Posts filed under ‘Cuban’
Celebrate Latino Culture As It Comes Alive in All of Its Wonderful Diversity In a Unique Spectacle of Music and Dance: Ballet Hispanico Comes to Boston: March 9th – 11th, Friday – Sunday (Times vary)
Watch Ballet Hispanico in action!
NYC’s Ballet Hispanico was the
creation of award-winning dance artist/arts administrator Tina Ramirez who started the troupe in hopes of strengthening the position held by the Latino culture within the dance world. Since 1970 the company has continued to produce a steady stream of performances which effectively showcase various forms of Latin dance and its accompanying music. In 2009, Eduardo Vilaro, an awarding-winning dance artist in his own right, became the ballet’s new artistic director after dancing with them, himself, for ten years. Hoping to build upon Ramirez’s already successful legacy he aims to widen the variety of Hispanic cultures represented in their performance repertoire as well as bringing more of a contemporary flavor to the over-all choreography. The Boston performance is part of the popular Celebrity Series and will include two local premiers.
Asuka – Choreographed by Vilaro, himself, this piece is a tribute to the life and legacy of the great Celia Cruz, dubbed the “Queen of Salsa” by her Cuban contemporaries. In fact, the Grammy award-winning singing star became such an icon in America that the Smithsonian has dedicated a section of one of its web sites to her. Vilaro fondly remembers her for the important role she played in the lives of countless Cuban ex-pats, such as his parents, who looked to her music for some sense of cultural identity as they established their new lives as Hispanic-Americans. The piece at hand, with its biographical story-line, is danced entirely to Cruz‘s music, which often displays stylistic influences derived from African, American pop, and jazz genres. The choreography showcases the earlier styles of salsa dance to which Vilaro has added his contemporary touches.
Mad’moiselle (Boston premier) – This work is the creation of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa who is actually of Dutch, Belgian, and Columbian heritage. It was originally created at the request of Vilaro for his Chicago-based dance company, “Luna Negra Dance”. Obviously a success, we see it here on the program once again. The theme of the work centers around the faulty over-all image of Latino women and, to a lessor extant, men which has become widely embraced by non-Hispanic society. Lopez-Ochoa attempts to re-frame this stereotype in the minds of the audience.
Espirito Vivo (Boston premier) – Not by any means new to the Boston dance scene, choreographer Ronald K. Brown returns with more of his trademark West African diasporic influenced music and choreography. In this work he explores the effects of both the West-African and Latino diaspora upon the performing arts cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America. The audience is taken on a journey through the grieving process via a skillful combination of narration, native dance forms and costuming, and the music of popular Afro-Peruvian singer Susana Baca. In keeping with his colleague Lopez-Ochoa’s aspirations, Browne too has identified a societal myth he’d like to see dispelled. In this case it is the notion among the Latino community at large that, outside cultural influences from Europe are to be considered more acceptable than those coming from poorer regions of the world such as Africa and the Caribbean.
Ballet Hispanico prides itself in the recognition of the value of Hispanic performing arts as they relate to the dance world. To attend their performances is not only a guarantee that you will experience top-notch Latino cultural entertainment but also an exciting adventure in the exploration of countless diverse forms of Hispanic culture as they manifests themselves into various intriguing dance forms and music genres.
When: March 9th, Friday @ 7:30 p.m. / March 10th, Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. / March 11th, Sunday @ 3:00 p.m.
Where: Cutler Majestic Theatre (Downtown Boston)
Tickets: $43.00, $53.00, and $68.00
More Info: 617-824-8000 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel the Heat with Latin Music and Dance Stars Kings of Salsa & Cuba Ashire: Oct. 13th – 15th, Thursday thru Saturday (7:30 or 8:00 p.m.)
