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3rd Annual Festival
of Dance & Music

April 20-29, 2007


The Third Annual CubaCaribe Festival presents the dance and music of Cuba, Haiti, and Brazil, From the sacred Vougdoun dance of yanvalou, to the provocative Masún, to the joyous Mambo, to the groundbreaking fusion of Afro-Cuban popular and modern, the festival offers a profusion of dance, music and song over two weekends. In addition to performances, the festival includes special events and classes.

SHAKING OFF THE DUST - Friday & Saturday, April 20 & 21 at 8 pm, and Sunday, April 22 at 7 pm.

Based on the Picasso quote "Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life," Cuba Caribe presents a suite of performances by celebrated San Francisco Bay Area Haitian, Cuban and Brazilian folkloric dance companies. For generations, people throughout the Americas have relied on dance and song to shake off the dust of the mundane in the ripe hours after long days of toil.

Featuring: Michelle martin & Konpayi, Portsha Jefferson and Rara Tou Limen, Loco Bloco, and Las Que Son Son and more.


THREE TREES & TRACES - Thursday, Friday & Saturday, April 26, 27 & 28 at 8 pm, and Sunday, April 29 at 2 pm & 7 pm.

CubaCaribe presents the 2007 season of Alayo Dance Company with the debut of Ramón Ramos Alayo´s latest work, Three Threes & Traces. In this choreographic diptych, Ramos crafts layered, yet seamless, composition in which he simultaneously elaborates on and diverges from the traditional language of Cuban popular and modern dance forms.

Featuring: Ramón Ramos Alayo & Alayo Dance Company.


3rd Annual CubaCaribe Festival

Week 1 - Shaking off the Dust

Konpayi - Muzik Gede

Konpayi - Papa Legba, Ouvre bare pou nou (…we begin)

Konpayi - Banbouche! (…we continue)

Bateria Bay-Lleza de San Francisco y Grupo los Locos por Samba - Bay-Lleza

Las Que Son Son - Banda Gagá

Rara Tou Limen - Manbo Ayizan

Rara Tou Limen - Nachons: An Ancestral Link (Old World to the NEW) - Suite 1 - Neg Daome

Rara Tou Limen - Nachons: An Ancestral Link (Old World to the NEW) - Suite 2 - Evolution

Rara Tou Limen - Viv Rara!

Las Que Son Son - Return to Orient (no video)

Week 2 - 3 Threes & Traces

Alayo Dance Company - 3 Threes

Alayo Dance Company - Traces



Michelle Martin is the artistic director and choreographer for Konpayi, a San Francisco based Haitian dance ensemble. Martin studied with Katherine Dunham and masters of the original Dunham Dance Company. Martin also studied at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance, and with Jean Leon Destine and Richard Gonzales in New York City. Martin traveled throughout Nigeria, Cuba, and Haiti to study dance and music, its cultural meaning and historical roots in religious ceremony. In Haiti, she concentrated her studies near Gonaives at Souvinance, where the practice of Voudun has stayed truest to its Dahomean heritage. As a specialist in Dunham Technique and traditional Haitian dance, Martin taught at several San Francisco Bay Area institutions including, Lines Contemporary Ballet, CitiCenter Dance Theater, Rhythm and Motion, Alice Arts Center, and currently teaches at Dance Mission and Mills College. Martin was an artist-in-residence with the San Francisco Unified School District since 1989 and is working with the School of the Arts High School in the Theater Department. Martin has worked with West African dance companies Bantaba and Diamano Coura, toured Nigeria with Wajumbe Cultural Ensemble, and was the assistant artistic director, choreographer, principal dancer and singer for the nationally acclaimed group Petit la Croix under the leadership of Blanche Brown. In addition to her work with her company Konpayi, Martin is also working with Jose Francisco Barroso’s Cuban dance ensemble Obakoso.


