Purdue News

November 15, 2004

BCC Cultural Arts Festival features ensembles with Afro-Latin focus

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Four performing arts groups from Purdue University's Black Cultural Center will combine song, dance, drama and creative writing during the Dec. 3 Cultural Arts Festival "Donde Esta Loiza? An Exploration of Afro-Latin Culture and the Diaspora."

Jahari Dancers
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"The festival allows performers and audience members to discover the historical and present-day social relevance of the Afro-Latin experience," said D. Nebi Hilliard, BCC assistant director. "It is our hope that participants may also experience personal transformation."

The performance will be at 7 p.m. in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse. Admission is $7 for the general public and $5 for students.

The title of this performance literally means "Where is Loiza," which is a town in Puerto Rico commonly known as the birthplace of the African-inspired bomba music/dance form, which will be performed in this festival, Hilliard said.

Much of the performance for "Donde Esta Loiza?" deals with experiences the students had during a research trip to Puerto Rico during October break, said Bill Caise, BCC artist-in-residence and festival director.

"People should come expecting to hear great music – to hear stories that aren't necessarily being told as much as they should be," Caise said. "Have some fun, laugh, be moved, it'll be all that."


Artists include:

• The Black Voices of Inspiration choral ensemble will perform African-American spirituals that are Spanish. They also will present folklore-type songs in the bomba and plena traditions, musical genres with roots in Puerto Rico. The group is made up of students and community members.

• The New Directional Players will present a one-act play called "Marlene" by Eva Lopez, a coming-of-age story about a girl growing up in Spanish Harlem. They also will present a series of choreo-poems based on the works of Pedro Pietri, Julia De Burgos and Willie Perdomo.

• The Jahari Dance Troupe will perform pieces from the bomba and plena traditions, as well as an original piece choreographed by artist-in-residence Kevin Iega Jeff. Also, student coordinator Tamara Ammon-Jones will dance a solo with an African theme.

• The Haraka Writers generated new work to represent their experiences in Puerto Rico. Among the all-original poems to be presented are Micere Oden's "Bomba Dancing Man," Shane Kling's "A Puerto Rican Cutlass" and Stephany Spaulding's "La Casa que Hermons Constudio" that examines the friendship and shared history of two girls, one black and one Puerto Rican.


In addition to the BCC performing arts ensembles, there will be a special guest performance by Puerto Rican artist Juan Cartagena and Roberto Cepeda, members of the bomba and percussion dance group Segunda Quimbamba.

Renee Thomas, director of the Black Cultural Center, said this year's festival is the culmination of a semester's focus on Afro-Latin culture. The theme corresponds with the 2005 National African Diaspora theme established by the Association for the Study of African Life and History.

The BCC sponsored the series so that students would gain greater understanding of the diversity that exists within the African diaspora.

"For more than a quarter of a century, the Black Cultural Center has been a vibrant element of university life," Thomas said. "The cultural arts festival represents the best our community can bring to the arts while bringing together people from Purdue campus and Lafayette-West Lafayette."

CONTACT: Hilliard, (765) 494-3095, dhilliard@purdue.edu; Caise, (765) 494-4630, wpcaise@purdue.edu; Thomas, (765) 494-3091, rathomas@purdue.edu

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432, maggiemorris@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


Purdue University's Black Cultural Center Jahari Dancers will be one of four ensembles performing at the Cultural Arts Festival "Donde Esta Loiza? An Exploration of Afro-Latin Culture and the Diaspora." The festival will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse. (Black Cultural Center file photo)

A publication-quality photograph is available at https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2004/bcc-jahari.jpg


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