Recently, the White House took historic first steps to end travel restrictions to Cuba. But until an epic Capitol Hill battle, which will likely end in blood, tears, and airline tickets, lifts the travel ban entirely, you'll have to settle for swaying your hips to the conga drumbeat at the 12th annual Ifé-Ilé Afro-Cuban Dance Festival. This Saturday at 8 p.m., the festival, which celebrates the African roots of Cuban music and dance, will hold its gala performance at the Byron Carlyle Theater.
There you can witness live drumming and traditional instruments as feet stomp and arms offer praise in hopes that the Orisha gods will look down upon us favorably. You can watch the melding of old rhythms and modern choreography with fusion pieces and guest performances by Afro-Peruvian and Jamaican groups.
The performance closes the 12th Annual Afro-Cuban Dance and Music
Festival, a week of workshops and dance classes focused on all styles of
Afro-Cuban dance ranging from Congo-style to Rumba to Salsa Rueda. Each
of the pieces in the showcase is meant to represent different
archetypes, such as warriors and goddesses.
"Ife-Ile means the
house of love in the Yoruba language, the language spoken by the slaves
that were brought to Cuba," says Neri Torres, the company director who
has toured with Gloria Estefan, acted alongside Andy Garcia, and been
proclaimed a "Woman of the Year" by Glamour magazine. "Our mission is to
create cross-cultural understanding with the other communities here in
Miami. The performance is for everybody. You can expect dances that go
from the emotional to the fun."
And when it's all over, you can
return home without having to sheepishly hand over your Cohibas to a
The performance takes place this Saturday at
8 p.m.at the Byron
Carlyle Theater (500 71st St., Miami Beach). Tickets cost $20. Call
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305-476-0832 or visit www.ife-ile.org.