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Cuban dance weekend 'salsas' into Syracuse

Bárbara Balbuena Gutiérrez headlines workshops, lectures, panel discussions

Jan 17, 2014 | Article by: Sarah Scalese

Photo of salsa workshop

Bárbara Balbuena Gutiérrez (far left) leads a salsa workshop.


Award-winning author, researcher, and dancer Bárbara Balbuena Gutiérrez will salsa into Syracuse next month as SU's Department of Art and Music Histories plays host to the renowned academic for a four-day program, Feb. 6-9.

Along with a variety of dance workshops designed for participants of all levels, Balbuena will host a lecture, “Dance in the Cuban System of Artistic Education,” and will participate in a roundtable discussion on salsa dancing, together with Sydney Hutchinson, assistant professor of music history and cultures; Roberto Pérez, local Cuban dance instructor; and salsa musician Edgar Pagán.

Balbuena, originally from Camagüey, Cuba, is dean of the dance department at Havana’s Instituto Superior de Arte and the author of several award winning books on Cuban social and ritual dance, including El Casino y la Salsa in Cuba. A veteran performer and educator of Cuban modern, social and traditional dances, she began her career in 1978 and has traveled around Cuba and Europe, teaching dance workshops. This will be her first visit to Syracuse.

Due to overwhelming interest, space is limited, and, according to Hutchinson, it will be an experience you won’t want to miss.

“This is such a unique opportunity for the Syracuse community to interact with a researcher and performer actually based in Cuba,” said Hutchinson.  “We are thrilled to have her here and look forward to a weekend full of dancing, discussion, and new ideas.”  

SU students with valid ID who preregister are eligible for one free workshop.  For nonstudents, each workshop is $15 if you preregister, $18 if you pay at the door.  The schedule for the dance workshops, all of which will be held at Wacheva Cultural Arts (117 Harvard Place, Syracuse), is as follows:

Saturday, February 8
1:00 – 2:45 p.m.: The Roots of Salsa: Cuban Social Dance (all levels welcome)
3:00 – 4:45 p.m.: Afro-Cuban Movement (all levels welcome)

Sunday, February 9
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Rueda de Casino (experienced dancers)
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Private lessons available by request

To preregister for the workshops, email salsasydney@gmail.com or visit Wacheva to reserve your space.  The Cuban Dance Weekend will offer several free events as well, including:

Thursday, February 6
5:00 p.m.: Lecture by Balbuena (Shemin Auditorium, SU)

Friday, February 7
5:30 p.m.: Roundtable discussion on Cuban salsa and the book launch for Salsa World: A Global Dance in Local Contexts (La Casita Cultural Center, 109 Otisco St.)

Additional support comes from The College's Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics; La Casita Cultural Center; and the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Programs; and from SU’s Centro de Estudios Hispánicos.

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Contact Information

Rob Enslin
315-443-3403
rmenslin@syr.edu