P U E L A L U N A R I S
Hailed as the 'Isadora Duncan of Flamenco' for her lyrical, barefoot Flamenco dance style, Pilar Sánchez Herrera, known artistically as Puela Lunaris, was raised in the ancient Morisco castle of Montanchez in Spain, which has been a crossroads of cultures and civilizations for centuries. This rich heritage is expressed in her work as a dance educator, a choreographer, a multimedia content producer, a flamenco cultural consultant, a speaker, and a scholar.
Based in New York since 2002, Puela, who holds a B.A. in Dance Education and Spanish Language & Culture from the State University of New York, as well as a Master in Publishing: Digital & Print Media from New York University, is also a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.
In 1994, she founded Dances of the World Society, an international network that supports her endeavors in safeguarding dance and music in danger of extinction.
Her work integrates the primordial aspects of dance and music with the cutting-edge aspects of technology to leave a legacy for generations to come.
One of her initiatives as Dances of the World Society founder is The Flamenco Roots Program, which currently focuses on preserving two aspects of Flamenco in danger of extinction: Zambra and Feminine Flamenco.
This program reaches people all over the world through her online academy at PuelaLunaris.com and also brings selected groups of people to Spain to experience flamenco beyond the stage as a way of life, among local Spaniards.
Puela served for a decade as a Flamenco Cultural Consultant and a Teaching Artist for the New York Flamenco Festival Educational Program at New York City Center.
She has also taught and guest lectured at NYU, Hollins University in Virginia, University of Extremadura (Spain), Peter Gabriel's W.O.M.A.D. Festivals, the prestigious Centro Andaluz de Danza in Seville, the Performing Arts Network in Miami Beach, as well as at the Juilliard School, and the Instituto Cervantes in New York City.
A devoted and loving dance educator, she teaches world-wide since 2008 through her Online Academy at PuelaLunaris.com, having conducted courses for over 1,000 participants from 11 countries.
Puela’s celebrated performance “Ancestral Memory,” inspired by Martha Graham’s autobiography, premiered at the Alexander the Great's Throne Room, during the International Babylon Festival, in the ancient city of Babylon (Iraq). “Ancestral Memory” was also highly acclaimed by members of the Jordanian Royal Family in Amman.
Puela has also performed for former Vice-president Al Gore and Dr. Deepak Chopra at the opening gala of the Alliance for the New Humanity in San Juan (PR). Other memorable performances include those of the Centro Cultural de la Villa (Madrid), Universidad de Sevilla, Teatro Central (Sevilla), and the off-Broadway show Goddessdance (New York City)
On a mission to save dance and music in danger of extinction, Puela is the producer of the Sacred Spain Trilogy, which documents Flamenco as a rite and a traditional expression.
The Rap & The Cross, the first documentary in the trilogy was awarded grants from the Consulate of Spain in New York and the Foundation for Ethnic Dance.
The film premiered at NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center and was also featured at the Lincoln Center’s Dance on Camera Film Festival, at the World Music Institute Film Festival in New York City, and at the Museo del Flamenco in Seville (Spain).
Passionate about making her culture accessible to international audiences by producing quality educational materials, Puela has produced the Duende Flamenco Practice Music Series, used by dancers and musicians to understand the intricate Flamenco rhythms.
Puela has also served as the Curator, Artistic Director, and Producer of the Legendary Gypsy Masters Anthology, which contains 11 albums with more than 200 songs covering 23 different Flamenco styles.
Aware that in our highly sedentary, media-intense culture, we need to move and be connected with our bodies more than ever, Puela is enthusiastic about taking the power of dance off the stage and into people's lives.
For that, she founded Movement Arts for Well-Being™, a comprehensive holistic wellness system that includes several highly effective mind-body programs, including:
* The Focusing Energy of Rhythm™, an active mindfulness meditation to gain control over our most precious resource: our attention.
* Archetypal Wisdom™, which uses creative movement and guided meditations to activate the power of archetypes, so we can be more productive at work and more fulfilled in life.
* Devi Yoga-Dance™, a practice that has been lauded, since 2005, as rejuvenating, invigorating, and fun.
* The Dance of the Universe™, a whirling meditation to expand creativity and increase the power of your bio-electromagnetic field.
Praised by the Village Voice as a “workshop leader who guides you through a sacred labyrinth of powerful unconscious forces,” Puela has appeared on TV in North America and Europe, including NBC, CNN, Univision and PBS in the United States, the R.A.I. in Italy, and TVE, Telecinco, Antena 3, Canal Sur and TV Marbella in Spain.
Puela has been honored with the innovative New York City Artist Corps grant when her project to revitalize New York's cultural life after COVID was selected by the New York Foundation for the Arts and The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
When Puela is not teaching dance, producing content, lecturing, or researching, you can find her taking walks in Central Park or baking something healthy and delicious. Driven by her mission to inform, inspire, and empower people to live healthier, happier lives through dance, Puela is devoted to researching and teaching ways to enliven our creative spirit, so we can live our most fulfilling lives.