Heather Watkins co-founded Loco Bloco Drum & Dance Ensemble with Jose Carrasco in 1994.  Watkins has studied and performed music, dance and theater for over twenty-five years.  She was a member of Escola Nova de Samba, Fogo Na Roupa, Ceedo Senegalese Dance Company, and Aisha Aku Dance Company. Heather toured internationally with Mingus Amungus as a percussionist and dancer, performing in the Berlin Jazz Festival, International Instanbul Jazz Festival, Monterrey Jazz Festival, Belgium, Cuba, as well as, numerous Bay Area venues. Heather is a visual artist as well and has collaborated on several mural projects in the Bay Area including commissioned piece in the Oakland Convention Center and the West Oakland Senior Center. 


Loco Bloco Drum & Dance Ensemble is a celebrated non-profit organization, offering performing arts programs for children, teens and young adults rooted in the multi-ethnic Mission District of San Francisco. Founded in 1994 by artists and activists of color, Loco Bloco provides free classes in percussion, dance and theater to thousands of youth from low-income communities. Drawing from African, Latino and Indigenous cultural currents, Loco Bloco empowers youth of color by connecting them to art forms reflective of their cultural heritage. Loco Bloco’s programs provide youth consistent contact with community-based artists of color who act as teachers, mentors and role models. Loco Bloco artists pass on their skills and passion, thereby empowering youth to make healthy choices in their lives. Loco Bloco offers free classes to thousand youth in twenty schools and community centers; participates in five cultural exchanges with youth and art communities; and has won Grand Prize three times in San Francisco’s Carnaval Parade. 


Regina Califa Calloway is artistic director of Fogo Na Roupa Drum & Dance Ensemble and brings to the group her extensive history of training in dance and music with leading African and Cuban masters. Since 1990, Calloway has been implemented programming and coordinated promotional events for Fogo Na Roupa Drum & Dance Ensemble. As an instructor, scholar, and performer, Calloway brings to the company a unique history of research and expertise in African dance and drum culture.


Fogo Na Roupa Drum & Dance Ensemble was founded by Carlos Aceituno in Oakland in 1989 and consists of both a performing company and an award winning Grupo Carnavalesco (Carnaval Group). The name Fogo Na Roupa, means “Clothes on Fire,” and is symbolic of the blazing energy generated by the group’s lively rhythms and dance. Fogo Na Roupa opened for internationally acclaimed Brazilian recording artist Carlinhos Brown, Olodum, and Carlos Santana. Fogo Na Roupa participated in cultural exchanges with Brazil’s first Bloco Afro, Ilê Aiyê, and with Timbalada. For four consecutive years, Fogo Na Roupa was a Carnaval Grand Prize Winner and received awards in numerous parades, including San Francisco’s Chinese New Year and Cinco de Mayo Parades. In 2005, Fogo Na Roupa was awarded the San Francisco Carnaval Grand Parade Championship in recognition of the creativity and cohesive design style that defines the group. 


Rogelio “Ñoño” Kindelan was born in Guantanamo, Cuba and came to the United States as part of a cultural exchange with the non-governmental organization, Cuba Puente, in July 1997. Prior to his arrival in the San Francisco Bay Area, he studied at the University of Santiago and at the Centro Nacional de Superación de la Enseñanza Artística (CSNEA) where he received the equivalent of a Masters of Fine Arts in 1987. After, he was professor of percussion and principal music director of Ban Rra Rra, the renowned Cuban dance ensemble originally from Guantanamo and now based in Havana. Kindelan studied percussion with Julian Gali, was a member of the Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana and worked as director of La Escuela de Arte de Nivel Medio. As a master of all Cuban drumming rhythms, he currently teaches percussion in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the specialized Cuban-Haitian rhythms dominant in the eastern provinces of the Cuba.


Las Que Son Son (we are who we are) is a newly reconstituted group of dancers from diverse backgrounds brought together by a mutual interest in ethnic dance. Las Que Son Son dancers are professionals in many fields including visual arts, Spanish translation, graphic design and education. The all-women ensemble is trained by some of the most prominent Cuban, Haitian and Brazilian dance instructors in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Ramón Ramos Alayo, Susanna Arenas Pedroso, Jose “Cheo” Rojas, Royland Lobato and more. The mission of Las Que Son Son – to study and perform dance in a collaborative atmosphere – is based on the notion that dance is a vital cultural and artistic practice that shapes community and builds solidarity among diverse races, ethnicities and ages.


