latin week houston artists

POLLY FERMAN

Music director /pianist / cultural entrepreneur. A leading interpreter of the music of the Americas, Uruguayan born pianist Polly Ferman captivates audiences with outstanding performances of works by Latin American composers.  Recognized by The Japan Times as "a Musical Ambassador of the Americas," Ferman's numerous recordings constitute one of the most extensive collections of Latin American repertoire for piano. Ferman's tours as a soloist have included performances with prestigious orchestras around the world, including the San Francisco, Sacramento, Indianapolis, Tokyo, Philippines, Jarkov and Argentine National Symphonies, among others, as well as recitals stages such as New York's Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Tokyo's Takemitsu Hall, London's St. Martin in the Fields, Buenos Aires' Teatro Colón, Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts, Shanghai Oriental Art Centre and Bogota’s Teatro Mayor.  Ferman created, directs, and performs in GlamourTango, a unique all female international multimedia music and dance show, the ultimate homage to Women’s Empowerment. www.glamourtango.com. A cultural entrepreneur, Ferman is the artistic director of Pan American Musical Art Research, a 501(c) (3) organization she founded in 1984 to promote awareness of and appreciation for the cultures of Latin America. www.pamar.org.  In this capacity, Ferman conceived 3 festivals, in 2006 the Latin American Cultural Week, (LACW) an annual city-wide festival which highlights the production of dance, film, literature, music, theater, and visual and performing arts of the Americas in New York City.  www.lacw.net.  In 2012 Ferman created Celebración de la Cultura Hispana in Washington Heights and Inwood, promoting Cultural Development in Upper Manhattan, and in 2014, the First International Tango Festival in NYC, Shall We Tango NYC.  www.shallwetango.com

ALEXIS ZANETY

Contemporary choreographer and former first soloist for Cuba’s national Contemporary Dance Company. As a former first soloist for Compañía Nacional de Danza Contemporánea de Cuba from 1995 to 2002 he worked under the direction of several prominent contemporary choreographers such as Eduardo Rivero Walker in Zulkari, Narciso Medina in Metamorfosis, and Lídice Nuñez in Trastornados. He also had the chance to premiere Folía by Jan Linkens and several other leading roles in festivals around the world in places such as Holland Dance Festival, Nervi Festival in Italy, and Aida Opera at the reopening of the theater La Fenice. He has also toured extensively throughout France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Aruba and Martinique. Alexis then relocated to Mexico in 2002 after being invited by Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, Mexico to choreograph for Festival de Danza por la Vida. Once in Mexico, he was invited to perform the principal role of “Don Jose” in Carmen by choreographer Adriana Quinto in Festival Internacional Cervantino and invited to portray the leading role in Besame Mucho (2003). The latter produced by OCESA, a conglomerate of artistic productions in Latin America under the mass media company Televisa. Throughout his lengthy artistic career, Alexis’ had an ongoing interest in choreography and pedagogy. While working with Ballet Nacional de Cuba academy, he trained and mentored Taras Domitro who later received 1st place in Alicia Alonso’s International Ballet Competition and beame a principal dancer for San Francisco Ballet. Alexis merges Afro-Cuban, neoclassical, Cuban modern dance, Son Cubano, Rumba movement and classical ballet in his own technique called Dibujo Circular de Movimiento (Circular Patterns of Movement) or Técnica Zanetty (Zanetty Technique) . In 2015 he was commissioned by Compañía Nacional de Danza de Cuba to choreograph Retorno. In 2016 Centro Morelense de las Artes in Mexico also commissioned him to choreograph Sombras y Destinos en Imágenes en Desequilibrio, a multidisciplinary piece with actors, dancers, and musicians. Alexis relocated permanently to Houston, Texas in 2016. Since then he has been teaching independently in several cities in the US and has provided master classes at Cornish College of the Arts, University of Washington, University of Houston, Afro Latin Fest, and participated at the 2018 and 2019 International Association of Blacks in Dance Congress as a guest teacher. Future teaching and choreographic engagements include University of Oklahoma, Latin Week Houston, Carlos Luis Blanco Ramos (1st principal in Carlos Acosta’s Dance Company), the 2020 Afro Latin Fest, and others.

EDDY MARCANO

Undoubtedly one of the most celebrated violinists in Venezuela, and rapidly gaining recognition throughout the Americas and around the world, Eddy Marcano has been a vital source of inspiration and a commendable example for young musicians. He continually strives to unite the discipline and technicality of chamber music with Venezuelan traditional folk music. Marcano is one of the most important cultural ambassadors of the nation, formed in the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela (El Sistema). His extensive career includes teaching, performing, conducting, and arts advocacy serving as Artistic Director of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory. For UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) he has acted as musical commissioner for the creation of youth and children’s orchestras, as well as being a member of the Council of Music of Venezuela. He has been part of ensembles such as: Solo 3, Opus 4, Arcano, and Onkora. Most recently, as a member of the sextet Venezuelan Roots, he joined the group in Switzerland to record their first album. Marcano has two solo albums released under the project “Venezuela en Violin”, and recently released his third production “Tarde Tinta” (EBD Records), which received excellent reviews. Throughout his performing career, Marcano has enjoyed extraordinary success at home and around the world. In the United States, he has had the pleasure of performing in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Houston, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh, among others. The governor of Pennsylvania presented him with the award “Latin Artist of Hispanic Heritage Month” in 2009. Internationally, he has brought the captivating music of Venezuela to China, Germany, Canada, Colombia, Spain, England, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Switzerland. He is currently dedicated to carrying sounds from Venezuela and Latin America around the world.

