- 5pm-6pm: Social dance workshop with Edwin Ferreras and Dakota Romero (salsa, merengue, and bachata)
- 6:05-6:10pm: Introduction - Derrick León Washington
- Panel presentations:
- César Colón-Montijo: 6:10pm-6:25pm
- Andre Veloz: 6:25pm-6:40pm
- Umi Vaughan: 6:40-6:55pm
- Paul Austerlitz: 6:55-7:10pm
- 7:10-7:20pm: Intermission
- 7:20-7:35pm: Moderated discussion with panelists
- 7:35pm-7:55pm: Discussion with audience
- 7:55-8:00pm: Closing remarks
- 8:00-9:00pm: Reception, celebration, and music provided by Digital Guaracha
Dreams and Defiance: A World Re-Imagined through Social Music and Dance, is an interactive program series and upcoming exhibition that explores the complicated links between social music and dance forms practiced in the Andalusia region of Southern Spain, Africa (Notably North, West and Central Africa) and throughout the Americas. The project emphasizes the cultural fusion of Muslim, Sephardic, Catholic, Roma and North African cultures of Andalusia, the vast multi-ethnic landscape of Africa and the Americas, and the ways temporary celebrations, in the midst of unprecedented violence, influenced, and continues to influence the social music and dance practices of creolized cultures of the Americas. The work addresses the cultural exchange as a complicated, contested, ongoing process negotiated in expressive cultural practices.
This first conference in this series explores the circular flows of music and social dance traditions in the Caribbean as a way of broadly exploring notions of nation, citizenship and belonging. Panelists will investigate New York City salsa, Dominican merengue, Dominican bachata, and Cuban rumba. While there are a plethora of social dances performed throughout the Caribbean, these social dance and music styles have found global popularity in clubs, festivals, dance classes as well as the more intimate spaces they were created. Along with the social mobility afforded to some practitioners, economic possibilities figure largely in the ways they are performed in the present.
The larger aims of this conference are three-fold. First, to recognize artistic and cultural expression as an entry point to understand the complexities of expressive culture. Second, to appreciate the lesser-known cultural fusions that are integral to these forms. Lastly, to center performance and participant observation as central to understanding the multiple meanings of social music and dance.
-The ways collective and social memory play out in the genre and in contemporary social settings
-The artistic, cultural, and social intersections of these art forms, both past and present.
-Meanings of "freedom" and its limits and possibilities
-Power and how it manifests in different ways within these traditions
Moderator: Dr. Derrick León Washington is a cultural anthropologist, curator and dancer specializing in museum curation, experiential education, and expressive arts of the Americas. He has an undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California at Los Angeles. He completed his master’s degree and doctorate in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. His fieldwork in Brazil, Cuba, Costa Rica, Spain, Mexico City, Washington D.C. and New York City has contributed to numerous exhibitions, performance workshops, and conference papers. Mr. Washington worked on the Will to Adorn project at the Smithsonian Center of Folklore and Cultural Heritage and was the executive director of El Fogon Center for the Arts in New York City. As an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of the City of New York, he conducted curatorial work on the exhibitions Activist New York and New York at its Core. He is the curator of Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York (June 15, 2017-November 26, 2017), a groundbreaking exhibition and expansive, interactive program series on salsa as an artistic social movement at the Museum of the City of New York. He’s the co-editor of the book, Rhythm & Power: Performing Salsa in Puerto Rican and Latino Communities (Centro Publications, 2017). His latest curatorial project, Dreams and Defiance: A World Re-Imagined, is a program series and upcoming exhibition that explores the complicated links between social music and dance forms practiced in the Andalusia region of Southern Spain, Africa (Notably North, West and Central Africa) and throughout the Americas. Generous support from New York University (NYU), The Center of Traditional Music and Dance, and The New York Department of Education allows this multi-sighted work to reach various communities. Mr. Washington’s recent curated and scholarly work has been reviewed positively in the New York Times, British Broadcasting Company (BBC), Huffington Post, The National Broadcasting Company (NBC), New York Post, Jezebel, El Especialito, and numerous local and national radio stations.
Umi Vaughan (Rumba)
Dr. Umi Vaughan is an artist and anthropologist who explores dance, choreographs performances, creates photography, and publishes about African Diaspora culture. He has conducted extensive anthropological research in Cuba about Afro-Cuban music and dance, and created numerous scholarly presentations, art exhibits, and cultural events in the U.S. and abroad. His research includes music/dance in Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. He holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan. His photographic work has been commissioned for the permanent collection of Alameda County and the City of Oakland. Mr. Vaughan is the author of Carlos Aldama’s Life in Batá: Cuba, Diaspora, and the Drum (Indiana University Press, 2012) and Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance: Timba Music and Black Identity in Cuba (University of Michigan Press, 2013). Mr. Vaughan is currently Associate Professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Monterey Bay. Visit UmiArt.com to learn more about his artistic and scholarly work.