Portsha Jefferson is the founder and artistic director of Rara Tou Limen. Jefferson served as a principal dancer and singer with Group Petit La Croix for seven years with veteran dancer and educator Blanche Brown. She has also performed Haitian dance with Reconnect Dance Ensemble and Afro-Cuban dance with Emese and Obakoso. In 2003 and 2007, Jefferson traveled throughout Haiti to research regional dance, song and music. Her concentrated study took place in Gonaives at Lakou Badjo, where Nogo (Yoruba) traditions are preserved and in Tanp Souvenance Mistik, a Vodou community that celebrates its Rada (ancient kingdom of Dahomey) heritage. She studied at Ecole Nationale Des Arts (ENARTS), at Vivian Gauthier’s school of dance with Cadet Jean Evans, and conducted independent study with Peniel Guerrier of Ballet Folklorique Tamboula D’ Haiti. For the past nine years, Jefferson has taught creative movement and Afro-Haitian dance in schools, community centers and studios, including The Young Performers Theater, the San Francisco Arts Education Project, Westlake School of the Arts, Opera Piccola, and Swivel Arts. Currently, Jefferson is artist-in-residence in Oakland, Berkeley and SF public schools and instructor at City Dance Studios and Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts. 


Lee “Iyayo” Hetelson is the musical director of Rara Tou Limen. For more than fifteen years, Hetelson studied the ritual music of Haitian Vodou, with a focus on the complexity and diversity of Haitian regional repertoire. He has participated in Vodou ceremonies in California, New York and Haiti, including a three-day 

ceremony with renowned Mambo Mama Lola and the elaborate Vodoun ritual at Tanp Souvenance Mistik in Gonaives, Haiti. He has performed in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, the Bay Area Dance Series and Collage de Cultures Africaines. Hetelson also accompanied dance classes at Laney College and Mills College in Oakland, City College of San Francisco and the College of Performing Arts in Philadelphia. He served as musical director for leading dance companies, including Petit La Croix and Bamboche. Currently, Hetelson is the coordinator for the Music of the World Program at Oakland Youth Chorus.


Rara Tou Limen Afro-Haitian Dance Ensemble, (Rara [rah-rah] – a musical band on foot, a moving community festival, and a celebration of Haitian pride; Limen [lee-may] – to shine bright, illuminate) is a Haitian folkloric ensemble composed of dancers, musicians, 

singers and practitioners who have studied with some of the pioneers of the art in both Haiti and the United States. Rara Tou Limen was founded in 2004 by artistic director Portsha Jefferson, with Lee “Iyayo” Hetelson serving as musical director. The ensemble’s mission is to educate audiences in the richness of Haitian culture through artistic 

interpretation of religious ceremonial dance and celebratory dances of Kanaval. Rara Tou Limen was prominently featured at San Francisco Black Film Festival (2005) and participated in various dance festivals including SF Carnaval. Most recently, the company performed at the de Young Museum, “Hastings to Haiti Partnership Celebration” and at UC Berkeley’s “Beyond Visibility Conference.” The continuing political strife and economic difficulties in Haiti reinforce the importance for Rara Tou Limen to represent Haiti’s 

culture and dance, thereby reinforcing Haiti’s long tradition of strength and solidarity.


Dj Alfie a.k.a. Alfie1Bateria a percussionist, drummer, salsa casino dancer, music teacher and DJ. He is well versed in Brazilian, Haitian, West African, Cuban, Puerto Rican and North American styles of percussion and serves as co-musical director of Loco Bloco Dance & Drum Ensemble. Dedicated to helping youth and adult artists acquire the skill to express themselves dynamically through music and dance, he teaches Afro-Brazilian percussion ensemble (bateria/bloco) at Loco Bloco, the Windsor Bloco and at the SF Arts Education Project. In addition, Alfie teaches classes in salsa casino and salsa casino rueda. Dj Alfie’s weekly DJ residency is at “Golden” in the Pasaporte Room alongside DJ WaltDigz, where you can hear his eclectic and soulful collection from the four corners of the earth with a strong Salsa-Timba chop. Dj Alfie played music for many CubaCaribe events, including Cuba Camp II (2005), Cuba Camp Hawaii (2006) and will be playing at the Latino Heritage Week in Hawaii later this year. DJ Alfie will be mixing the best in Cuban music throughout the Third Annual CubaCaribe festival.