Kings of Salsa: Watch/Listen
Hot, hot, and hotter would definitely be a fitting motto for the Kings of Salsa. Known for their sensual and evocative choreography this dance company will surely captivate you with their one-of-a-kind mesmerizing dance movements. And better yet, they have the music to back them up, thanks to the efforts of Cuba Ashire. Under the skillful directorship of Rodan Gonzallez Chavez, one of Cuba’s premier choreographers, this young troupe of nine of the country’s best dancers has quickly become all the rage in their homeland. Presenting their very own specially modernized action-packed versions of traditional tried and true Cuban dance forms including salsa, rhumba, cha cha, mambo, and various Afro Caribbean genres, they will introduce you to current urban youth dance culture such as it is today. Traditional Latin dance garb is at times replaced with common everyday street threads such as jean shorts and pants along with sandals for the feet. In addition to the standard choreography one would normally expect to see in a showcase of classic Latin dance genres such as these, the Kings of Salsa have brought their own set of special highly urbanized dance moves to the mix originating from hip hop and what is known as “street salsa” styles. The show was choreographed with a dual purpose in mind, both to honor the well-known, timeless Latin dance standards we all know and love while at the same time bridging the cultural generation gap through hip, now versions of these classics that are highly characteristic of the current Cuban dance scene experienced by today’s Latino youth. This same theme carries through to the music as well. The talented band members of Cuba Ashire, which features a big brassy sound backed up by highly intense rhythms, will bring you the very best renditions of familiar Latin standards, further embellished with a strikingly contemporary modern flair.
The show has received rave reviews that give testimony to its lively and compelling intensity from beginning to end. The audience is ” virtually transported” to the warm sunny Caribbean where they are welcomed by enthusiastic dancers skillfully displaying their exceptional talents via highly sensual, energetic, and complex choreography matched precisely to the music, note-for-note and highlighted with music and dance solos of exceptional quality. Cuba Ahire’s wildly infectious Latin rhythms have one and all moving in their seats with unbridled enthusiasm. The Kings of Salsa music and dance extravaganza is a showstopper to be sure!
When: October 13th – 15th, Thursday – Saturday @ 7:30 OR 8:00 p.m. (2 hour show)
Where: Cutler Majestic Theatre (Emerson College)
Tickets: $65.00, $50.00, & $40.00 (Plus $1.50 restoration fee) (Purchase info)
More Info: Contact
Come Take a Musically Unique and Highly Impassioned Tour of Haitian-Cuban Life, Such as It Was, before the Great Revoution of ’59 with the Creole Choir of Cuba: October 1st, Saturday @ 8:00 p.m.
Ever wonder just how difficult life could get for an impoverished immigrant in a foreign land? Well, get set to hold on to your hat because the Creole Choir of Cuba has come to really tell it like it was with an impassioned and gripping performance that will surly stir your emotions and inspire your senses. This enthusiastic ensemble of 10 vocalists tell their musical tales of hardship and endurance through a series of generally high-spirited inspirational songs and dances originating from Cuba, Haiti, and Dominica. Although there is some use of percussion instruments throughout their performance, the main focus is clearly upon a purely a capella somewhat gospel-like vocal style, that features an ever-present resounding bass-line which serves as a strong musical foundation. This group is known for their effective use of intriguing multi-layered harmonies set to Caribbean style rhythms, further embellished with contemporary Haitian musical touches for added audience appeal. The vast majority of the choir’s repertoire is sung in Creole. Widely spoken in Cuba, the language originated with the African slaves who were brought to the area and developed it through the practice of combining French, English, and Spanish words with those of their own native languages.
Each individual song in the choir’s repertoire is centered on an all important storyline, a little vignette as it were, of some aspect of everyday life in the existence of Haitian-Cuban sugar plantation workers during the late 18th, entire 19th, and mid-Twentieth centuries. Already brought to Haiti as enslaved Africans, they ultimately fled to Cuba, as a result of intolerable violence due to a Haitian slave revolt, either to continue on as slaves or as immigrants forced to live in little better than slave-like conditions until the Cuban revolution of 1959 freed them from a life wrought with the ill-effects of harsh discrimination. Each and every choir member is a direct descendant of these people, singing the very songs that were sung by their ancestors and directly handed down through generations. Needless to say, this speaks to the authenticity of each and every performance as well as it emotional purity. The group remains steadfast in their mission to effectively communicate the true-to-life stories of their ancestors to the rest of the world through their most passionate music, an endeavor that in recent years has become infinitely more relevant on a personal level as a down swing in the Cuban economy has left much of the present day Haitian-Cuban community, once again sadly, in somewhat of an impoverished state. But the Creole Choir of Cuba stands firm in their faith in the power of music to forever uplift even the most disheartened of spirits, just as it did for their ancestors all those years ago. I, myself, believe in that power as well!