Andre Veloz (Bachata)
Andre Veloz is a singer, songwriter, painter, and actress. She’s been called a daring woman that has plunged headlong into the male-dominated world of Dominican bachata. Ms. Veloz was born in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to Dominican parents. She was raised in Santiago, the capital of the Dominican heartland known as El Cibao. As a preschooler, she performed for classmates atop a table that served as her first stage. At 14, she performed regularly with Horizontes Verticales, a rock band she founded with her best friend. By the age of 17, she sang regularly at jazz festivals and world music venues throughout the Dominican Republic. Her repertoire, in short, was both local and global. As so often happens with immigrants like Ms. Veloz, she re-connected with her Dominican roots when she moved to New York City with her family in 2004. It was to this world that she gravitated to boleros and bachatas. She has invigorated the scene ever since. Her work as a bachata vocalist and band leader has been featured in the New York Daily News, El Diario, Latina, Revista: Harvard Review of Latin America, NY1 Noticias en TV, WHCR 90.3, and several other media outlets.
Paul Austerlitz (Merengue)
Panelist: Dr. Paul Austerlitz combines his background as an ethnomusicologist specializing in Caribbean music with his creative work as a jazz composer and musician (bass clarinetist and saxophonist). He is the author of two books: Merengue: Dominican Music and Dominican Identity (Temple University Press, 1997) and Jazz Consciousness: Music, Race, and Humanity (Wesleyan University Press, 2005). The latter was awarded the Merriam Award for Outstanding Book in Ethnomusicology by the Society for Ethnomusicology and an Honorable Mention for the Woody Guthrie Award by the International Society for the Study of Popular Music. As an artist, Mr. Austerlitz often collaborates with musicians in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, instigating projects that enlist multicultural music to foster social change. His CDs entitled Dr. Merengue (recorded in the Dominican Republic) and The Vodou-Jazz (recorded in Haiti) will appear in 2018. Paul Austerlitz is Professor of Music and Africana Studies at Gettysburg College.
César Colón-Montijo (salsa)
César Colón-Montijo is a journalist and doctoral candidate in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. He obtained a Master's in Anthropology and Audiovisual Communication from the University of Barcelona, Spain, in 2005. He completed his B.A. in communications at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, in 2003. Mr. Colón-Montijo is the editor of Cocinando Suave: Ensayos de Salsa en Puerto Rico (2015), a collection of scholarly, historical, and journalistic essays, poems, and photo essays about the histories of salsa in Puerto Rico. He recently published Viaje a La Casita: Notas de Plena en el Rincón Criollo (2016), an ethnographic chronicle based on his research about Puerto Rican music and culture in the South Bronx. His doctoral dissertation studies the life and music of the foundational Puerto Rican singer Ismael “Maelo” Rivera (1931-1987) through an ethnographic research conducted in Venezuela, Panamá, Puerto Rico, and New York since 2006.
Dance Instructor for the evening:
Edwin Ferreres (bachata/merengue/salsa)
Movement/Dance Instructor: Edwin M. Ferreras is a New York based, Dominican-born dancer, choreographer, and director of LFX Dancers. He has performed and taught throughout the United States, his native Dominican Republic, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, and Russia. As a musician and choreographer, Mr. Ferreras has worked with various artists including Luis Vargas, Kiko Rodriguez, Luis Miguel del Amargue, and several others. Additionally, Edwin has been featured on Telemundo’s news segment, Fiebre de la Bachata. Mr. Ferreras teaches the unique rhythms, stylizations, musicality, and the art of partner dancing. His focus on the sounds and detail of instruments helps him teach students how to listen, feel, and create, as opposed to just memorizing patterns. In 2007, while earning his bachelors of fine arts in music and dance Education in New York, Mr. Ferreras founded LFX Dancers. The group evolved from a small group of friends into one of New York City’s premier dance companies that centers the knowledge of movement and performance found throughout the Americas. As a scholar-artist, he continues to research the deep roots of Afro-Latin dances (bachata, bolero, son, salsa, and merengue) to further his growth as a movement/dance ambassador of Latin social dances.
Dance Instructor for the evening:
Dakota Romero (bachata/merengue/salsa)
Dakota Romero is a singer, dancer, and actress. Following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother, Ms. Romero studied ballet and developed an appreciation of Latin dances at a young age. In high school, she studied dance at world renowned dance studios such as The Millennium Complex, Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, and EDGE Performing Arts Center. Ms. Romero was able to book commercial work such as starring in a Cartoon Network hip-hop video cast by the producers of Sesame Street. She continued her work as a professional dancer and performer with a 14 city arena concert tour in Europe. She was re-introduced to Latin dance, specifically bachata, while meeting Edwin Ferreras at a workshop in New Mexico in 2015. The two have been dancing together ever since. As a skilled dancer and teacher, Dakota Romero seeks to educate people of all abilities with dance.
After Party Entertainment:
Digital Guaracha is an NYC based transnational DJ collective featuring Mexico's Too White to be Mexican and Selector Monobichi, Peru's Sonido Chichadelico, and Puerto Rico's DJ Shabbakano. DG cover a wide range of Latin American and Caribbean rhythms from mambo and boogaloo to tropical beat and electro-cumbia.
This event in co-sponsored by the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University, King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center and the Department of Music