bielitski prada

Venezuelan culinary artist, Bielitski has been curious about what was being cooked at home. A graduate from the Spanish Gastronomy Institute she now Space City with the passion, dedication and creativity of her culinary vision. In 2013 she was chosen to cook at the Houstonian Hotel Club and Spa, along with other Chefs such as Rafael Galindo, Domenic Laurenzo and Chirstine Rodriguez, recognized for their haute cuisine; where she received recognition at Job de Ser Organization 48th anniversary, as well as Production Chef for Chef Achilles Chávez in his reality show on FoxTele Colombia. She has been participating for five years making recipes for UNIVISION’s First Edition broadcasted throughout the state of Texas. In 2014 during Lent, Bielitski traveled around different cities with what was called the “Tour de La Paella”, event organized by Fiesta Supermarkets. A visionary artist, she pioneered the creation of “Camerino al Artista Houston” (The Artist Dressing Room), working side by side with many producers in the country to delight artists backstage during shows with special dishes. Artists include Francisco Céspedes, Luis Enrique, Pimpinela, Gran combo de Puerto Rico, Amanda Miguel, Oscar d 'Leon, Guaco, Chino y Nacho, George Harry, Pollo Brito, Desorden Publico, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Glen Garrido, Huascar Barrada, Lila Morillo, Avellanet Chucho, Jorge Luis Chacin, Luis Alonso Hernandez, Marco Antonio Muñiz among others. Through good taste, good seasoning and luxurious presentation, Bielitski Prada manages a fusion of styles and flavors, from Mediterranean, Spanish, South American and international food catering parties and celebrations with a high professionalism. Activities and awards include working with International Goya Chef Fernando; chef for the Lamborghini festival at VIP Million Air Houston Hobby; VIP chef of the Lamborghini festival for the Houston MRS race track In 2018; recognition from El Venezolano Newspaper (EV News) as woman Entrepreneur; chef for Ferrari MRS Houston VIP; participation in Galveston Brewmaster craft beer festival’s VIP area with her exquisite Paella. Bielitski was the given the opportunity to be the Chef for Nacho´s Texas tour. She participated on the first ‘George á la Carte’ program, created by Venezuelan comedian George Harry. Recently participated in the ‘Zest in the West’ event competing with different chefs and city restaurants such as: Latin Bites, Fogo de Chao, Churrasco, Peli Peli, Fadi’s, among others, in which she was awarded the First runner up award in the culinary competition. Currently, Chef Prada is committed to sharing her passion for cooking, writes every night in what promises to be new book. In this adventure, she has gradually taken passion for culinary arts to other countries, crossing borders and happily knowing that there is a ‘pot and a place’ waiting for her anywhere in the world, while meeting great colleagues and wonderful people, grateful with this great gift of giving and receiving!

PAUL BOYD

Director of Piano Studies at College of the Mainland in the Houston area, Paul leads the Foundation for Modern Music (FMM) as Artistic and Executive Director. An avid supporter of new music, he has to date premiered over 45 works by Ofer Ben-Amots, Mark Buller, Mohammed Fairouz, Arthur Gottschalk, John Kiefer, Walter Steffens, Christopher Theofanidis, Mary Carol Warwick, and others – in addition to his own compositions. Besides FMM concerts, he is featured regularly in chamber orchestra performance with the Greenbriar Consortium (Houston Symphony’s chamber players) and has been broadcast on stations KUHA/KUHF (PBS), KPFT (Pacifica), and KTMD (Telemundo). Piano studies were with Anne Dean Turk, Carol Houston, Ruth Tomfohrde, and Abbey Simon; composition with David Ashley White.  In high demand as a masterclass and workshop clinician, Dr. Boyd joins the piano faculty of the American Festival for the Arts Conservatory for the seventh year next summer. Performance highlights include a sold-out January 2018 performance of Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children, the gallery installation of his work Water Sketches written for an exhibit of Mona Marshall’s art in San Antonio, and the upcoming Washington, D.C. premiere in August of Warwick’s song cycle The Gathering at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. In a review of a Fairouz concerto premiere and FMM concert, critic Joel Luks of Culture Map claimed: “Boyd's muscly reading punished whomever or whatever stood in his way… The Foundation for Modern Music's event was an involved intervention on the city's classical music scene.” Paul was named a Cultural Ambassador by the City of Houston in August 2013 and received a mayoral proclamation in March 2015.

jose 'layo' puentes

Born in Los Teques, Venezuela, José Layo Puentes is an accomplished musician in a wide array of musical styles. These include Classical, Big Band, Folk, Jazz, Latin and Italian Popular Music. His intimate knowledge of instruments includes the Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass and Cuatro (Venezuelan Folk instrument). His orchestral experience includes, the Symphony orchestras of: “Sinfónica Venezuela”, “Filarmónica de Caracas” and the “Simón Bolivar Orchestra”(El Sistema). With the “Simón Bolivar Orchestra”, he participated in the recording of five CDs with the label “Dorian”, and toured in Holland, England, Paris, Spain and Japan.

