Friday, May 15, 2009

Xiomara Rodriguez

(Xiomara and Roman, Credit: Heddy Honigmann)

"Xiomara Rodriguez has been a teacher here since she arrived from Cuba in 1980. She has performed with Folklorico Nacional in Cuba, studying and traveled extensively with them. She has performed with every major folklore group in NY including Los Afortunados, Louie Bauzo's Patakin, Puntilla's Nueva Generacion and now her son, Mikel Sotolongo's group Iba." -- Felix Sanabria

One cannot discuss the rich history of the NY Afro Cuban dance scene without first mentioning the ubiquitous Xiomara Rodriguez. Xiomara has been teaching Orisha dance classes at the Harbor school for the Arts located at 104th Street and 5th Ave (Museo Del Barrio) for over fifteen years. The dancers are few which haven't learned indirectly, much less directly from her. Willie tells me that at one point, when a Cuban folkloric group would visit NY, Xiomara's home was a rest stop. As quoted above Xiomara has danced with most every group in NYC, and we have previously posted some clips of her dancing with Los Afortunados in upstate NY.

Here she is dancing in an old clip posted by Barry on you tube:

She is apparently now part of the Piel Canela Dance troupe, and this is what they had to write about her.

An Afro-Cuban dancer who has been teaching for over 30 years has dedicated her life to keeping Cuba folkloric traditions alive in the United States.

Xiomara is a renowned performer of the sacred dances of the Orishas, the African deities that represent the divine forces of nature associated with the Santeria religion. Xiomara Rodriguez is equally skilled in the secular dances that developed later in Cuba with a greater Spanish influence. These include, but are not limited to, rumba: yambu, guaguanco and columbia. With a degree in dance from the National School of the Arts in Havana, Cuba, we are proud to add Ms. Rodriguez to our staff at Piel Canela Dance & Music School.

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