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13th Annual Festival
of Dance & Music

March 30-April 7, 2017



The 13th Annual CubaCaribe Festival, March 30 - April 7, 2017, will feature nine days of Caribbean dance and music performances, seven world premiere performances, master classes, film screenings, lectures and celebrations at two different San Francisco venues, Brava Theater and Museum of African Diaspora. The CubaCaribe 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 Manos De Mujeres, will delve into the complex role of women, it will highlight and honor the important work of women and their powerful hands that have and continue to sustain us. 
In cultures that have strong gender roles, it can be difficult for women to break from their expected roles of mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, lovers, and caretakers. Still today, in many Latino and Caribbean cultures, many women are dependent on men for financial support and often physical survival, perpetuating the traditional values of “machismo.” Although this is ever evolving, it still stands in sharp contrast to the modern American woman who has made more advances towards independence. 
“Their physical, artistic and intellectual work is often not recognized and yet they often carry the weight of their communities in their hands,” says CubaCaribe Festival and Alayo Dance Company Artistic Director Ramón Ramos Alayo. “Women’s hands, beautiful and broken, are their lifelines, their power, and their tools for tending. We honor those women whose work is never done regardless if they work outside the home.”  




Saturday and Sunday at 8pm, April 1-2

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

Tickets: $25 online, $30 door

Sunday at 3pm, April 2

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

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


Special Events


Panel Discussion & Reception : Movers and Shakers : Bay Area Women Making a Difference in the Arts

Thursday March 30, 7pm

Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94105


A panel discussion moderated by Aimee Suzara with women artists Shefali Shah, Sandra García Rivera, Krissy Keefer, Isabel Yrigoyen, Deborah Vaughan, and Susana Arenas Pedroso . Women powerfully contribute to our local SF Bay Area arts community. Learn what their inspirations, challenges, opportunities and experiences leading social change.


Film Screening : Anacaona: The Buena Vista Sisters' Club

Thursday April 6, 7pm

Museum of the African Diaspora , 685 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94105


Directed by Manfred Schafer and Ingrid Kummels

Description: his informative and entertaining documentary charts the extraordinary story of Anacaona, a glamorous all-girl orchestra that stormed to success in 1930s Cuba and became the toast of Old Havana. Founded by Cuchito Castro (and eventually comprised of her ten sisters), this internationally renowned group took their exotic "son cubano" rhythms across the world before sadly fading into obscurity after the Cuban Revolution. Introduction by Sonia D. Pina.


Lecture/Demonstration : Bobi Cespedes

Manos De Mujeres en la religión Yoruba

Friday April 7, 7pm

Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94105


Bobi Cespedes, (acclaimed folkloric singer, dancer and percussionist, recording artist, storyteller, priestess and Iyanifa, accomplished historian, lecturer, and cultural arts teacher.) will lead us to a deeper understanding of the divine feminine forces (Orishas) in the Lucumí (Cuban-Yoruba) pantheon using song, storytelling and lecture. Through chants sung in a call and response pattern, the community can join in giving praise to Obatala, Yemaya, Oshun and other female Orishas. As Lucumí priestess and respected elder, musician and bandleader, Bobi Céspedes has earned a place among the most preeminent artists and cultural arts educators in the Bay Area.


13th Annual CubaCaribe Festival

Week 1 - Manos de Mujeres

Los Lupeños de San José - Comala

Almazônica Dance Collective - Floresta Feminina

Arenas Dance Company - Manos de Mujer a la Obra

Cunamacué - Mis Manos

Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble and Batala San Francisco - Mulheres Livres

Amor Do Samba - Under Pressure: Asi Hicieron Las Mujeres Diamantes

Sunday Matinee

Quenepas - Inspirados: de Boriken a la Bahia

Maracatu Pacífico - Mulheres no Maracatu: Do Terreno ao Sagrado

Cuicacalli Dance Company - Raices Sin Limites

Bolivia Corazón de América - Death of Slavery

Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble and Batala SF - Mulheres Livres


Almazônica, a new dance collective under the direction of Felice Gomez, presents Floresta Feminina, an Afro-Brazilian dance piece fused with samba de caboclo, which pays homage to the orixa of the hunt, Oxossi, the iconic Amazon Forest which has been stewarded by the hands of indigenous women, and the women who have kept Afro-Brazilian traditions alive for generations. Women in Brazil provide the fabric for ensuring the longevity of traditions used in Afro-Brazilian houses of worship, and this piece culminates with the female cacique guiding her followers to summon, receive, and praise the spirits of their ancestors. Almazônica was created to promote the rich cultural roots of Brazilian dance and music through performances, classes and community events. 