Layo came to the United States on scholarship from Carnegie Mellon University in 2001 to continue his studies of acoustic bass. Anthony Bianco was his professor during his two years of study within the “Performance Residence Program”. In 2004, he won another scholarship for his studies of Artist Diploma in the Duquesne University, concentrating in Jazz with the professor Jeff Mangone. He has performed in the Pittsburgh area with the Orchestras of Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University, as well as the symphonies of Altoona PA, Washington PA, Butler PA, and Ohio Valley. His ability in the electric and acoustic bass has allowed him to work with various ensembles of different styles, in Pittsburgh Layo joined the tango group “AquiTango”, Chilean-Blue Grass fusion music with Emily Pinkerton, Venezuelan Folk music with Eddy Marcano, African-Jazz fusion with Lorens Chuno, and big band Jazz with “The Jazz Conspiracy”. 

alison greene

Alison has been featured as a soloist or principal artist with many Houston performing arts organizations. She is known for taking on new and non-standard repertoire and arrangements and embraces multi-disciplinary projects and music by living composers.
Over the past few years she has presented multiple world premiere song cycles by Houston’s Joe LoCascio as part of the Houston Community College Chamber Music Series. She was also a featured vocal soloist onstage at Miller Outdoor Theatre as part of
“Music That Should Be Danced,” presented by the Foundation for Modern Music. In 2016, Alison sang the role of Dorothy Parker in the world premiere of Night at the Algonquin by Omari Tau with Lone Star Lyric. In 2015, Alison was a member of the eight-voice ensemble in the world premiere of O Columbia with Houston Grand Opera. She also performs a wide range of song, cabaret and chamber music with local ensembles. Regional opera credits in Texas include Norina in Don Pasquale with Opera in the Heights, Dew Fairy in Amarillo Opera’s production of Hansel and Gretel and Sister Genevieve in Puccini’s Suor Angelica with the St. Cecilia Chamber Opera Series. Some of her other favorite roles performed include Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, Rose Maybud in Ruddygore, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Olympia in the Tales of Hoffman, and Musetta in La Boheme. Alison resides in Houston, Texas, with husband Keir Murray, daughter Miranda and son Duncan.

 

REINALDO COSTA

Reinaldo is a graduate of the Alejo Carpentier School of Dance, where dance was an integral part of his academic formation. Following elementary ballet, he continued studies at the Escuela de Espectáculos Musicales for three years where he focused on dance technique and performing. That period was the path that led to being admitted to Cuba's Tropicana 'little school', an intensive immersion to the company's style and performing vocabulary. Upon graduating from this program, he was admitted in 2011 to the professional company, fulfilling a life-long dream of performing on one of the world's most popular stages and with some of Cuba's most prominent artists. This success led to his relocating to Mexico with the 'Cubáname Company' in the role of soloist with tours throughout the country from Mexico City to Guadalajara to Jalisco to Puerto Vallarta, and others. Today he resides in Houston, where he has quickly become a sought-after dancer, choreographer, and teacher.

WINDSYNC

WindSync is a wind quintet featuring young soloists from across North America. The group eliminates the "fourth wall" between musicians and audience by performing from memory, creating an intimate connection. In 2018, they were named finalists in the prestigious M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, and are recent winners of the Concert Artists Guild and Fischoff national competitions. WindSync has appeared in recital at the Met Museum, the Library of Congress, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. During 2019, they were named to the touring roster of the Texas Commission on the Arts. WindSync's 2019-2020 season features performances at Ravinia, the Cliburn Sessions, and Zilkha Hall as well as residencies at the University of Texas and the Eastman School of Music. In Houston, the ensemble will present the world premiere of a new work by Erberk Eryılmaz leading to the creation of an ambisonic virtual reality performance video. WindSync's educational programming includes concerts for children in partnership with the Hobby Center's sensory friendly series and with the Rice University Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance. They have been featured in educational concerts presented by the Seattle Symphony, Midland Symphony, and Orli Shaham's "Baby Got Bach". The members of WindSync have led master classes at New World Symphony, Texas Music Festival, and Northwestern University, and has also served as ensemble-in-residence for Adelphi University, the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington (KY), and the Grand Teton Music Festival.

