lozano and currently studies flamenco with Tamara “La Garbancito” Carson.

Amanda Leimbach – Dancer

Amanda Leimbach

Amanda Leimbach

Amanda Leimbach, Olé’s youngest member, began her training of ballet and tap dance at age three and a half. She studied flamenco in Arizona for three years and performed with Luna Llena and La Concha in venues in Tucson such as Casa Vicente, Rio Rico, Tucson Meet Yourself, Casino of the Sun, The University of Arizona and Downtown Saturday Night.

She is currently studying with Tamara “La Garbancito” Carson. When she is not dancing, Amanda plays sports, the piano and the flute.

Mary “LaTriana” Spalding – Dancer

Mary LaTriana Spalding

Mary LaTriana Spalding

Mary’s journey into dance began in 1995 when she decided to fulfill a life long dream of taking a dance class. In a ballet class, she was invited by MaryAnn “Esperanza” Hope to a flamenco class taught by Tamara “LaGarbancito” Carson at UMKC Conservatory. Mary felt the soul of flamenco in Tamara’s dance and immediately started studying with LaGarbancito.

She also taken classes at the University of Northeastern Illinois and with Vida Peral, Omayra Amaya, Timo Lozano, Don Juan Jo Linares, Teresa Torkanowsky and Dame Libby Komaiko. In 2003, Mary’s heart led her on a sojourn to Argentine tango. During this time, Mary has devoted several hours each week to the study of Argentine tango. While on a tango trip to Argentina, in the milongas of Buenos Aires, she especially enjoyed dancing the Chacareras -so reminiscent of the Sevillanas. Mary returns to flamenco and resumes her studies with LaGarbancito; thereby, joining her passions: Argentine tango and Flamenco — “mi corazon y mi alma!”

Mary also is passionate about her work as an Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist at the Kansas City VA Medical Center w here she is able to work with and help our Veterans who have risked their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom to follow our dreams.

Olga Becali-Williams (Olguita) – Dancer

Olguita Becali-Williams

Olguita Becali-Williams

Olga was born in Cuba to Enrique Becali-Gonzales and Olga Aguabella-Simeon, a professor of classical guitar. She began studying ballet as a child in Cuba under Nina Fedooroff and performed often until the imposition of communism on that island. After escaping to the United States, she studied Russian classical ballet from Francesca Romanoff and Dmitri Romanoff, regisseur of the American Ballet Theater. She has also taken classes from Linda Lorimar and Tony Orlando. Olguita has performed with Ballet San Jose, San Jose Ballet, San Jose Opera, San Jose Dance Theatre, Alaska Contemporary Dance Company, Anchorage Civic Ballet, and the Janice Renee Dancers. Additionally she has taught ballet at the Janice Renee Dance Center in Alaska.

After moving to Kansas, she fulfilled her lifelong dream of learning Spanish dance and began studying flamenco under Tamara La Garbancito Carson in 2007. She performs with Olé Music & Dance of Spain and has attended master classes from Melinda “La Linda’ Hedgecorth, Vida Peral, Timo Lozano, Adriana Maresma-Fous, the Carlota Santana Dance Company, and the Jose Porcel Compania Flamenca. Additionally she has attended the 22nd and the 23rd Flamenco Festival de Internacional at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. While there she took classes from Laura Manzella, Marisol Encinias, Teodoro Morca, Romero, and La Tacha.

Carly Ketchum, La Rubia – Dancer

Carly Ketchum

Carly Ketchum

When Carly retired from a career in television sales and marketing, she quickly discovered a mutual love of flamenco music with her husband, Lynn. The couple pursued the flamenco arts, he studied flamenco guitar, she took dance lessons. She continues her flamenco studies with Tamara Carson. Among her instructors were Miel Castagna, Rey Duran, Vida Peral, Melinda Hedgecorth & Adriana Maresma.

In addition to her flamenco training, she studies belly dance which allows her to fully enjoy the fusion of flamenco and Middle Eastern music. Carly also displays her creativity by designing and creating one of-a-kind fine silver pendants for her jewelry business, Mystic Orchard.

Karin Gastreich – Dancer

Karin Gastreich

Karin Gastreich

Karin Rita Gastreich is an assistant professor of biology at Avila University, and a fantasy fiction novelist.Prior to joining Olé Music & Dance of Spain, she performed with the Rice Dance Theater in Houston, TX, and the Taller Nacional de Danza in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Amanda January

Biography coming soon.

Ralenna Erbe

Biography coming soon.

Barbara Anderson

Barbara Anderson, owner and director of Body and Soul of Kansas City, began studying dance at the age of 25 and has been teaching people to move better since 1975. She has a Masters in Dance from George Washington University and is a licensed massage therapist with certifications in yoga, Feldenkrais, pilates, sounder sleep and zumba. Barb is also seen in belly dance events around town and has been with Olé Music & Dance of Spain for three years.

Carole Schante

Biography coming soon.

Katya Soll

Biography coming soon.

Laura Newton – Dancer

Laura Newton

In 2006 Laura took her first flamenco class in Wichita, Kansas from Juan Batani of Acapulco, Mexico.

Even though she studied ballet in college, she had not been on a dance floor in over 20 years. The passion of flamenco immediately captured her heart and rekindled her love of dance.  Over the past few years, Laura has had the good fortune to study in Spain with Carmen de Torres and Adrian Maresma, and in Albuquerque with Joaquin, Eva and Marisol Encinas.  She has traveled to many classes and workshops across the country, studying with great flamenco talents including Vida Peral, Carlotta Santana, Concha Jareno and Timo Lozano.  Since 2008, she has studied flamenco with Tamara La Garbancito in Kansas City.

Margaret Gordon

Biography coming soon.

Maria Vargas

Biography coming soon.

Chelsey Rader

Chelsey Rader

Chelsey Rader

Chelsey Rader has an extensive ballet background, but loves all types of dance, especially Flamenco. Wife and mother of 3, she continues her studies at the Kansas City Ballet.