Mercedes Ibarra discovered Flamenco in 1995 at UCLA when choosing a dance class on a whim. She immediately fell in love with Flamenco; her teacher, Liliana de Leon-Torsiello, described her as a natural and asked her to join her company, DeLiRitmo. After her years at UCLA, she became a member of the Gabriela Garza Flamenco Dance Company. In 2005, she and her husband, Tarik, moved to Spain where she studied at the world-renowned Centro de Arte Flamenco y Danza Española, Amor de Dios, in Madrid. While there, she performed at the tablao, El Juglar, in the historic Flamenco district of Lavapiés.
Returning to Los Angeles in 2008, she continued her study with local masters and the legendary Manuela Carrasco at the Festival Flamenco Internacionál de Albuquerque, New Mexico. She later joined Heidi Duckler’s Collage Dance Theatre and collaborates at various Flamenco venues. She joined Linda Andrade's company Sakai Flamenco, as a featured dancer in 2011, taking over as Artistic Director when Linda retired in 2019. In 2016, Mercedes joined the faculty of the Ballet Folklorico Conservatory at the prestigious Orange County School of the Arts as the Flamenco Dance Teacher. A Teaching Artist for The Music Center, Los Angeles Arts Organization, and College of the Canyons; she is also a member of the International Dance Council at UNESCO since 2014. Audience members, and peers, have described Mercedes as possessing deep musicality, elegant arms and detailed hand technique, aire, - and an infectious joy for dancing! Students describe her as a giving, loving, and patient teacher, passionate about sharing her art form.