raul orlando edwards

Founder and Director of Latin Week Houston, Panamanian born artist -Raul Orlando Edwards - is the recipient of a Certificate of Congressional Recognition, Jefferson Award, four consecutive City of Houston Mayoral recognition, and multiple honors. An artistic career that began over 25 years ago, he continues to use the arts to positively impact communities in and out of Houston. A highly creative individual, he sought to showcase the many influences that make up Latin American and Caribbean cultures, leading to the establishment of FLAMART (Featuring Latin American Music and Art) in 2006, with a focus on cultural diversity and education through artistic programs. In 2008 the Foundation for Modern Music (FMM) invited him to join the organization as Artistic Director. In his first two years at FMM, he led the organization from local to internationally recognized, growing attendance from a few hundred to over 8,000. A collaboration between Strictly Street Salsa, FLAMART, and FMM launched Salsa y Salud (the country’s first and biggest salsa/health initiative, 2011), Navidad Latina (Museum of Fine Arts, 2011), the Afro-Latin Fest (2014), and others. His work has been featured in over 20 local and regional newspaper articles and over 35 appearances on TV and radio. He was a contributor in the research article SALSA: SAving Lives Staying Active to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Eating with the Texas Obesity Research Center (University of Houston), Department of Health Disparities Research (M.D. Anderson Cancer Center) and Strictly Street Salsa (2011). Civic and artistic engagements include: City of Houston, VH-1's movie The Way She Moves, Houston Grand Opera, Consulates of Panama, Mexico, Israel, Egypt and Italy, Houston Ballet, Society for the Performing Arts (SPA), Latin American Cultural Week (NY), Miller Outdoor Theatre, Rothko Chapel, Rice University, Sam Houston State University, Texas A&M University, San Francisco Rueda Festival, and others. In 2018 Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Studies extended him an invitation to create an outreach program designed to promote tolerance, where he serves as Executive Director for Arts of Tolerance. He is currently engaged in building national collaborations while expanding existing programs that continue to improve communities in the Greater Houston Area and beyond.

BADEN GOYO

Pianist, composer and arranger graduated from Lino Gallardo Music School and specialized in Jazz and Popular music with the Master Gerry Weil. He was the principal pianist of the Simon Bolívar Big Band Jazz, (one of the most prominent jazz Project in Venezuela in last decade) performing in several festivals and prestigious stages both nationally and internationally such as: Jazz al Parque (Colombia), Dizzy’s Club Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York) and New England Conservatory (Boston). After putting together his own Jazz Trio, Baden performed in several national festivals and theaters as a band leader: Noches de Guataca, Festival de Jazz de Paraguaná, Festival de jazz de Barquisimeto, etc. By 2014 he was considered one of the most important pianists of his home country, which allowed him to play and collaborate with most of the relevant Venezuelan artists: Pablo Gil, Rafael “el pollo” Brito, Aquiles Baez, Eddy Marcano, C4 Trio, Kiara, Mirna Rios, Primate, etc. His successful career both as a pianist and composer in Venezuela is reflected within the important Book of Banesco entitled "A New Musical Country" which includes him as one of the youngest and most promising figures in Venezuelan Jazz, dedicating an entire section to his career. Furthermore, his work as composer and arranger has been acclaimed both in the Venezuelan audiences and internationally as well, reaching the peak recently in 2017 when he was awarded with 2 Latin Grammy (Best Album of the Year & Best Album of Salsa) and 1 Grammy (Best Latin Tropical Album) through his collaboration (as composer) with Ruben Blades, who wrote lyrics for one his compositions (¿Adónde?) and include it in his latest album entitled “Salsa Big Band"

solero flamenco

Solero Flamenco, Houston’s premier flamenco performance company, has brought flamenco to Houston audiences since 2009 in performances gleaming with artistic integrity and trademark passion. Soulful song, enchanting guitar and exhilarating dance converge in this highly improvised art form to present traditional, contemporary and original works. Under the artistic direction of founders Irma La Paloma (cante) an Jeremías García (guitarra), Solero Flamenco maintains an active performance and production calendar, often sharing the
stage with local and international artists. The original cast comprised of singer Irma La Paloma, guitarist Jeremías García, dancers Solangel Lali Calix and Edith Niño, and percussionist Chris Howard are joined by dancers Ana María Barceló, Andreina Pereira Nuñez. Whether in the theater, concert hall, or other venues, audiences experience the heart, soul and skill of professional flamenco artists. Their contributions to the Houston Arts community include collaborations with the Houston Civic Arts Program, The Consulate General of Spain, the Aga Khan Foundation, the Pan American Round Table, Sister Cities of Houston, Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts, the Rice/Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, Foundation for
Modern Music and numerous others. Symphonic performances include the debut of García’s "Suite Andaluz" with the Helena Symphony Orchestra, in Montana, Allan R. Scott, Conductor and concerts with the Grace
Symphony Orchestra and Brazosport Symphony, Dr. John Ricarte, Conductor. In 2011, Solero Flamenco founded the Houston Spanish and Flamenco Festival, a nonprofit collaboration with San Jacinto College and the Consulate General of Spain in Houston. Central to the festival is the mission “to facilitate understanding and provide access to Spanish and Flamenco arts through educational opportunities, cultural exchange and vibrant performances.” The festival has garnered accolades from Mayor Annise Parker, Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Texas State Senate and House of Representatives and has been awarded funding from Texas Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts during six consecutive years. In 2018, Solero Flamenco was awarded a 5 year contract by the City of Houston and the Houston Airports System’s Harmony in the Air, an innovative program which provides live
performances at Houston airports. The program has been featured in articles in the New York Times, Arts and Culture Texas, the Houston Chronicle. Enjoy Solero Flamenco on Friday’s at Andalucía Tapas Restaurant & Bar located in Downtown Houston where the group performs since 2009. Solero Flamenco receives excellent
reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor and other travel guides and is recommended by 365 Things to do in Houston.
Many locals and visitors to the Bayou City make a Solero Flamenco live performance a must! Visit Solero Flamenco’s Performance Calendar: soleroflamenco.com. “We love this art and heritage and give our heart and soul in each performance. We want our audiences to enjoy flamenco in the tradition of live SONG, GUITAR and DANCE through the unique expression and skill of Solero Flamenco artists.” "Amamos este arte y herencia. Entregamos alma, vida y corazón en nuestras presentaciones. Deseamos que nuestro público disfrute del arte flamenco en la tradición del CANTE, la GUITARRA y el BAILE a través de la singular expresión y talento de los artistas de Solero Flamenco.” Flamenco has transgressed time and frontiers. The folklore of the Andalusian gypsies is a living art of global appeal. In November, 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized flamenco as a World Heritage Treasure and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

