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12th Annual Festival
of Dance & Music

April 14 - May 1, 2016

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The 12th Annual CubaCaribe Festival, April 14-30, will feature three exuberant weeks of Caribbean dance and music performances, master classes, film screenings, lectures and celebrations. Bay Area venues include Brava Theater and Dance Mission Theater, and Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco, and Laney College Theater in Oakland. The festival has been highly acclaimed for being the only festival to present popular, contemporary and folkloric cultural expression, religion, history, and politics of the Afro-Caribbean Diaspora. This year’s festival, entitled CUBA ON MY MIND, pays tribute to Cuba’s rich artistic and cultural traditions and how they have and continue to influence artists around the globe.


Cuba’s strong and significant focus on the arts makes it unique in the world. Artists of all disciplines are regarded with esteem and honor. Music and dance in particular, are intricately woven into the fabric of daily life. Cuban artists are, arguably among the most versatile and elite artists ever produced. They have provided rich cultural treasures that have influenced students, created movements and garnered admirers worldwide. This is why we asked each CubaCaribe festival artist to answer: How has Cuba inspired you?


Week 1:  April 15-16 @ 8pm, April 17 @7pm

Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th Street, SF

Friday-Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday @ 7pm;

Tickets: $20 online, $25 door; $12 youth (ages 12 and younger)

Mixed program #1 featuring local Caribbean Diaspora artists.  



Week 2:  April 22-23@ 8pm, April 24 @7pm

Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon Street, Oakland

$25 online, $30 door

Afro-Cuban modern dance company, Alayo Dance Company will join Nicole Klaymoon’s Embodiment Project and Krissy Keefer for an evening of innovative contemporary and street dance.



Week 3:  April 29-30 @ 8pm

Brava Theater, 2781 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Friday-Saturday @ 8pm

Tickets: $25 online, $30 door; $12 youth (ages 12 and younger)

Mixed program #2 featuring local Caribbean Diaspora artists.


Special Events


The special events throughout the three-week festival, round out the programming with not-to-miss discussions, practice and intellectual opportunities to explore the Diaspora further. These special events include:


Lecture/Demonstration with Daniel Brevil, Haitian percussionist and educator

April 14, 7pm

Museum of the African Diaspora 


Haitian Traditional drumming and its connection to Cuba

Description: Haitian traditional drumming shares many organizing principles with other African- based forms of music. Daniel will choose examples from the repertoire that illustrate how melody can carry information: to organize a line that the lead drummer can develop, to call changes in the dance, to ask for a particular step, or as language that mimics speech or the lyrics of the kreyol song. Melody can come from one drum, but can also be spread among as many as 4 players. Hearing how Daniel organizes the music will help you understand similarities between Cuban Haitian traditional drumming of music you may familiar with. Accompanied by Kendrick Freeman and Karen Kirschling.


Film Screening

April 28, 7pm

Museum of the African Diapora 


They Are We

Description: Can a family separated by the transatlantic slave trade for 170 years sing and dance its way back together? THEY ARE WE tells the story of survival against the odds and how determination and shared humanity can triumph over the bleakest of histories.

Dance Workshops with Cuban All Stars dancer, George Ibar Veranes direct from Santiago de Cuba

Various Times and locations (please see for details)


Closing Reception 

Saturday April 30, 10pm 

Brava Theater, 2781 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Meet and mingle with the talented artists of the CubaCaribe Festival

$50 (includes ticket to April 30th performance)


12th Annual CubaCaribe Festival

Week 1 - Cuba on my Mind

Teatro Brasileiro de Dança: the Bahia in Oakland Collective - CUBAHIA meu Amor! (no video)

Tika Morgan Dance - Transformations

Ballet Folklorico Odduara - AfreYemaya (no video)

Cuicacalli Dance Company - Veracruz "Son Jarocho" (no video)

Aguas Dance Company - Fé (no video)

Week 2 - Cuba on my Mind

Alayo Dance Company - Where the Butterflies Go

Embodiment Project - Chalk Outlines (excerpts)

Kissy Keefer - Gracias a La Vida

Alayo Dance Company - 24/7

Alayo Dance Company - Goodbye

Week 3 - Cuba on my Mind

Alafia Dance Ensemble - Reine Kongo (no video)

Los Lupeños de San José - Pasión Jarocha (no video)

ABADÁ-Capoeira San Francisco Company - Tradições Afro-Brasileiras (no video)

Duniya Dance and Drum Company - Badala & Liberté (no video)

Gafierira Brasil Dance Group - A Night in Rio (no video)

Aguacero - Barriles Cantan Cuentos (no video)


Aguas de Bahia

Aguas de Bahia presents traditional and contemporary Afro Brazilian dance through performances, classes, cultural trips and SF Carnaaval since 1997. Artistic Director, Tania Santiago, a native of Salvador, Bahia, founded Aguas Dance Company in 1999 and has been teaching Afro Brazilian dance to all ages throughout the Bay Area since 1997. She leads annual dance intensives to Salvador each winter and for the past 10 years has had an award-winning contingent at the SF Carnaval Parade each spring. She is available for performances, collaborations, choreography consulting, workshops and Brazil trip consultation/leading. You can find her teaching at ODC/ Rhythm and Motion studios Tuesday's and Thursday at 8:15 pm and Saturday's at 10:00.