It is on the heals of an extremely well-received performance at the prestigious WOMAD world music festival in the United Kingdom this past summer, that the Creole Choir of Cuba comes to Boston as part of their first US tour. There is no other music ensemble in all of Cuba that matches their unique style. So come to their Boston performance well prepared to be highly educated, truly inspired, and most-of-all musically satisfied.
When: October 1st, Saturday @ 8:00 p.m.
Where: Somerville Theatre (Davis Square)
Tickets: $28.00 (Purchase info)
More Info: 617-876-4275 (Phone)/617-876-9178 (Fax)/
I know this is a last-minute posting, but the Jose Mateo Ballet’s Cubania! has sold out 3 nights of performances already- a very good indication that this event is a sure bet if your Thursday evening is still open. What helps to make this particular show so special is that it marks the finale of the company’s 25th anniversary season! Artistic director and choreographer Mateo, a long-time Cuban-American, has chosen to mark this momentous occasion with programs set to the music of his native homeland which portrays aspects of the Cuba’s cultural heritage, sadly still, on the whole, largely unfamiliar to Americans in general.
The show features three individual programs, including two popular numbers from a previous season and a world premier. Ayer Pasado (The Day Before Yesterday) showcases the music of one of Cuba’s foremost composers, Manuel Saumeli. His classical style is a fusion of European, African, and Latin elements. The number features rising star Madeleine Bonn in a dramatically gutsy performance as a loner in desperate search of companionship, ultimately standing as a symbol of isolation from a broader political perspective. Escape, based also on a politically charged theme, depicts the individual’s struggle against authoritarian forces. Set to the music of Leo Brouwer, it stars Angie DeWolf and Mark Kehlet Schou, showcasing intriguing dance lifts and carries. The world premier, Pagano y No (Pagan or Not), is choreographed to the music of Aruan Ortiz, which is a compelling combination of the modernistic classical and Afro-Cuban jazz genres. The piece contains ample moments of high drama as well as comedy, however, it does not carry a distinct story-line nor does it send a politically oriented message to the audience as do its counterparts. Aside from an opening solo danced by August Lincoln Pogzay, this is a powerful ensemble number displaying intense choreography designed to match the character of the music perfectly.
Under the direction of its founder and renowned choreographer, the Jose Mateo Ballet company has earned a reputation for delivering highly innovative modernized performances of both original and pre-existing works which represent a variety of cultures and are of universal appeal to their audiences. Mateo‘s works have made the list of the Boston Globe’s annual “10 Best Dance Events” no less than 7 times! Now’s your chance to see why, Thursday night at the company’s exciting performance of Cubania!
When: May 19th, Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.
Where: Sanctuary Theatre (Cambridge)
Tickets are extremely limited! Call the number below and ask for Lori Manzelli
More Info: 617-354-7467
Relish the Richness of a Tride and True Marriage of Latin Music and Its Related Dance Genres with Ritmo Masacote: April 30th, Saturday @ 8:30 p.m.
Ritmo Masacote is a 12 piece Latin ensemble utterly devoted to producing Latin music that closely characterizes the dance genres it represents. “Creating the bridge between music and dance” is forever the band’s creed, as they bring their version of Cuban-based Timba, Salsa, and Latin Jazz to listeners in the Boston area and beyond. The ensemble was founded in 2006 by lead bandsman Joel Massicot, also a professional salsa dancer and instructor, who has earned the nickname “Masacote” after a Cuban style of salsa or mambo with which he is closely associated. The genre is centered around the fusion of various rhythmic motifs as played on congas, guro, timbales, clave and bongos. Ritmo Masacote remains steadfast in their mission to create a lasting impact upon the modern development of Latin music while moving it in the direction of becoming highly dance-oriented with an inherent ability to instill a real sense of cultural awareness within its various listeners world-wide. Such awareness, they believe is key to the ultimate achievement of global peace and understanding for all. Whatever their exact musical formula is, it has developed quite a reputation for its unique character and appears to be working quite well as Ritmo Masacote have developed a huge following.