Alayo Dance Company, now in its fifth year, was founded by Ramón Ramos Alayo with the mission to fuse Afro-Cuban modern, folkloric, and popular dance. Ramos eloquently cites movements, narratives and concepts from each tradition, using a synthesized language to articulate his aesthetic vision. Alayo Dance Company is the resident company of CubaCaribe and performs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area at venues such as Dance Mission Theater, Sonoma Country Wine Theater, and La Pena Cultural Center. 

Ramón Ramos Alayo is a dancer, teacher, choreographer and the founder and artistic director of the Alayo Dance Company and CubaCaribe. Ramos was selected by the Cuban government to study dance in Santiago de Cuba at age eleven. In 1990 he earned a masters degree in contemporary and folkloric dance and dance education from the Havana's National School of Art. He was the principal dancer with Danza de! Caribe, Narciso Medina Contemporary Dance Company and performed in Cuba, Europe, Canada, Belize and the U.S. Since moving to California in 1997, he has performed with some of the most respected choreographers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Robert Henry Johnson, Kim Epifano, Sara Shelton Mann, and Joanna Haigood. Ramos currently dances with Robert Moses' Kin and teaches Cuban popular dance, Afro-Cuban modern dance and children's movement at several local dance studios and schools. In 2001 Ramos founded Ire Ile, an all-woman Cuban popular dance group and in 2002 founded the Alayo Dance Company. As director and choreographer, his work is an innovative fusion of Afro-Cuban modern, folkloric and popular Cuban dance. Ramos has choreographed and produced six full-length dance performances: Anoraiiza de Una Epoca (1999); Mis Sueiios, Mis Ideas (2003, 2004); A Piece ofWhite Cloth (2004, 2005); La Madre (2005); After Rain (2006). In 2003 Ramos co-founded and became artistic director of CubaCaribe. Ramos has received grants from Cash (2005), Zellerbach (2005) and Lef Foundations (2005). Most recently he received the prestigious Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation's "Emerging Choreographer Award" to develop original choreography that will be premiered at Dance Mission Theatre in November 2007. Alayo Dance Company was featured in "Dance Across America," published in National Geographic Magazine (2006) and Ramos was an Isadora Duncan Dance Award nominee for the ensemble performance of Los Guedes, performed at CubaCaribe Festival (2006). 

Tina Banchero received her B.A. from SUNY, Buffalo in dance and women's studies. She has been performing with Dance Brigade and other local dance companies for the last seven years. Banchero served as the artistic director of the GRRRL Brigade and the Jr. Grrrl Brigade Companies. Banchero has also thoroughly directed the Dance Mission Theater's Youth Program for the last six years. 

Amy Bandera is a Latin-American style competitive ballroom dancer and teacher. She has performed and competed in ballroom dance for the past eight years in venues throughout the U.S. Most recently she placed 1st in the SF Open Dancesport Championships Pro-Am Open Latin Event. In addition to dancing ballroom, Amy also studies the original forms of these dances including cha-cha, rumba, son, salsa, samba and flamenco. Amy has a doctorate in psychology and works as a licensed clinical, testing and forensic psychologist in San Francisco and Marin Counties. 

Amy DaSilva graduated from New College of the University of South Florida with a B.A. in art history. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. in 1998, she began studying Brazilian, Haitian, and Cuban folkloric and contemporary styles and continued her studies in modern dance. DaSilva has performed with Aguas da Bahia, Collaborative Performance Troupe, and Paco Gomes. DaSilva currently dances with Anne Bluethenthal & Dancers and teaches creative movement classes for children throughout the Bay Area. She has been member of Alayo Dance Company since 2006. 

