3rd Annual “Cubanía: A Celebration of Cuban Dance Heritage” (2020)
October 10 & 11, 2020

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15 annually) has arrived, and Anaya Latin Dance will once again present our signature event “Cubanía: A Celebration of Cuban Dance Heritage”, now in its third year. This event incorporates dance, visual arts, music, and community with an educational orientation centered on Cuban dance heritage.

Fernando Ortiz once defined “Cubanía”, as opposed to the generic condition of being born Cuban, as a “full, felt, conscious, and desired” Cuban identity, one that is “responsible” and with “the virtues of faith, hope, and love”. It is within this spirit that we bring forth our 2020 event.

2020 has been a complicated year for the public health worldwide and in Alaska. For this reason, our event this year will include only guests local to Alaska, with virtual options for our workshops and Facebook live stream events instead of in-person parties. The workshops, held at Anaya Latin Dance and at Underground Dance Company, will be all no-contact and with strict in-person attendance limits, with no limit on Zoom registrations. At each in-person workshop, masks will be required, sanitizer will be available, and all-natural hand sanitizer will be available for purchase from our business sponsor, Just Botanicals. Workshop registration is available online, or check the details below.

We also feel it pertinent to have an additional focus in our 2020 event in light of national and global conversations around the systemic devaluing of Black life, including Black cultural expressions. As such, this year our theme is highlighting the African roots of salsa (one of the main dances taught by Anaya Latin Dance) and Cuban dance as well as showcasing other Afro-Cuban dances. Last year we introduced Anchorage to Afro-Cuban dance in our workshops with our guests Jorge Luis & Indira, and this year we will deepen our knowledge through our workshop series with the man they respectfully called “maestro”. In addition to these workshops, we have organized two Zoom panels, one of which is a webinar discussing salsa history and Afro-Cuban roots, and the other is a community panel around creating a more inclusive dance scene locally. These zoom conferences are free and accessible to all, with donations appreciated.

Our special guest instructor this year, hailing from Cuba and coming from Fairbanks, is Felix Bambury-Webbe. Felix moved to Alaska in 2007 and brings with him a lifetime of embodied knowledge. He learned many Cuban and Haitian dances in their original cultural contexts as a youth. Later, he worked for the well-known folkloric dance companies BanRarra, a Haitian roots group from Guantanamo, and Raices Profundas in Havana, one of the world’s most authentic performing ensembles in the Afro-Cuban Yoruba traditions (originating in West Africa). Felix will be teaching us both Afro-Cuban and Afro-Haitian rhythms for all levels, drawing directly from his own heritage and experiences.

Our guest visual artist, Misael Cáceres-Ortega, is an emerging Cuban artist currently living in Anchorage. Self-taught, Misael uses oil, acrylic, charcoal and pencil to wrestle with his feelings of nostalgia and guilt for leaving loved ones in Cuba through his paintings and drawings. Misael introduces other mediums to his work (coffee grinds, recycled objects, trash, old magazines) as he often relied on these objects in Cuba when he couldn’t afford paints or find them due to government shortages. Misael’s vivid but muted tones parallel the gradual time warp of his memories of La Habana, and the natural wear on the city’s architecture and vibrant culture after the Cuban government decided to freeze it in time decades back. More information about Misael’s story and his art can be found here.

Finally, our guest performers this year are Sankofa Dance Theatre, Alaska’s premier African dance company. Sankofa’s mission is dedicated to bringing forth a renaissance of cultural creative arts throughout Alaska. As a group, they are striving to inspire brilliance in our community regardless of age through art, music, dance, and literary works as vehicles to bring enlivenment, cultural exchange, and unity. Aché! You can find more information about Sankofa Dance Theatre here.

We hope you will enjoy this event and that you will continue to support the performing arts and the numerous local performing arts groups of Anchorage as we navigate these challenging times.

