Estela trained intensively with Maestro Antonio Santaella of Granada Spain, to whom she owes her development as a flamenco dancer, teacher and choreographer, and with other notable Spanish figures such as Carmen “La Talegona,” David Coria, La Farruca, Rocío Molina, Mercedes Amaya, Joaquín Grilo, Pastora Galván, Israel Galván, Belén Fernández, and Cristóbal Reyes, to name a few. She has a background in ballet, jazz, tap, and belly dance.
She has been performing flamenco in the Washington, DC Metro area since 1998. Vélez de Paredez is recognized for her style which combines the traditional gypsy with a modern touch and for her strong technical delivery. Critics have described her as a “stunning performer with a gaze that enraptured.” (Washington Post, November 2002). The Washington Area Mid East Dance Association agreed when they wrote, “Certain performers clearly stood out. One was Estela Velez, a student of both Flamenco and Middle Eastern Dance. She delivered a strong, graceful performance to a haunting piece of Flamenco and Native American fusion music”.
In 2001, she was invited to perform with Ballet Flamenco Antonio Santaella in a production of Julia en Flamenco at El Centro de Bellas Artes in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In August 2011, she was invited to perform in Managua, Nicaragua in the production Ida y Vuelta: De Donde Vienes Mestizo at the Teatro Nacional Rubén Darío. In the Washington area, Vélez de Paredez has performed at many venues, including the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, the Lincoln Theatre, Harmon Hall, National Theatre, Atlas Performing Arts Center, Jack Guidone Theater, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Dance Place, Publick Playhouse, Roundhouse Theater, and Alden Theatre. She has also performed at tablaos locally and in Puerto Rico and in flamenco demonstrations for the District of Columbia, Fairfax County and Montgomery County public schools, and with the D.A.R.E. Dancers Program. Her most ambitious production to date Lorca: Flamenco Poetry garnered two Metro DC Dance Awards in 2009.
She is faculty at the Joy of Motion Dance Center and in Fairfax, VA. During the summer months she regularly joins as faculty of various Summer Intensive programs including at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC (7 years) and BalletNova. She is often requested to offer Master Classes, most recently at the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts; and also offers lectures on the history and background of the art of flamenco. She serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Dance Metro DC. In 2003 she founded the flamenco dance company Furia Flamenca which she directs.