Antoine Devinci Hunter is a dancer, actor, writer, choreographer and dance instructor from Oakland. Hunter began his studies in dance at Skyline High School with Dawn James. He studied West African Dance with Master C.K. and Betty Ladzekpo, and studied at the Paul Taylor Summer Intensives. He has performed with Nuba Dance Theater and The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Hunter attended the California Institute of the Arts and is studying toward a B.A degree in dance at St. Mary's College in the LEAP Program. He is a faculty member at East Bay Center of the Performing Arts, co-director and teacher at Urban Ballet in Richmond, dance instructor for Dance-A-Vision Ent, and rehearsal director and instructor at the Ross Dance Company. This is his third year dancing with Alayo Dance Company. Through his dedication to dance, Hunter hopes to demonstrate to those with hearing disabilities (or any disability) that it is possible achieve their dreams. 

Megan Janssen was raised in Ashland, Oregon where she took her first dance class at the age of three. She danced and performed classical ballet and modern dance throughout childhood with the local youth dance company, Generation Y. After high school Megan pursued her interests in sustainable design and permaculture and traveled to Hawaii and Costa Rica to study these interests. After moving to San Francisco, Janssen has been studying sustainable interior architecture, guiding wilderness trips and dancing. She started dancing with Ramón Ramos Alayo in 2004 and began rehearsing with Alayo Dance Company in October of 2006. 

Justin F. Kennedy was raised in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Kennedy graduated from wesleyan, earning a dual degree in dance and ethnic studies. During his college career, Justin studied ballet, modern dance, dance composition, Bharata Natyam (South Indian classical dance), West African Dance, and Flamenco. Kennedy has attended dance intensives such as Barnard Summer Dance Study, The Ailey School, Nutmeg Ballet School, and American Ballet Theater. Kennedy also studies Afro-Cuban dance, Afro-Haitian dance and the traditional dances of the Dominican Republic. Kennedy currently performs with Alonzo King's LINES Ballet Repertory Ensemble and teaches hip-hop dance to high school students in the Mission District at the Jamestown Community Center. 

Alexis Miller grew up in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where she began her training in ballet at age four and modern dance at thirteen. While at Connecticut College, she spent a semester in Paris dancing and 

studying art history. Miller graduated with a B.A. in French and dance. After traveling to New Zealand in 2005, she quite unexpectedly landed in San Francisco in the. She now takes studies dance and works at ODC and is a member of RAW dance. 

Aja Randall is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. In 1999, Randall graduated from Stephens College with a degree in dance and a minor in education. She moved to San Diego, California with her husband in 2000 and danced for two years with Majelate Collective Dance Ensemble and worked on projects with Sadie Weinberg. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area over three years ago, she began dancing with Alayo Dance Company. 

Laura Serghiou is originally from the island of Cyprus. Since moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1993, she has attended ballet, modern and jazz classes at San Francisco Dance Center. In 1999, she graduated with a Masters degree in Art Education with a specialization in dance from Stanford University. Serghiou has been dancing with Alayo Dance Company since 2004. 

Patricia West Sotelo is an Oakland based dancer, choreographer, and elementary school teacher. She has received a B.A. in English, dance, and education at U.C. Berkeley and a M.A. in Education at San Jose State University. Patricia has worked with Bay Area Repertory Dance, Capacitor, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Robert Moses' Kin, Levy Dance, and several independent choreographers. Patricia is currently a member of both Alayo Dance Company and Joe Goode Performance Group. This is her fifth year dancing with the Alayo Dance Company. 

Oscar Trujillo is a Cuban-American performer, choreographer and teacher. Oscar is currently co-director of GROUP and Cubana Cero Productions. Oscar has worked with Capacitor, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, ADEO, Dandelion Dance Theater, Kajiyama and Navarette, Element Dance Theater, and Mary Carbonara dances and others. This is his fourth year with Alayo Dance Company. 


Patricio Angulo is originally from Los Angeles, but has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last twelve years. Angulo initially studied classical percussion, but eventually concentrated on Afro-Caribbean rhythms, studying intensively under world-renowned percussionist Michael Spiro. Angulo has performed with local artists such as Fito Reinoso's Ritmo y Armonia, Dr. Loco and his Rockin' Jalapeño Band, Charansón.


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