jorge orta 'crocro' - tumbaka

Crocro and his Tumbaká is a multicultural group founded by Jorge 'CroCro' Orta in 2010, releasing its first salsa CD in 2014. Crocro and his Tumbaká formed with the ambition to do something different in the city of Houston in the genre of Salsa to interpret different tropical themes in the style of the 70s, 80s and 90s, with original themes and of recognized groups and singers of that time. However, in his first single Tumbaká he interprets themes with Latin-jazz echoes, percussion downloads, robe, son, guarachas and opera in Salsa, which has resulted in a wealth of musical sounds and colors. Thanks to the experience and long musical trajectory of its founder and director, the internationally renowned percussionist Jorge 'CroCro' Orta, whose musical career includes among other eight years as percussionist of the renowned "Grupo Niche" of Colombia where he acquired a vast knowledge of how Lead a high caliber band. The idea of ​​Tumbaká is born later when CroCro sed relocates in Houston at the end of 2007, and hence the name of its first production ‘Capitan D 'mi Barco'. CroCro's inclination has always been to interpret music and salsa with percussion downloads but also guaracha, son and charanga to please the public of different nationalities which led him to define Tumbaká as a band of Salsa and tropical music.  The name Tumbaká comes from the African word ‘tomb’, which in some islands of the Antilles was synonymous with percussion to the degree that it later derived to name typical instruments such as the conga, the tumbadora and traditional rhythms like the French tomb of Haiti. Although Tumbaká is a relatively new group, its members are instrumentalists of various nationalities with vast experience in different styles and know well the very intricate musical paths of Salsa and tropical music.  Tumbaká is made up of its Founder and Conguero / Director Jorge 'CroCro' Orta (Venezuela), the bongosero Orlando Andrade (Colombia), in the timbal Rhumer Mora (Venezuela) the keyboardist Rafael Miliano (Dominican Republic), the pianist Luigi Lazareno (Mexico ), on bass Anthony McKenny (American), trombone players Yankar González (Cuba), Bryan Logan (USA), and Juan Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico), vocalists Kevin Castillo (Puerto Rico), Julio Rodríguez (Cuba) and Valeria Denis (Uruguay). They are all musicians who have been part of recognized bands from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and New York.

strictly street salsa

The first salsa studio in Houston is the recipient of a Certificate of Congressional Recognition, a Jefferson Award, two City of Houston Proclamations and over 25 newspaper articles, over 30 television and radio appearances, over 50 community projects, several thousand students, are among the many accomplishments linked to Strictly Street Salsa. That passionate dream of sharing the Latin American culture that started with 5 students in a small dance studio back in 1998 has grown beyond expectations while still remaining committed to the theme that motivated us: bringing audiences a taste of an authentic Latin American dance experience or as it’s called in Latin circles, "sabor" (soul). Though all these great achievements have become part of our identity, we are conscious that they could have not happened without the support received from the community for over 20 years. Strictly Street Salsa has you have provided us throughout the years, for which we are sincerely grateful and look forward to continuing making our city a better place to live.

