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9th Annual Festival
of Dance & Music

April 12-28, 2013

2013 CubaCaribe Festival Poster.jpg


Three dynamic weeks of Caribbean dance and music performances, master classes and lectures in San Francisco and Oakland.  This year’s festival will feature the Afro-Cuban modern dance company, Teatro de la Danza del Caribe.  Direct from Santiago de Cuba, this is Danza del Caribe’s first U.S. appearance!

The 9th Annual CubaCaribe Festival, the acclaimed annual contemporary and folkloric Caribbean dance and music extravaganza, returns for three exuberant weekends in April. Dance and music performances, master classes and lectures explore the culture, religion, history, folklorica and politics of the Afro-Caribbean cultural Diaspora.


April 12-14: Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th Street, SF

Friday-Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday @ 7pm; Special Family Matinee Sunday @ 3pm


A mixed program featuring local Caribbean Diaspora artists.  Companies include Agucaero (Puerto Rican), Arenas Dance Company (Cuba), De Rompe y Raja (Peru), Las Que Son Son (Cuba), Rueda Con Ritmo (Cuba) and Sambaxe (Brazil).  


There is a special kid friendly Sunday matinee at 3pm with discounted ticket pricing and a shorter program that includes face painting and performances by Conceição Damasceno’s Youth Ensemble (Brazil), Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble (African Diaspora), Quenepas (Puerto Rico) and Muriel Johnson (Caribbean storyteller).



April 19: YBCA Forum, 701 Mission Street, SF

Friday, 7pm


For the first time ever, Teatro de la Danza del Caribe will perform in the U.S. Directly from Santiago de Cuba, this Afro-Cuban modern dance company joins CubaCaribe for a dance performance, celebration and tribute to El Maestro Eduardo Rivero. Rivero is Danza's director and teacher who passed away in Nov. 2012. Danza will be performing some of Rivero’s most celebrated works. Joining Danza will be special guest, Danis “La Mora” Perez. (Please see bios for more information about company).



April 26-28, Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon Street, Oak

Friday-Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday @ 2pm and 7pm


Afro-Cuban modern dance companies, Alayo Dance Company and Danza Del Caribe join forces for the premiere and re-staging of Ramon Ramos Alayo’s ground breaking works, including: A Piece of White Cloth ('04); Wrong Way/Siempre Corriendo ('07); Sobre Tiempo/On Top Of The Beat  (Premiere); and What About Love? (Premiere).


Special Events


Lecture demonstration with John Santos, acclaimed percussionist and educator

April 17, 6pm

Museum of the African Diaspora


Dance Workshops with Danza del Caribe, Danis “La Mora” Perez, Silfredo La O and Ramon Ramos Alayo

Various Times

Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24 Street, SF


9th Annual CubaCaribe Festival

Week 1 - Our Teachers

Las Que Son Son - Underneath It All

Arenas Dance Company - Las Dos Aguas

Aguacero - Huellas

Ritmo y Movimiento - Tren Bala

Las Puras - El Cuarto de Tula

Rompe y Raja - Amador

Sambaxe - Spirit of Carnaval

Week 2 - El Maestro

Teatro de la Danza del Caribe - El Maestro

Week 3 - El Discípulo

Alayo Dance Company - Siempre Corriendo

Alayo Dance Company - What About Love?

Alayo Dance Company - A Piece Of White Cloth Excerpt

Danza Del Caribe - Sulkary

Alayo Dance Company - On Top of the Beat

Family Matinee

Conceição Damasceno's Butterflies - Fanfarra


Ramon Ramos Alayo (Artistic Director, CubaCaribe and Alayo Dance Company):