This dance orchestra is known for their highly energetic stage presence which is often enhanced through collaborative performances with the Masacote Dance Company, also with a reputation for lighting up the stage. The membership of the band is made-up partially of Berklees best attendees, past and present, among them also a Grammy award recipient as well as an additional nominee. They have embraced audiences in Australia, North America, Europe, Asia, the Middles East, as well as South America and, in addition, have been heard world-wide over the radio. Aside from their appearances in motion pictures and on DVD, they have also recorded 2 well-received cds and plan to release yet a third. Even though this particular appearance of Ritmo Masacote is to be held in the Ryles Jazz Club’s mainstage area, which is not set up for dancing per say, it’s inevitable that the audience, nonetheless, will not be able to sit still in their seats as they bec0me entranced with the infectious Latin dance rhythms of this ensemble’s most exciting and energetic music.
When: April 30th, Saturday @ 8:30 p.m.
Where: Ryles Jazz Club (Inman Square)
Admission: $12.00 (Purchase Online)
More Info: 617-876-9330
Enjoy Weekly Salsa Dance Parties Two Nights in a Row @ the Havana Club!!!: Every Friday and Saturday Night
Whenever you’re in the mood for some Salsa dancing fun to go along with your Latin music entertainment, just head on over to Havana Club in Cambridge’s Central Square where you can enjoy not one but two nights of dj hosted dance party action, well into the wee hours of the morning!!! Start your fun-filled evening off with a beginning or intermediate level dance lesson compliments of Salsa Y Control, who will also be presenting professional dance exhibitions throughout the night. They’ll surely show you just how far your dancing can go, with a little bit of practice of course! Then try out your hot new moves on the dance floor for the rest of the evening.
Havana Club features a state-of-the-art nightclub atmosphere complete with festive lighting, a high-tech sound system, and heightened stage to accommodate special performances. Refreshments are served at the full cash bar. And for your added convenience, the facilities are located near-by to ample parking and public transportation. They’ll even reserve tables for parties of 8 or more, so why not bring along the whole gang! Visit the web site and sign up for their online newsletter so that you can stay informed, then … join 300 or more enthusiastic salsa fans at Havana Club for an evening of premier dance party entertainment. Remember, no partner necessary and beginners are always welcome!
When: Friday & Saturday evenings (9:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.)
Lessons: 9:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Where: 288 Green Street (Central Square – Scroll down page for directions)
More Info: 617-312-5550 / Jeff@HavanaClubSalsa.com
Take In an Evening of Premier Latin Jazz with Cuban Star Chucho Valdes and His Afro-Cuban Jazz Messengers: October 28th, Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.
Chucho Valdes comes to the Berklee Performance Center as part of the famed Boston Celebrity Series. He is regarded as one of Cuba’s top musicians amongst those jazz artists who continue to maintain their residency there. Not only is he an international star with respect to his piano virtuosity, but has also produced a successful career as a composer, arranger and bandleader. All About Jazz magazine views his artistry as a delightful combination of Cecil Taylor’s improvisational technique, Keith Jarrett’s melodic compositional style, Frederic Chopin’s steady rhythmic structuring, Ray Charles’ gospel oriented tunefullness, and many other notable attributes of the world’s most legendary artists. For this special performance, Valdes brings with him an all-star six piece jazz ensemble from Cuba which includes vocals. As a highly talented bandleader he has managed to highlight each performance of the group with his magnificent piano artistry while still allowing the other band members to adequately display their own virtuosity as well.
Valdes began on the piano at age three and was already leading a band by the tender age of sixteen. As the son of Cuban star Bebo Valdes, he continued to successfully develop his own music career which eventually led to the formation in 1973 of what was to become the number one band in all of Cuba, Irakere. Even though he has since further developed his performance career as a soloist and member of numerous additional ensembles, he still continues to direct this much beloved jazz orchestra. They are recognized as a leader in rhythmic innovation. As both a composer and performer Valdes has been awarded a Grammy no less than three times. (1978, 1998, and 2003) He has recorded over 80 cds and performed alongside such jazz greats as Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, and Chic Corea. Why not join some of Cuba’s best jazz artists for an evening of what promises to be some great music indeed!
When: October 28th, Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.
Where: Berklee Performance Center (Back Bay)
Tickets: $34.00 – $46.00
Purchase tickets online here
More Info: 617-482-6661