mauricio oliveros

Colombian violinist Mauricio Oliveros, is an active recitalist, chamber musician an educator. He is currently the Associate Concertmaster of the Symphony of Southeast Texas and is on the Adjunct Faculty at Houston Baptist University, The Kinkaid School, and Tallowood Academy of Fine Arts.  He performs regularly throughout the American Continent, and has also appeared as soloist with the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the University of Houston Concerto Orchestra, the Magnolia Chamber Orchestra, and in Colombia with the Valle Symphony and the Ensamble Filarmonico Bacata.  He has attended important music festivals, including the Youth Orchestra of the Americas (YOA), the Texas Music Festival, and the Mimir Chamber Music Festival.  He has been a member of the Valle Symphony Orchestra (Colombia), San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, Irving Symphony Orchestra, Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra, and Opera Vista.  Dr. Oliveros is a former member and mentor of the prestigious YOA Global Leaders Program and has given violin and chamber music masterclasses in USA, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, Cuba and Mexico. An avid lover of chamber music, Dr. Oliveros co-founder of the Houston-based Terra Nostra Ensemble, which performs music written by composers from Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.

mayra bullock

Mayra Bullock began her dance training in the public school system, first at Sharpstown High School, and later at Robert E. Lee High School, both under the Houston Independent School District. She continued her post-secondary dance education at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) under the direction of Myron Nadel (The Julliard School), Lisa Smith (Ballet Austin), Ingeborg Heuser (Ballet El Paso) and Andree Harper (Ballet El Paso). While studying at UTEP, Mayra served as the Artist Director of Victory Warriors Drill and Dance Academy (El Paso). Following graduation, she returned to Houston where she served as the Assistant Director of Fort Bend Academy of Arts and Dance (FBAAD) for 3 years. In 2008, she became a member of Urban Souls Dance Company (USDC) under the direction of Harrison Guy, and in 2019 became the company’s Rehearsal Director. In addition to Mr. Guy, Mayra has worked with notable choreographers such as Troy Powell, Dorrell Martin, Travis Gatling and Kenneth Epting. She has won 1st place 3 times with Dancing with the Houston Stars, and has performed both nationally and internationally throughout her dance career. Ms. Bullock holds a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from UTEP and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas.

INTEMPO DANCE

The Intempo Dance Ensemble (Intempo Dance Performing Company ) is a non-profit organization that serves as a platform for young Dancers and Artists to explore and expose their skills , as well as,  their philanthropic passions towards the Community. ID Ensemble 's overall objective is to promote, develop and expand the appreciation for the fine arts, serving to and by the Community. Ensemble is an advanced program for Students who desire to be more involved into expressing their art form , who want to have more opportunities to learn choreography, and, at the same time,  to be able to perform  throughout the year on several different venues and for philanthropic and charitable causes. Intempo Dance Ensemble recognizes dancers who show technical promise, drive to succeed, and excellent work ethic by selecting them to be part of the Company Programs. Ensemble  provides means for those Students less fortunate , whether physical or financial, to reach their dreams to dance.  The new Intempo Dance Ensemble Symphonic Ballet program - Mrs. Rocio Braggiato , Artistic Director and Mr. Eddy Marcano , Music Director - allows  young Dancers , Musicians and Singers combining  their talents in a fascinating  " Music and Dance Performance Mosaic ". 

INTUITIVE AFRICAN DANCE AND DRUM CULTURE

Intuitive has offered performances and classes in traditional West African drum and dance throughout Houston and Texas since 2007. We strive to preserve the important historical and cultural influences of this art form. West African drum and dance rhythm meanings are a vital part of our presentation, including their current cultural significance. This art form has contributed to dance and music genres worldwide and can be enjoyed by everyone.

TRAVEON DINELL ROGERS

Houston native Traveon Dinell Rogers is an aspiring anthropologist, classically trained musician, performing artist, photojournalist and budding filmmaker who draws inspiration from thought-provoking, authentic representations of culture through multimedia content. Armed with a passionate conviction that stages and screens of all size are today’s most powerful educational tools, Traveon demonstrates that scholarly endeavors can be explored beyond libraries, lecture halls, and books. His interests and artistic ventures are creative as they are intellectual, analytical, and methodical. While living in Mexico, he involved himself with Panafricanistas México, a social activist group and collective, with a desire to learn more about Mexico’s negated Afro-Mexican population and form relationships with others of the African diaspora who have made lives for themselves in the country. He was an associate producer of the short documentary “Jamaica y Tamarindo: Afro Tradition in the Heart of Mexico” which has been shown at Harvard University, the San Diego Film Festival, and the Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City.  His work Structures and Waterways, sitting at an intersection of photojournalism and the digital humanities, is a visual interplay between various mythological tropes of water and man-made structures exploring their cultural implications and historical associations through subliminal messaging. Traveon is currently collaborating with filmmakers to develop a project on Black Mexican experiences through oral histories. He soon hopes to start a non-profit to fund and support projects that will contribute to the cultural enrichment, heritage, and awareness of underrepresented communities in multimedia.

RAQUEL CEPEDA

Raquel Cepeda is a Jazz Singer and Songwriter who brings the best styles and rhythms from around the world to the refined language and aesthetics of Jazz. A highly regarded singer who has shared the stage with Jazz legends such as Ellis and Delfeayo Marsalis. A performer whose interpretative quality, approach to story telling, and multi-cultural style has the ability to reach and move the hearts and ears of the most demanding and diverse audiences. She was featured at the 1st Latin Jazz Festival of Houston in 2018, as well as the Brazilian Food and Music Festival in 2019, and has performed with the Kingwood Pops Orchestra. Raquel performs extensively in Houston where she resides, producing important concerts including her Annual “Jazz on Valentine’s” held at the Match Theater on Valentine’s Day, and is highly requested for many public and private performances. Fluent in various languages such as English, Spanish, and Portuguese, Raquel has performed abroad in Caracas, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro.

