04/18/12 - San Francisco Chronicle - S.F. dancer's Cuban father gets to see
Father's chance to see son dance in America
Ramón Ramos Alayo began his dance career at age 11 when scouts from the
Cuban government came to his Santiago de Cuba school and picked him out of
the flock. "No one in my family was an artist, so it was an incredible
honor," says Alayo, who went on to get one of the best dance educations in
the world at Havana's National School of Art.
He became a principal dancer with Danza del Caribe in Santiago and Narciso
Medina Contemporary Dance Company in Havana, and in 1997 moved to
California, performing with some of the area's most respected
choreographers and eventually becoming his own choreographic and cultural
force. He is the founder of the Alayo Dance Company in San Francisco and
the CubaCaribe Festival.
But his father, Ramón Ramos Alayo Sr., witnessed none of his American
success - until now. "It has taken so long for him to get a visa. Every
day there is a line of 100 people waiting for an interview with
immigration officials, but only two get chosen," explains the younger
Last year, he finally landed an interview and his father was allowed to
visit to see the eighth annual CubaCaribe Festival, which comes to Dance
Mission Theater in San Francisco this weekend, to the Museum of African
Diaspora on April 26 and to Laney College Theater in Oakland next
"It is very emotional for me to have my father see my work after so many
years," says Alayo, who celebrates the 10th anniversary of his company
The theme for this year's festival is "Baile Tradicional y Popular" and
among the highlights of the eight performances and four master classes,
film screenings, and two lectures on pan-Caribbean movement will be
Alayo's new work exploring the destruction of the oceans, mixing modern
dance with dances for Yemaya, the Orisha or Yoruba deity of the sea. For a
full schedule and tickets: www.cubacaribe.org
Educational security blanket
"Beach Blanket Babylon" has always had a lot to crow about. The pop and
political culture spoof claims to be the longest-running musical revue in
history. It has performed before Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, been
taken to the White House for President Ronald Reagan, had an 18-month run
in Las Vegas and survived an infamous Academy Awards performance.
Now its scholarship program is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Created
in 2002 in tribute to director Steve Silver's commitment to the arts, the
program, which awards $30,000 annually to three Bay Area high school
seniors, has helped launch several careers - and paid the pricey bills of
more than two dozen college students hell-bent on pursuing their passion
for the performing arts.
"Many of our previous winners have gone on to great success, whether
performing on Broadway or in television and film," says BBB Producer Jo
Schuman Silver, Steve's widow and the chief force behind the program.
The dance winner from 2002, Tracy Shibata, was seen last month on
"American Idol" dancing with Nicki Minaj and Peter Chursin, the dance
winner in 2003, who toured for several years with "Wicked" and was
recently on Broadway in the revival of "West Side Story."
This year's entry form along with a three-minute performance in singing,
acting or dancing is due April 27. For all details:
The music of the Filipino Diaspora will be showcased Friday night at the
Paramount Theatre in Oakland - and like every good immigrant story, the
Oakland East Bay Symphony's Notes from the Philippines will explore no one
musical direction or source of inspiration.
In town from Vancouver, British Columbia, is award-winning jazz pianist,
composer and arranger Victor Noriega for the world premiere of
"Generations, Directions." The composition commissioned by the symphony's
Michael Morgan draws on "the Filipino folk songs my parents passed down to
me," Noriega says.
Original Source / Fuente Original:
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