Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance
State Theater, June 24
grew up in a little barrio in New York City," says Puerto Rican
Folkloric Dance Company artistic director and choreographer, Ana
Maria Grizzaffi Maynard. "I call it a suburb on the outskirts of San
Juan: Bronx, New York." Perhaps not the real Puerto Rico, but you'd
be hard-pressed to find a community outside San Juan that acted so
much as if it were San Juan or that could have so influenced the
young woman as she grew up. Maynard was surrounded by the sights --
and more importantly the sounds and moves -- of her near-native
Puerto Rico. "Music and dancing are a very big part of Puerto Rican
life," she says. After moving to Austin, Maynard took to dancing in
a folkloric dance company herself:Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklorico,
which performs Mexican folkloric dance.
experience with the Ballet Folklorico was one of a "warm family" and
this is what Maynard brings to her own new company, PRFD. The
Celebrando is an annual event: a joyful presentation of some of the
various dances to be found on the island of Puerto Rico, replete
with West African, Indian, and Spanish influences. Among the suites
of dance that Maynard has prepared for this year's event is a new
"estampa" Plena Baseball, which takes the most popular sport of the
island as its subject. "There's only so many times you can see the
same folkloric style of dance,"explains Maynard, "so what I'm trying
to do more and more as we mature is to convey to the audience
something about our culture. So every time we have a big show like
this, I put together a suite of dances that has a little theme going
through it." The Plena Baseball involves recreating the sights and
sounds of a day at the ballpark through dance, and Maynard is
pleased that even her drummers are catching the (dance)
another of the suites, the Bailes de las Montañas, the dance
shifts to the peasant coffee farmers of the mountain plantations.
"The dancers are from the mountains. This would be the equivalent of
our country music." Maynard has choreographed this suite, "as a
wedding; we've recreated a wedding and the party: an outdoor, joyful
kind of thing." And no PRFD presentation would be complete without
the riches of the 19th-century aristocratic dance, complete with
handcrafted, authentic costumes. Maynard tells of collaborating with
a visiting Panamanian dressmaker to create costumes for this
colorful, formal dance: "You can hire a seamstress," says Maynard,
"but to hire someone with the right Hispanic flair" made all the
Maynard is particularly pleased to introduce local
audiences to guest artist Modesta Cepeda who will teach her company
a dance that has been in his family for five generations. "I've
lived in Austin for 10 years, but I'm guessing that this is actually
the first time that someone of [Modesto Cepeda's] caliber and
relevance in the Puerto Rican folklore world has come to Austin."
Cepeda and members of his performing group, Cimiento de Puerto Rico,
add some home-grown folkloric flair to an afternoon full of song,
music, dance, and pageantry. -- Robi
ONE NIGHT ONLY! Sun, June 24, 2pm. State Theater,
719 Congress. $10 adults ($8 seniors & students with ID; $5
children 13 & under; 2 & under free.) 451-8122 or
PUERTO RICAN FOLKLORIC DANCE:
CELEBRANDO 2001 (See page 79.) Sun, June 24, 2pm.
State Theater, 719 Congress. $10 adults ($8 seniors/students with
ID, $5 children 13 & under, 2 & under free).
Improvisational belly dancing and drumming in an artful atmosphere.
Thu, June 21, 8pm. Cafe Mundi, 1704 E. Fifth. 458-1804.
bellydancing to accompany your Mideast feast. Friday and Saturday:
Phara. Thursday and Sunday: special guest dancers. Thu-Sun, 8pm.
Ararat: 111 E. North Loop. 419-1692.
The deadline for
the Fri, July 6 issue is Tue, June 26, 5 p.m. Include name of event, date,
time, location, price, phone number(s), a description of the event, and
any available photos or artwork. Include SASE for return of materials.
Listings are printed on a space-available basis. Send listings to the
attention of the appropriate writer (see roster below). Mail to The Austin
Chronicle, PO Box 49066, Austin 78765, fax 458-6910, or e-mail:Wayne Alan Brenner
, performance art, dance, classical.J.C. Shakespeare
, comedy.Ric Williams
Questions? Contact Kim
Mellen, listings editor.