Alayo Dance Company

Alayo Dance Company was founded in 2001 by Ramón Ramos Alayo. Ramos Alayo articulates his creative vision through a synthesis of Afro-Cuban modern, folkloric and popular Cuban dance. Alayo is the resident company of CubaCaribe. Alayo has grown an audience far more diverse than most Bay Area modern dance circuits, attracting devotees of both contemporary and folkloric arts. It is known for tackling difficult issues such as slavery, racism and cancer, and since its inception has produced nine evening-length productions that have received both critical and popular acclaim. They have performed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area at venues such as Theater Artaud, ODC Theater, Dance Mission Theater, Herbst Theater, Laney Theater, Sonoma Country Wine Theater, and La Peña Cultural Center, and have presented work in the Black Choreographer's Festival, The CubaCaribe Festival, and Intersection's Culture and Flow. In 2010 Alayo was one of the first American companies to ever perform at the Annual Festival del Caribe at Teatro Martí. Alayo also performed at Teatro Mella in Havana, Cuba in July 2011. Alayo was featured in the article "Dance Across America" in National Geographic Magazine in 2006, and received the prestigious Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation's "Emerging Choreographer's Award" (2005) to develop his piece, Blood + Sugar. Ramos was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award nominee for the ensemble performance of Los Guedes, performed at CubaCaribe Festival (2006). Most recently, he was recognized as "Best Dance Dynamo" in the SF Bay Guardian's "Best of the Bay" (2009), and was the recipient of a SF Bay Guardian 2010 Goldie Award, hailed by dance critic Rita Felciano as "the best Afro-Cuban dancer whose choreography stands well beyond traditional modes."


Alafia Dance Ensemble

Valerie Watson founded Alafia Dance Ensemble (ADE) in 1995 because of a desire to showcase the intricate beauty of African Haitian Dance and Music. As a professor of Dance at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) since 1980 and a 3rd generation Dunham dancer and teacher, Ms. Watson began the company with students from African Haitian classes she taught at CCSF (a process that continues). Over the past 15 years Alafia Dance Ensemble has had the honor to perform in many venues which include: 30th San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Haitian Flay Day Celebration at Ashkenaz, La Pena Cultural Center, Great American Music Hall, Presidio’s Golden Gate Club, Konbit 2nd Annual Haitian Dance, Music and Arts Festival, Cuba Caribe, Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater, and CCSF Dance Concerts. Artistic Director: Valerie Watson. Assistant Artistic Director: Mariella Morale


Embodiment Project

Embodiment Project (EP) is a street dance theater company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our mission is to promote an appreciation and understanding of various street dance forms by presenting original, multi-media works to diverse audiences while challenging traditional approaches to concert dance. We use movement, live song, theater, and spoken word to humanize stories often silenced by mainstream culture. We create emotionally transparent and autobiographical narratives that serve as unifying political acts and vehicles for social change. Embodiment Project was founded in 2008 out of Artistic Director Nicole Klaymoon’s desire to create a bridge between contemporary concert dance and Afro-diasporic social dance forms. Klaymoon feels called to contribute to a legacy of female dance-makers who illuminate what dominant culture masks or buries. She identifies as an eco-feminist choreo-poet, someone who dynamically combines spoken word and dance to invoke an emotional response from audiences regarding the interconnectedness between the oppression of women and nature. In addition to live performances, Embodiment Project’s vision is share their passion and knowledge of street dance, culture, and history, as well as their innovative ‘choreo-poetic’ method with diverse communities.


Los Lupeños de San Jose

Founded in 1969 by visionaries Ramón Morones and Susan Cashion, Los Lupeños de San José is recognized as one of the earliest Mexican folk dance companies in California. Los Lupeños is known for its artistry, history, traditions, innovation, and endurance. Los Lupeños artists are passionate about learning and executing their art form, representing their culture, and being a positive force within the California dance community. As a program of the non-profit Cashion Cultural Legacy since 2014, Los Lupeños is re- establishing itself at the forefront of the folklórico dance genre. Award-winning choreographer, investigator, and workshop master instructor Samuel Cortez, originally from Guanajuanto, México, took the reins of Artistic Director in January, 2015. Since then, Samuel has upheld Los Lupeños’ traditional dance genre by adding new suites with nuanced choreographies.

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