MARY FROMETA

Mary Frometa, is the founder and singer of Mary’s Band (2001-present), musical group with over 15 years’ artistic experience, who is not only the granddaughter of our remembered and famous musician “Billo Frometa”, but a recognized singer of vocal talent, charisma, passion, elegance and professionalism, who has achieved a prominent position in music and on stage in various cities in Texas, as well as other states and internationally.

Venezuelan daughter, born in Bryan, Texas and raised in Venezuela, Mary came to Houston, Texas where she initiated her professional career in the world of music in 1995. In 2000, Mary was invited by the Group “La Mafia” – repeatedly winners of the Grammy – to participate on their national tour “2000 Final tour”. From then on, she decided to form her own band – Mary’s Band – which she has led successfully, achieving great recognition and prestige in the community. According to Mary, the music world has opened up a multitude of wonderful opportunities of which she has managed to make the most. Grateful and proud, in 2001 Mary was hired by the company Anheuser-Bush, Budweiser as image/model of the beer and as the BudLight Band for four consecutive years, representing such company in the states of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. The professional, social and personal experience was extraordinary and unforgettable, contributing greatly to her advances and development in social media and on stage. Together with her BudLight team, Mary enlivened for more than 10 years the special events of the Houston Dynamos and the Houston Astros. Through local entertainment agencies, had the honor of traveling in 2003 and 2004 to Japan and Korea, delighting with her music and Latin beat the American military bases in those countries. In 2009 she recorded her first album project which she called “Legacy” (Herencia), album dedicated as a tribute to her grandfather “Billo Frometa”, in which she included tropical rhythms with which she identifies herself, such as merengue,  salsa and cumbia. Thanks to her talented and extensive experience, in 2014, Mary was honored to be special guest on two consecutive occasions, to delight the audience at concerts with the Philharmonic Latin American Orchestra of Houston, scene of high renown that placed her overhead on her artistic career. Then, in early 2015, the outstanding Venezuelan producer, singer, arranger and composer “Mauricio Silva” invited our Mary Frometa to be part of his promising musical project LEGACY OF THE SALSA WORLD (El Legado de la Salsa Mundial), where Mary, along with other renowned artists, pay deserved tribute to the great of  the salsa, including  La Rumba Continua  reminding “Celia Cruz Forever” (where Frometa participates with the musical theme: “Usted Abuso“), a homage to Jairo Varela (founder of the Group Niche), “Al Poeta de la  Salsa” dedicated to the great Ruben Blades, among others. Here I share the link “Celia Cruz Forever” https://youtu.be/TbBwmVAfu Q. In May 2017 Mary was invited for the third time to be part of the great event SERENADE TO MOTHERS, with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Houston, where she had the pleasure of sharing the stage with “Lila Morillo”, recognized artist of long trajectory in Venezuela. Throughout her career, Mary has received several awards in recognition of her dedication and artistic career, including Woman of the Year in Arts 2012, as well as numerous covers of magazines and newspapers of the city. This 2019, Mary celebrates 15 years of being the ‘Music Band of the House” in CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT. Mary’s Band is the only music band in the city of Houston, which has managed to consolidate a more than professional relationship of 15 consecutive years, enlivening the nights of all weekends of this renowned establishment, since the year 2004. Since 2001, Mary has conquered her audience in a number of events, national and international festivals, Christmas/New Year’s celebrations, private/public presentations in premises of the highest level, thus becoming meritorious of an important reputation and clientele.

courtney sherman-allen

Courtney Sherman-Allen is a native Houstonian with an passion for dance. She is trained in ballet, modern and jazz, and has been teaching dance for over 8 years. In 2016 she had the opportunity to study “Gaga” and Counter Balance technique in Italy. Courtney has performed with Lipan Urban West African Dance Company, China Cat Contemporary Dance Company and Urban Souls Dance Company. She has presented and choreographed works for Houston Community College (HCC), Sam Houston State University (SHSU), B.U. 4 Dance Studio, and American College Dance Festival (ACDF). Courtney has received several awards and recognition for her choreography. Courtney holds an Associate of Arts degree from HCC, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from SHSU. She is currently working as a freelance dance teacher, dancer and choreographer.

jaylon givan

Jaylon Givan (CEO/Founder of Givan You) is a professional dance artist, educator, and choreographer from the city of Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. Givan is an Alabama State University BFA Dance Program first class graduate, he has trained at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Kansas City Ballet, Atlanta Dance Connection, and American Dance Festival. Mr. Givan’s most recent work includes: Urban Souls Dance Company, performing lead roles; Dissonance Dance Theatre, serving as a Senior artist while creating significant roles; Montgomery Ballet, guesting roles such as Arabian in the Nutcracker; The Dance Company Experience, premiering as a founding member and soloist. Jaylon’s career convincing moment was being chosen as a freshman to represent his school and the southern region at ACDFA Nationals in Washington D.C. held at the Kennedy Center. Mr. Givan is beyond thrilled to be performing at the inaugural Latin Week of Houston in 2020.

