ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Ramón Ramos Alayo was a principal dancer with several prominent Cuban dance companies, including Danza del Caribe and Narcisco Medina Contemporary Dance Company, touring throughout Europe, Belize, and Canada. Since relocating to the U.S. in 1997 he has performed with Robert Henry Johnson, Kim Epifano, Sara Shelton Mann, Zaccho Dance Theatre and Robert Moses’ Kin. He founded Alayo Dance Company in 2002 and CubaCaribe in 2003. His work is an innovative fusion of Afro-Cuban modern, folkloric and popular Cuban Dance, having choreographed and produced twelve full length dance performances. He has been featured in National Geographic Magazine, received the prestigious Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Emerging Choreographer’s Award, was recognized as “Best Dance Dynamo” by the SF Bay Guardian, was the recipient of a SF Bay Guardian Goldie Award, and has been hailed by dance critic Rita Felciano as “the best Afro-Cuban dancer whose choreography stands well beyond traditional modes.” His piece Goodbye was named one of the best premier’s in 2016 in Dance Europe Magazine.
The all-female ensemble of dancers and percussionists directed by Susana Arenas Pedroso, Arenas Dance Company , has performed throughout the Bay Area, and is best known for their celebrated works Yo Soy Cuba (I am Cuba), Dos Aguas and A Night in Havana . Arenas Dance Company has been featured as part of numerous festivals, including Black Choregraphers Festival, CubaCaribe Festival, Salsa Rueda Festival, Yemanja Festival, Stanford Jazz Festival and San José Jazz Festival.
Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Susana Arenas Pedroso danced professionally for seventeen years in Cuba with popular, folkloric and theatrical performing groups, including Tierra Virgen, Alafia Ire, Oche Olorun, Oriki, Clave y Guaguancó, Oba Wemilere, Rumberos de Cuba, and Raíces Profundas. Since 1998, she has performed and choreographed throughout the United States, Austria, Mexico, Morrocco, Martinique, Cuba and Hong Kong with companies such as Omo Ache, Omo Oddara, Ban Rarra, Ire Ile, Alayo Dance Company, Las Que Son Son and Obini Ashe. In 1999 Ms Pedroso founded her own dance companies, Saudunga Cubana, specializing in Cuban popular dance, and Olorun, specializing in Cuban folkloric dance. In 2004 Ms Pedroso joined the two troupes into one, establishing Arenas Dance Company, an all-female ensemble that has developed an expertise in folkloric and popular Cuban rhythms and traditions.
Denmis Bain from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba was a member of Conjuncto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba. He has choreographed for such people as, Kenny Ortega, Siegfried & Roy, Emilio Estefan, Manuel Mendive, Havana Nights Dance Company and the Latin Grammys. He has performed on Don Francisco Presenta , Cosa Nostra and with groups such as Orichas, Calle 13, Los Van Van, Bamboleo, Pacho Alonso and Issac Delgado. With the Havana Nights Dance Company he toured and performed in more than 16 different countries and was a lead dancer in about 450 performances of Havana Nightclub - The Show . Bain is the owner of Cuban Rhythm and Rumba Dance Studio in Vallejo, California.
Founded in 1969 by visionaries Susan Cashion and Ramón Morones, Los Lupeños de San José is recognized as one of the earliest Mexican folk dance companies in California, 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 Cashion Cultural Legacy since 2014, Los Lupeños is re-establishing itself at the forefront of the folklórico dance genre under the artistic direction of choreographer Samuel Cortez. Originally from Celaya, Guanajuato, Méxic, Cortez has been teaching folklórico dance all over the United States for the last 17 years. Since 2015 he has led Grupo Folklórico Los Lupeños de San José, based in the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San José.
Originally from Guantanamo, Cuba Angel Yoel Mulen-Robert is a respected lead vocalist and percussionist of Afro-Cuban Yoruba, Abakua (Calabar), Rumba, Arará (Dahony), and Palo (Congo). He is also a lead vocalist for traditional dance music: Boleros, Son and Changui. Before coming to the United States in 2013, he performed and taught throughout Europe and worked with Donza Libre of Guantanamo, Cuba, Habana Sonlar Dance Company and Seven Potencias Dance Company in Havana, Cuba.
Together for almost 20 years, members of Vission Latina Quartet originate from different parts of the Americas Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Guatemala but share a common musical idea. VL Quartet performs original compositions as well as classic hits from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Strong melodies, big solos and personalized choruses are Vission Latina Quartet’s trademark sound -- Latin Big Band in a quartet formation.
Carole Zertuche is Artistic Director of Theatre Flamenco, one of the oldest dance companies in California founded in 1966 and the first American dance company to stage full productions of Spanish dance in the U.S. Born in Torreon, Mexico, Zertuche has collaborated with international and local artists in productions paying homage to traditional styles of flamenco since assuming the artistic directorship of the company in 2008. She has toured Mexico, USA, South America, Canada, and the Middle East, dancing with various flamenco companies, and performed in New York’s Joyce Theater and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts. She has collaborated on projects with flamenco dancers Andres Marin, Carmen Ledesma, Pastora Galvan, Adela Campallo, Alfonso Losa, Jesus Carmona, Nino de los Reyes among others. In 2017, she made her San Francisco Opera debut as choreographer for La Traviata .