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BALLET FOLKLÓRICO CUTUMBA
Rich, vocal music peppers Cutumba’s extensive repertoire,
which includes the captivating Orisha dances which honor the divine beings of
the Yoruba pantheon, as well as jubilant Haitian dances such as the sensuous gagá
and masún which now form a part of the cultural heritage of eastern
On stage, Cutumba brings to life the African and Haitian
cultures intrinsic to
Cutumba has been touring extensively since 1991 to venues
and festivals in
José Alfredo Carrión, born in
Santiago de Cuba, began his career as a professional dancer when he was
invited to join the Ballet Folklórico Cutumba in 1980 at the age
of 17. After only three years of hard work, Jose was recognized as a
“primer bailarín.” The following year, in 1984,
after an evaluation by a national panel of Cuba’s most
distinguished specialists in music and dance, José was honored
with the title of professor and specialist in Cuban dance. In 1999,
after almost twenty years of being a soloist for the dance troupe,
José became Cutumba’s principal dancer.
the years, multi-talented José has also contributed to Cutumba
as a choreographer, percussionist and researcher. José’s
choreographies include Guiro para Elegguá, Baile Campesino, Son
Tradicional and Fin de Fiesta, which are currently performed together
as Fiesta Cubana. He has played percussion in a number of Cutumba
productions and can be heard on several recordings including Ritmos
Cubafricanos Volumes 1 and 2 which he helped produce.
As a professor, José has trained generations of dancers, many of whom still perform with Cutumba, others who continue their work as dancers abroad. Besides teaching professionals, José has a tremendous amount of experience working with children and young adults. He has taught extensively in Cuba’s school system in the primary schools, high schools and universities. José has also brought the joy of music and dance to children with special needs.
Jose has traveled extensively during his years with Cutumba. He has performed and given workshops in many different countries including England, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Guadeloupe & Martinique, Surinam, Canada and the US.
Invited by Chuck Davis to perform in the DanceAfrica festivals of 2002, José had the opportunity to teach in several schools and community centers in Chicago, Philadelphia and NY. In July 2004, as a guest of Groupe de Danse Mondial of Montreal, Quebec, José taught members of Philadelphia-based Kulu Mele African American Dance Ensemble in an intensive workshop which included an original choreography Jugando with Elegguá. Jose has given master dance classes at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Center for Creative Education in Stone Ridge, NY and Columbia College Chicago. Most recently, in October, 2005, he was the artist-in-residency at Williams College in Massachusetts.
After 25 years of researching, collecting, conserving, revitalizing & presenting the folkloric manifestations of Afro-Franco-Haitian-Cuban origin found primarily in Cuba's Eastern (Oriente) provinces, José has retired from Cutumba. In April 2005, he moved to the United States to live with his wife. He is now the co-director of the Academy of Cuban Folkore and Dance in Seattle, Washington. Since his arrival, he has been busy teaching - with much love, patience and dedication - the music & dance traditions of the Yoruba, Kongo and Dahomean people. In addition to the dances of the Orishas, palo and vodú, José teaches other folkloric dances such as gagá, congo layé, masún, tajona, tumba francesa, as well as the popular traditions of rumba, son, salsa & conga santiaguera.
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