Songs and Dances of America Latina on Display at Gusman

Singers and dancers from the Danmar Academy of Performing Arts (DAPA) in Texas will be at the Gusman Center of the Performing Arts this Saturday and Sunday to perform America Latina: A Mosaic of Cultural Expression. The show could easily be subtitled Miami the Musical. Billed as "a 90-minute show that will transport the audience on a cultural journey through Latin America," Mosaic is a tapestry woven from the cultures of Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Mexico. Sound familiar? Also celebrating the bicentennial of several of its featured countries, Mosaic provides a chance to support one's raza.

Read on for a few words with Maria Fernanda Urbaez, the artistic director of DAPA.

New Times: How did such an ambitious project come about?

Maria Fernanda Urbaez: In November 2008, we were invited to perform in the Latin American Cultural Week in New York, so I produced The Hispanic Dance Showcase. Eddy Marcano and his Acoustic Trio were invited as well, and we had the opportunity to dance with live music in the Winter Garden. Then I found out that some of the countries in Latin America were going to celebrate the bicentennial of their independence.

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How do the members of DAPA feel about visiting Miami--a city full of their compatrias?

Very excited! Miami is a [city] where we can find a good representation of the different countries honored in our production, and I am sure the Hispanic communities are anxious to keep their culture while living abroad.

What can the audience expect from the show?

They will be transported on a cultural journey through Latin America, starting with the roots of the Hispanic culture, and leading to the many dances and music that characterized it.

As well as putting on a great show. DAPA provides scholarships for talented dance, music, or education students through its scholarship program. So go see the show and support culture and a good cause.

Catch America Latina: A Mosaic of Cultural Expression on 8 p.m. Saturday, October 9, and 5 p.m. Sunday, October 10 at  Gusman Center of the Performing Arts' Olympia Theater (174 East Flagler St., Miami). Tickets cost from $30.50 to $45.50.


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