jose alvarez castillo

Jose Alvarez Castillo, often called “too young for his experience”, is a saxophonist, flutist, arranger and educator. Native of Barquisimeto (Venezuela), was appointed as saxophone professor for the “Vicente Emilio Sojo” Conservatory, years later performed the same duty for the Simon Bolivar Music Conservatory in Caracas, also travelling for seminars and master classes for the National Saxophone School of Venezuela. Ventures in different musical genres like Jazz, Rock, Latin, Classical and Venezuelan Popular Music, alluring audiences with his particular sonority. Performed in various important orchestras of “El Sistema”, the Venezuelan Youth Orchestras System, and many other groups in his country. With orchestras, big bands, chamber and folk ensembles and as a Soloist he toured in dozens of countries in Europe, Latin-America and the United States performing in mayor festivals and theaters like the BBC Proms (London), the Berlin Philhamonie, Theatre du Chatelet (Paris), the Salzburg Festival, the WMC (Netherlands), Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club (New York) and many others. Jose Alvarez Castillo performs exclusively with Schagerl Saxophones.

brittany lane

Brittany Lane, an innovative contemporary dance artist, who has choreographed and performed in award-winning pieces for the past twelve years. She graduated from Texas State University (TXST) with a BFA in Dance and a Secondary Teaching Certification and Texas Woman’s University where she received her MFA in Dance degree. As an educator, Brittany has taught various workshops and intensives in the Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and the DFW Metroplex. Most recently, Brittany had the opportunity to set choreographic works on colleges such as Kilgore College and The College at Brockport State University in New York .Currently, she is a dance instructor/ director at Hightower High School. Brittany continues to expand upon her practices as an artist, educator, and performer. Brittany captivates audiences with her fierce presence and complex use of rhythmic patterns. Twice, she performed at the South Central Conference of the American College Dance Association in Texas, the 254 Festival in Waco, Texas, and the Dance X Festival in Belize. She performed with two professional companies in the DFW Metroplex: Bandan Koro and LyveArts International. Currently, she dances with a Houston based company, Urban Souls, under the direction of Harrison Guy.

juan pablo romero

In 1996, he began his musical studies when he was 12 years-old at the Jose Luis Paz Musical Conservatory, Maracaibo studying Music Theory and Percussion until 2004. During this studying process, he was a member of the Children’s and Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Zulia State and of the Youth Wind Orchestra. In order to continue his musical studies at a higher level,in 2004 he started his music career at the Universidad Catolica Cecilio Acosta (‘Cecilio Acosta Catholic University’) (UNICA), where obtained the degree of Licentiate in Music, mention Musicology in December 2009. During these five years of university studies, he developed his labor experience as a Drums and Percussion Instructor in Music Academies like Yamaha Musical and World Music and after in the Rafael Belloso Chacin Univeristy (URBE), a private university of the Maracaibo City with a great trajectory, in the Culture Division as the Experimental Group Director. He has participated in various Cultural and Research Projects in Maracaibo such as the UNICA’S Voice Festival, an event organized by the Cecilio Acosta Catholic University and the URBE’S Voice Festival. He has been a member of different Latin music groupsand has participated in music recordings for artists and groups having national and international trajectory.Among the Venezuelan singers we can mention: Omar Enrique and his Orchestra, Los Pelaos, Vocal Son, Argenis Carruyo, Carangano, Tacupae, Gran Coquivacoa, Caribe Son, Caibo, Roberto Antonio and Bacanos; and among the international singers: Adalgisa Pantaleon (Agrupacion 440 Singer), Wilfrido Vargas, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Fernando Villalona, Boni Cepeda, Elvis Crespo and Alvita Rodriguez (a Cuban Singer). Currently, he is a member of the Oscar D’León Orchestra as a Percussionist. As a result of his musical work and participation with international recognized artists, he is currently a Sponsored Artist of Pearl (Percussion) and Soultone (Cymbals). Among the countries visited by him along his musical work we can mention: Panama, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, United States (USA), Canada, Argentina,Canary Islands, Isla Reunion, Tunisia, Roma, Spain, Italy, France, Bahamas, Germany, Holland, Japan , Korea, Australia, Belgium and Puerto Rico. He has, during his international appearances, mixed withrecognized percussionists such as Giovanni Hidalgo, Richie Flores, Oracio el Negro Hernandez, Nathaniel Townslay, Luis Quintero, Ruben Rada, Eddy Palmieri, Jose Luis Quintana “Changuito”, Marc Quiñones, Bobby Allende, Carter Beouford, Robert Quintero, Robert Vilera, Fernando Lobo Nuñez, Jymy Boss and Tata Guines.