Ramon Ramos Alayo, Artistic Director of CubaCaribe and Alayo Dance Company, was selected at age eleven by the Cuban government to study dance in Santiago de Cuba. He later received a Masters Degree in Contemporary and Folkloric Dance and Dance Education from Havana’s National School of Art. He was the principal dancer with Danza del Caribe, Narcisco Medina Contemporary Dance Company and has performed in Cuba, Europe, Canada, Belize and the US. In 1997 Ramón moved to the US and began his professional career in the Bay Area. He has performed with a variety of local artists including Robert Henry Johnson, Kim Epifano, Krissy Keefer, Sara Shelton Mann, Joanna Haigood, and Robert Moses. Ramón founded Alayo Dance Company in 2001 as a vehicle for his innovative choreographies and in 2003 co-founded CubaCaribe, an organization that promotes Cuban art and culture through programs such as CubaCamp and the Annual CubaCaribe Festival of Dance and Music. He currently teaches Cuban Salsa and Afro-Cuban modern at a variety of Bay Area dance studios and also teaches movement for children. His work has received support from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Alliance for California Traditional Arts, CA$H – Theater Bay Area, LEF Foundation, Haas Foundation, California Arts Council and the Zellerbach Family Foundation. Ramón is also the recipient of the Gerbode Foundation’s prestigious Emerging Choreographer Award and was featured in National Geographic Magazine’s, Dance Across America. He was recently names “Best Dance Dynamo” by the SF Bay Guardian’s


Teatro de la Danza del Caribe:

Teatro de la Danza del Caribe, founded in 1988 by Eduardo Rivero, uses the techniques of modern and contemporary dance to show the components of identity within the Afro-Caribbean and Cuban cultures. Since 1988, Eduardo Rivero has directed Teatro de la Danza del Caribe. The company has a varied repertoire that includes Rivero's own work with its strong emphasis on physical design, and its reflection of folk and contemporary movement. These works include "Sulkary", an homage to the sculptural aesthetic, sensuality and beauty inherent in West African cultural life; "The Rumba", an exploration of the dialogue between dancers and musicians, in which the virtuosity of the soloists competes with the skill of the drummers and singers; and perhaps his most important work, "Sparks", an award-winning piece that evokes the sacredness of water as the basis for all life, and reflects its transitive nature. Teatro de la Danza del Caribe has also been an incubator for many talented young composers and dancers, including CubaCaribe’s own Ramon Ramos Alayo, along with Narcissus Medina, Lesme Grenot, and Arthur Castillo, among others. The vitality and explanatory power of the company’s young dancers - mostly graduates of the National Art School - blends with the freshness of a company that transgresses the boundaries of communication.


Eduardo Rivero Walker (founder, Danza del Caribe):

Rivero is the General and Artistic Director and founder of Teatro de la Danza del Caribe in Santiago, Cuba. During his continued tenure at the Danza del Caribe he has choreographed dozens of new dance works including: "Tributo," "Duo a lam," "Elogio de la Danza," "Okantomf," lila Filo," "Toromata," and "Sulkary," which is considered a classic piece of contemporary Cuban dance and has been performed by domestic and foreign companies. He has been awarded numerous awards in Cuba for his choreography and contribution to Cuban culture including the Raul Gomez Garda Medal, the Alejo Carpentier Medal, the Orden of Merit, the Jose Marfa Heredia Award, and the National Dance Prize in 2001, among others. Rivero's expertise has been leant to other international institutions such as the National Dance Company of Guyana, the National Dance Theatre Company and the National School of Dance, both in Jamaica, and his company has performed in dance festivals in Belize, Portugal, Columbia, Spain, Mexico, and Italy. He has collaborated with the Compania de Danza Contemporanea, "Le Corail," in Martinique and taught international summer courses in London and Birmingham. Rivero is Adjunct Professor at the Instituto Superior de Arte, and presents lectures and papers on the history and state of dance in Cuba, being considered one of the foremost experts on contemporary Caribbean dance. Eduardo Rivero passed away this past November 2012.


John Santos is a five-time Grammy-nominated percussionist.  Born in San Francisco, California, John was raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family, surrounded by music.  He is known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music, and has earned much respect and recognition as an educator, composer, and record and event producer. He’s been a prolific performer, composer, teacher, writer, radio programmer, and record/event producer whose career has spanned over 35 years. John has worked with acknowledged, multi-generational masters such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Max Roach, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Lázaro Ros, Bobby Hutcherson, Chucho Valdes, Chocolate Armenteros, John Handy, Billy Cobham, Zakir Hussain, and George Cables, to name a few. John is widely respected as one of the top writers, teachers and historians in the field and was a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution. He is currently part of the faculty at the Jazz School Institute (Berkeley, CA) and the College of San Mateo (CA). He has conducted countless workshops, lectures and clinics in the US, Latin America and Europe since 1972 at institutions of all types including the Adventures in Music program of the San Francisco Symphony, the Berklee School of Music in Boston, UCLA, Yale amd Stanford. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation declaring November 12, 2006 John Santos Day. And on October 9th, 2012, in a ceremony at City Hall, he received the 2012 San Francisco Latino Heritage Arts Award from the Mayor’s office. It came with a Certificate of Honor signed by Mayor Edwin Lee, and Certificates of Recognition from the State Assembly signed by Speaker Pro Tempore Fiona Ma and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a Certificate of Recognition from the State Senate signed by Senator Mark Leno, a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the US House of Representatives signed by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and a glass plaque from the City and County of San Francisco.

