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Schedule (updated 4/08)



Originally from Santiago de Cuba, Danis Perez "LA MORA" is yet another great artist from the marvelous world of Afro-Cuban folklore. Perez is one of the  best interpreters of the forms of Afro-Cuban dance that are derived from the Yoruba, Congo, Carabalm, Arara, and Dahomeyan cultures of West Africa. As a dance performer and teacher, dance ethnologist, and choreographer, Perez has focused on the unique styles of her native region of "Oriente" province, in eastern Cuba. Oriente offers a particularly rich cultural heritage due to the introduction of Afro-Haitian influences to an already vibrant Afro-Cuban context. Perez excels in the interpretation of dances from this heritage including: Gaga, Vodu, Tajona, Haitian Bembe, Tumba Francesa, as well as the popular dances Rumba, Comparsa (Conga), Chancletas (Cutarras), Haitian Merengue and Son Montuno, Son Urbano, and Casino. Danis Perez Prades "LA MORA" is an international artist who offers a profound contribution not only to the dance world, but to the world of cultural studies as a whole.

Danis Perez Prades "LA MORA" was born in Santiago de Cuba were she began
dancing at the early age of 7 years old. She joined the amateur dance group Afro-Cuban Movements at 10 paving the way to her membership in the Afro-Haitian folklore ensemble Guilermon Moncada. At the age of 13 she began working as a guest of the national folkloric ballet "CUTUMBA", an opportunity that allowed her to participate in international festivals at 15 years old. Since her graduation as a Financial Media Technician at 16 she has remained under contract with "CUTUMBA". In 1994 she was evaluated as Primera Bailarina by the National Commission of Dance, an organization whose roster includes such great exponents of Cuban Dance as Manolo Micler, the principal choreographer for the "FOLKLORICO NATIONAL DE CUBA" . Professor Perez independentely has been invited to teach outside of Cuba since 1995 in Italy and in the United States.

Original de Santiago de Cuba, Danis Perez "LA MORA" es uno mas de los valores
fuertes y enrriquesedores del maravilloso mundo del Folklor Afro-Cubano. Como
uno de sus mejores interpretes Danis Perez sobresalo dentro de las formas mejor conocidas de la cultura danzaria en Cuba que se deriva del Yoruba, Congo,
Carabalm, Arara y Dahomeyano. Su especialidad es la de su regisn, "ORIENTE",
profesora de danza, investigadora de folklor y de vocacisn coreografica, se destaca en las interpretaciones mas fieles del Gaga, Vodu, Tajona, Bembe Haitiano, Tumba Francesa y en los bailes de origen popular como La Rumba, La Comparsa o Conga, Las Chancletas o Cutaras, EL Merengue Haitiano y EL Son con todas sus variantes Son Montuno, Son Urbano y El Casino. Danis Perez Prades "LA MORA", una figura internacional que ofrece ya al mundo de la Danza y de los estudios culturales una contribucisn bella, profunda y muy importante.

Danis Perez Prades "LA MORA", nace en Santiago de Cuba donde a la temprana edad de 7 aqos empieza a bailar integrandose a movimientos Afro-Cubanos en Casas de Cultura hasta los 10 aqos. Lograra incorporarse a los 12 aqos al grupo de aficionados de folklor Afro-Haitiano "Guillermsn Moncada". Desde los 13 aqos a trabajado como invitada en el grupo folklorico nacional "CUTUMBA", que le da la oportunidad de participar en festivales internacionales desde los 15 años. Despues de graduarse como Ticnico de Medio Financial a los 16 queda bajo contrato con "CUTUMBA". En 1994 es valorizada como Primera Bailarina por la Comision Nacional, organizacion que incluye dentro de si misma a grandes exponentes de la Danza en Cuba como Manolo Micler coreografo principal del "FOLKLORICO NACIONAL DE CUBA". La profesora Perez ha sido invitada individualmente a enseqar fuera de Cuba desde 1995, en Italia y los Estados Unidos.

Danis Perez Repertoire

TUMBA FRANCESA, a dance of Afro-Haitian origin that was introduced to Cuba at the end of the 18th century by immigrating Haitian blacks who settled in eastern Cuba, primarily in Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo. This dance transformed the movements made by French couples at colonial festivities into
an African image. Its musical instruments and rhythms are derived from the mysteries-ceremonies of the Dahomey and the Congo peoples. The Creole songs retain their Haitian character and are unchanged from their original form. The dances, delicate and pure in style, are performed in three sections: the Mason
(dance by couple), the Yuba (dance by trio) and the Frente or Frent (a music and dance dialogue between a soloist dancer and the premier drum).

BAND GAGA, an Afro-Haitian-Cuban dance which comes from the Haitian shanties in the eastern part of Cuba. It's a collective feast organized as a comparsa (parade) of rural origin. It contains two basic styles, Chai and Pigue. The ceremonies are performed during the Holy Catholic week. The Patois songs, percussive music and imaginative, lascivious dancing between men and women lend this style its particularly attractive quality. It is characterized by rhythm, strength, exotic movement, color and eroticism as a whole.

TAJONA, a rural comparsa, was introduced in Cuba by the Haitian slaves that emigrated with their French masters from their country after the Haitian Revolution. It was practiced in Santiago de Cuba and its surroundings during the 19th century. This Afro-Haitian-Cuban dance emerged as a way of coping with
the brutal work conditions of the slaves breaking down coffee pulp. Beginning with a leisurely paced representation of the country lifestyle, the dance soon evolves into a more energetic friendly competition between two groups joking with each other and ends with frenzied rhythms accompanying the graceful and
amazingly coordinated entwining of colorful laces that hang from a tall pole.

CUTARAS OR CHANCLETAS The percussive voices of wooden slippers engage in a dialogue with the drums in the performance of this dance that made its appearance in the 1930s. The music is characterized by the rhythmic tapping of the Cutaras (wooden slippers) on the floor and the sound of the drums, sometimes guiding and sometimes accompanying. At times the percussion will abruptly stop and let the Cutaras themselves sound their syncopated contrapuntal variations, reaching a roaring and shattering effect.

CONGA COMPARSA, The most integral, popular, and emblematic elements of the world famous carnivals of Santiago de Cuba are to be found in the beautifully dressed and exciting Congas. The conga Santiaguera is a celebration that speaks of the African origin that is inherent to Cuban people.

CICLO DE LA RUMBA, Rumba is a manifestation of music and dance born in the shacks of African slaves in western Cuba (Havana and Matanzas) and deeply rooted in the culture of the Cuban people. Nowadays it constitutes a national cultural patrimony, with three traditional styles: the "Yambu" is a couple dance where the dancers imitate the movements of elder people, the "Guaguanco" is also a couple dance which emulates the courting-mating act as a competition between a man and woman, the "Columbia" is a competition between the most skillful male dancers and the principal leading drum.

SON, One of the most basic forms of Afro-Cuban music and dance. Its existence is documented as early as the late 19th century. The Son has three choreographic variations and numerous musical styles. It is danced as a couple with the same steps as its precursor, the Danzon, but its movements are more open, accentuated and free.

Schedule (updated 4/08)


La Mora is now teaching at Alvin Ailey in New York City .  Her classes are offered through the Ailey Extension.   

6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Open Level

6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Beginner Level

4:00 to 5:30
Cuban Popular Dance

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater / Ailey Extension
405 W. 55th Street (at 9th Avenue )
New York , NY 10019
Telephone: (212) 405-9000
Fax: (212) 405-9001

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