Arenas Dance Company, under the direction of choreographer Susana Arenas Pedroso, presents Manos de Mujer a la Obra, a fusion of Afro-Cuban popular and folkloric dance honoring the spiritual and secular labor that rests in the hands of Cuban women.  Arenas Dance Company’s mission is to preserve and promote the rich and diverse Cuban folkloric and popular (i.e. social) dance traditions – from the percussive Arará to the sensual Rumba to the energetic Palo – making it accessible to wide audiences via performances and classes.


Los Lupeños de San José will present traditional sones from Colima in western México. Founded in 1969 by visionaries Ramón Morones and the late 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, Cortez has upheld Los Lupeños’ traditional dance genre by adding new suites with nuanced choreographies.


Cunamacué will present a music and dance piece rooted in Afro-Peruvian culture in collaboration with Marina Lavalle and Proyecto Lando, a contemporary elaboration of the Festejo rhythm honoring women, their hands, and the hard work they do. Cunamacué based in Oakland, California, was funded by artistic director Carmen Román.  The company promotes the continuity of Afro-Peruvian culture, representing it not as a point in time, but as a living, vibrant and evolving form whose music and dance can be used as a means of contemporary expression.


Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble and Batala San Francisco are coming together to tell the story of young black women embracing their queendom, finding their voice, confidence and strength through movement and music.  DEPE is a group of students ranging in age from 12-19 years, has developed an outstanding reputation for presenting pre-professional work that is considered unique and quite remarkable in terms of what is expected of youth groups.

Batalá San Francisco is a Brazilian percussion and dance ensemble. We play samba reggae, a popular musical genre of Salvador, Bahia. We take pride in being a truly diverse organization. We are a multi-generational, multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual group of drummers from all walks of life—united by our love of drumming. Batalá San Francisco is the Bay Area contingent of Batalá Mundo—the international drumming organization founded by Giba Goncalves in 1997.


Amor Do Samba unveils the matrilineal inspiration behind Amor do Samba through Peruvian and Brazilian immigration chronicles of love, power, poverty, and passion in pursuit of opportunity and ultimately equality.  Amor Do Samba is a Samba dance and music ensemble dedicated to promoting afro-latin music and dance in the San Francisco bay area.


Maracatú Pacifico will present a piece honoring the important, transformative role of women in preserving the sacred traditions of the Maracatu Nations ("Nações"), including their spiritual connection with deities ("Orixás") and the pageantry of the royal procession. Maracatu Pacífico, a SF Bay Area group that performs Afro-Brazilian Maracatu from Northeastern Brazil.


Bolivia Corazón de América will present the "Death of Slavery"  a cross generational Afro-Bolivian dance piece centered around death and the afterlife. Bolivia Corazón de América was formed in 2000 by Susana Salinas to connect Bolivian American children to their heritage. It continues to showcase Bolivia’s rich and varied culture, and now includes young dancers from other Latin America countries and the U.S. The company educates audiences though innovative high-quality, professional performances, often re-creating Bolivian dances by taking on innovative approaches to ancient and rare forms.


Quenepas will present a Puerto Rican Bomba piece. Bomba originated in the sugar cane plantations of Puerto Rico over 300 years ago. Used as a form of communication, to plan escapes from the plantations and to deal with suffering. Quenepas is a dynamic Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena music and dance youth ensemble that had its inception in 2008 at La Peña Cultural Center. Quenepas youth have been studying and performing under the direction of Hector Lugo and Shefali Shah.

Cuicacalli Dance Company presents "Raíces sin Limites" is a piece about the African Diaspora and how the hands of Africa shaped so many other cultures. Cuicacalli Dance Company, meaning ‘House of Culture’ in Nahuatl language, is a company that fuses dance styles such as Indigenious, Folkloric, and Contemporary, into a unique story of their own.

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