Meet The DanzArts Instructors

Patricia Astorga

Artistic Director/Founder/Choreographer

Throughout her artistic career, Mrs. Astorga has undertaken various dance disciplines including classical ballet, tap, modern dance, Folklore Mexicano and Flamenco. She began her training at the early age of 7yrs old at the world-renowned school of Amalia Hernández (Ballet Folklórico de México), for 5 consecutive summers. She was one of the founding members of Ballet Folklórico de Pacifico in Los Angeles, CA.

In 2005, she moved to Houston, Texas and formed “Sabor Mexico Theatrical Dance Co. “(Folklórico Mexicano). In Houston, she presented her work at the most respected theaters, including Hobby Center (Zilka Hall), Verizon Wireless Theater and Houston’s Museums. In 2006, developed a Non-Profit organization (Danzarts) . Which mission is to provides a creative and relevant space for artistic and cultural expression, as well as preserving and raising cultural awareness of Mexico and Spain by giving back to the community through dance and music.

As a flamenco dancer, she has appeared professionally at the famous El Cid Flamenco Tablao in Los Angeles. Patricia performed at the Grand Opening of the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. She has studied extensively in Spain with Flamenco Masters such as Juana Amaya, Jesus Carmona, Ursula Lopez to name a few. In August 2006, she formed her own Flamenco dance company, “La Esencia Flamenca.” Collaborating with local musicians from Texas and California. As a result of her ongoing efforts, she developed a wonderful collaborative relationship with the Mexican Consulate in Houston, Mexican Tourism Board, Consulado de Espana, The Museum of Fine Arts, MECA and numerous other Hispanic organizations. On December 8, 2007, Mayor Bill White of Houston, Patricia was given a formal proclamation.

Patricia currently resides in sunny San Diego, CA as of 2009. She has continued to teach both Folklore Mexicano and Flamenco. Within one year her two dance companies in San Diego (Sabor Mexico Theatrical Dance Co. of SD & La Esencia Flamenca Dance Company of SD) combined has grown to 30 dancers and musicians. Recently, Danzarts – Sabor Mexico was chosen out of 320 applicants to work with the San Diego Symphony by Bill Conti (composer of the theme song “Rocky”) production “Your Song, Your Story”. Had the privilege of Performing at Symphony Hall, Joan Kroc Theater, Embarcadero accompanied by San Diego Symphony and Mariachi Garibaldi. For 8 consecutive years, Patricia has choreographed shows for Mariachi Sol De Mexico de Jose Hernandez for their “Merry-Achi” productions each year. Also has choreographed for Lila Downs -Dia de los Muertos show in 2023.. As a profession, Patricia is a Registered Nurse for over 30 years and has worked in Health Care Administration (Quality Management, Case Management ) for the last 15 years.

 To learn more about Patricia, click here. To email Patricia, click here.

Catherine Kellaway

Flamenco Instructor & Esencia Flamenca Bailaora

Catherine Kellaway began dancing flamenco in 1999 in Albuquerque, NM at the University of New Mexico and the National Institute of Flamenco. She performed as a member of the pre-professional dance group Alma Flamenca and was an understudy with the professional dance group Yjastros. After moving to San Diego, CA in 2005 she took many classes and workshops throughout southern California and traveled to Spain to study under various professional dancers. She began dancing as a member of DanzArts’ La Esencia Flamenca in 2010 under the direction of Patricia Astorga. She has performed in a wide variety of venues throughout San Diego. In 2013, she began teaching the children’s flamenco class for DanzArts.  In 2023, she began teaching adults and loves sharing the art of flamenco and seeing her students gain confidence and grow as dancers.


Headshot of Kristina

Kristina Cunningham

Children’s Dance Academy Director

Mrs. Kristina Cunningham born and raised in San Diego with parent of Mexican 1st generation descent immersed at a very young age of 3 with Mexican Ballet Folklorico. She has trained extensively in ballet, hip hop, and west African dance. Ms. Cunningham grew a passion and pride in her culture and had the opportunity to dance with local groups “ Folklorico de Nuestra Senora De Guadalupe” & “Ballet Folklorico de Aztlan” She continued her training attending master workshops “Danzantes Unidos” and Folklorico masters such as Joel Gutierrez, principal dancer of Ballet Folklorico de Mexico.

Currently, she is a principal dancer of DanzArts- Sabor Mexico Dance Co. for 10 years where she has performed at the most coveted venues in southern California (Copley Theater, Balboa Theater, Cerritos Performing Arts Center) to name a few. She has shared the stage with Grammy nominated “Mariachi Sol de Mexico” for 5 consecutive years. Ms. Cunningham continues to share her passion as the director of DanzArts Children’s Dance Academy. Being the director brings her a sense of pride to be able to teach the children about their culture through the art of dance and to be able to carry on those tradition to our future generations.

Alex Moreno

Flamenco Instructor

Alejandra (Alex) Moreno, born in San Diego, has been a part of our Danzarts community for ten years. She began dancing in Catherine Kellaway’s children’s class and with hard work and dedication quickly advanced to be a member of Esencia Flamenca. She has expanded her knowledge by participating in workshops that have helped her evolve as a dancer. She has traveled to Toronto, Ontario to train with Maria Serrano and has taken workshops with Oscar Valero and Emilio Ochando. She is now passing on her experience by teaching the beginning children’s flamenco class while continuing to pursue her passion and thrive as a student herself. She is currently pursuing a Biology Degree at the University of San Diego.

Anilu Moreno

Ballet Folklórico Instructor

Ana-Lucia Moreno, known affectionately as Anilu, has been a part of the DanzArts community for over a decade. Her journey began at the early age of seven at the Danzarts Children’s Academy, where she learned from Kristina Cunningham. With a growing passion, she quickly advanced to be a member of DanzArts Sabor Mexico Dance Company just five years later. Under the direction of Patricia Astorga, Anilu has developed a deep-rooted love for dance, and she has expanded her understanding of the rich cultural traditions that inspire ballet folklorico. She has shared the stage with Grammy winner Lila Downs, world-renowned Mariachi Sol de Mexico, and other talented artists and musicians across Southern California. Anilu is currently a senior in high school, and she is thrilled to teach and carry on the tradition of ballet folklorico and inspire the next generation of dancers.

Gladys Escobar

Ballet Folklórico  Instructor

Gladys has been dancing folklorico for over 11 years. She started teaching folklorico when she was 18, at the after-school programs to students from K-12.

In 2018, Gladys presented her own choreography at Southwestern College that granted her a scholarship and an award for best new choreographer.

Gladys holds an Associate’s Degree in Dance from Southwestern College, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish, with a minor in Latin American Studies from CSULB, where she graduated in 2021. She enjoys working as the folklorico instructor at Mar Vista High School.

Gladys has been part of the Danzarts company for over 2 years, as a dancer and as a choreographer for various performances, including choreographing for Grammy Winner Lila Downs, and Mariachi Sol de Mexico.

DanzArts is a non-profit organization which provides a creative and relevant space for artistic and cultural expression, as well as preserving and raising cultural awareness of Mexico and Spain by giving back to the San Diego County community through dance and music.

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