Danys “La Mora” Pérez’s Oyu Oro is originally from Santiago de Cuba.  La Mora is an internationally renowned master of Afro-Cuban folkloric dance who specializes in Cuban dance from el Oriente (the eastern part of Cuba), which has a heavy Haitian influence due to the large influx of Haitians during the Haitian Revolution. In 1994, she was granted the designation of primera bailarina and primera profesora by the National Dance Commission in Cuba, and has since taught in Italy, Spain, France, Canada, and the United States. La Mora currently teaches Afro Cuban dance classes at The Alvin Ailey Extension program and attends dance programs and workshops as a guest instructor and choreographer. She is founder and artistic director of Oyu Oro, the Afro-Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble in New York City.


Arenas Dance Company is a Cuban folkloric and popular dance company directed by Cuban-born Susana Arenas Pedroso. Arenas Dance Company has performed throughout the United States. Local Pperformances have included the SF Ethnic Dance Festival (2006, 2007), CubaCaribe (2005, 2006, 2012),  Black Choreographers Festival (2012) and various colleges, such as Chico State, Sacramento State, and Stanford University. Susana Arenas began her artistry in dance at age 12 when she took the opportunity to study at the Casa de La Cultura in Matanzas, Cuba, and began dancing professionally with Tierra Virgen in 1991, IN 1992 she joined the theater and dance troupe Alafia Ire. She danced with Oche Olorum in 1993, and in 1994 she joined the world-renowned Compania Folklorica Raices Profundas as a soloist. After settling in the Bay Area, she merged her two dance companies, Olorun and Sandunga Cubana,into Arenas Dance Company (2004), a company with a commitment to sharing Cuban culture in an accessible form for a wide audience.


Las Que Son Son, a San Francisco based, all-women dance company, performs a broad repertoire of Cuban dance genres ranging from contemporary popular to traditional folkloric. Founded in 2006, Las Que Son Son has been under the artistic direction of Cuban-born dancer and choreographer Yismari Ramos Tellez since 2008. LQSS dancers have studied with the prominent Cuban, Haitian, and Brazilian dance instructors of the San Francisco Bay Area, including Ramón Ramos Alayo, Susana Arenas Pedroso, Royland Lobato, José “Cheo” Rojas, Conceição Damasceno, and Yismari Ramos Tellez. They are also trained in such dance forms as flamenco, hula, ballet, and modern. The company's performance history includes San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival (2008, 2009, 2012); CubaCaribe Festival of Dance and Music (2007-2013); Storm of Roses at Herbst Theater (2008); San Francisco Salsa /Rueda Festival (2009-2013); Cubahia (2010); Bay Area Discovery Museum (2010); and numerous soirees and club events. The mission of Las Que Son Son—to study and perform dance in a collaborative environment—is based on the notion that dance is a vital artistic practice that shapes community and builds solidarity among diverse cultures, ethnicities, and ages.


Silfredo La O is a professional dancer in the Afro-Cuban and Haitian tradition, popular Latin dances and Modern dance. A graduate of the National Schools of Art in Havana, he toured professionally with Cutamba: Ballet Folkorico Afro-Cubano for five years and with the Modern dance company ODC/San Francisco from 2001 – 2003. He now resides in San Diego and currently teaches at UCSD and Palomar College.

Muriel Johnson is an early childhood educator and storyteller, specializing in multicultural folktales for children. Muriel was born and raised in Salisbury, MD. She grew up in an environment where language was celebrated. Her mother was an English teacher, actress and avid reader. As a child, Muriel would sit in awe as her mother would read and tell stories, sing songs and recite nursery rhymes. By the age of five, Muriel had acquired and extraordinary vocabulary, soaring imagination and gift of expression. As a storyteller Muriel shares her passion and warmth with audiences of all ages. Performing for preschools, libraries, parties, festivals and churches.

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