Check out our brief and detailed schedule below, and if you’d like to donate to our event to help off-set our event costs, please click the link below:

Brief Schedule

Detailed Schedule:

– Saturday, October 10th –

11 am – 12 pm: Zoom Conference – “Creating a more inclusive dance scene: A community conversation”. This webinar will discuss issues and solutions for creating a more inclusive dance scene here in Anchorage. Live zoom conference contributors are to be announced. Anyone interested can fill out our anonymous survey sharing experiences and seeking suggestions and resources.
Please also see the Zoom link / Facebook event link with further details

2 pm – 3:30 pm: Dance Workshop –  Afro-Cuban dance: Elegguá and Ogún
Felix would like to begin our workshops with warrior dances. First, we will dance Elegguá, the masculine orisha (Yoruba deity) responsible for opening new paths who has a childlike, prankster energy. This will be followed by Ogún, who uses his machete to clear the pathways opened by Elegguá.
Instructor: Felix Bambury-Webbe. In-person class limit: 12 students. Location: Underground Dance Company. In-person registration ($25) / Zoom registration ($15)

4 – 5:30 pm: Dance Workshop – Afro-Cuban dance: Chango
Channeling more warrior energy, along comes the masculine Chango, who rules lightning, dance, drums, fire and passion. His movements are energetic and powerful.
Instructor: Felix Bambury-Webbe. In-person class limit: 12 students. Location: Underground Dance Company. In-person registration ($25) / Zoom registration ($15)

6-7 pm: Facebook Livestream Party
Performances with Sankofa Dance Theatre, business sponsor spotlight, and animations for all to enjoy at home with Felix, Sankofa, and Anaya
Available from the Anaya Latin Dance Facebook page / Donation link

Sunday, October 11th

11 am – 12 pm: Zoom Conference – Salsa Music & Dance and its Afro-Cuban Roots
This webinar, aimed at beginners, will discuss the evolution of salsa music and dance and its origins in Cuba, emphasizing its African roots (on donation). Presenter: Liz Anaya
Please also see the Zoom link / Donation link / Facebook event with further details

1 pm – 2:30 pm: Dance Workshop –  Afro-Cuban dance: Yemayá

Yemayá is an a feminine orisha (Yoruba deity) who is at once fierce and nurturing. She is the goddess of the oceans and maternity. A long, loose skirt is suggested, and dancers of all genders are welcome.
Instructor: Felix Bambury-Webbe. In-person class limit: 7 students. Location: Anaya Latin Dance. In-person registration ($25) / Zoom registration ($15)

3 – 4:30 pm: Dance Workshop – Afro-Haitian dance: Gagá
Gagá is a style brought to Cuba by Afro-Haitian immigrants. It is considered an erotic and energetic dance with roots in the Vodou religion, but is danced for culture.
Instructor: Felix Bambury-Webbe. In-person class limit: 7 students. Location: Anaya Latin Dance: In-person registration ($25) / Zoom registration ($15)

5 pm – 6 pm: Facebook Livestream Party
Salsa suelta class for beginners and intermediates with Ciro Anaya and Liz Anaya, Virtual Art Opening (the work of Misael Caceres-Ortega) and demonstrations.
Available from the Anaya Latin Dance Facebook page / Donation link

Past “Cubanía” events:
You can read more about our headliner special guests on our “events” page

This event, held annually in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15 annually), incorporates dance, visual arts, music, and community with an educational orientation centered on Cuban dance heritage.

3rd Annual – October 10 & 11, 2020
Held at Anaya Latin Dance, Underground Dance Company, and virtually
Special guest: Dance instructor, Felix Bambury Webbe (Cuba/Alaska)
Guest visual artist: Misael Cáceres Ortega (Cuba/Alaska)
Local business sponsor: Just Botanicals
Local guest performers: Sankofa Dance Theater
Activities: Zoom conferences about inclusion in dance and about salsa’s Afro-Cuban roots, Afro-Cuban and Afro-Haitian dance workshops, and virtual art opening, salsa workshop, dance performances, and animations

2nd Annual – September 27 & 28, 2019
Held at Underground Dance Company and the 49th State Brewing Company
Special guests: Dance instructors and performers, Jorge Luis & Indira (Cuba/Nevada)
Guest visual artist: Makala Cruz/Baila Conmigo TV (Alaska)
Local guest performers: Arctic Académie de Danse, DJ Vorteks, MC Don Megga
Local business sponsor: LED Ultra Lounge & Grill
Activities: Mini-documentary screening, social dance with animations and performances, and dance workshops (casino/salsa, afro, reggaeton, rumba, son)

1st Annual – September 22 & 29, 2018
Held at the Writer’s Block Cafe and the 49th State Brewing Company
Special guest: Dance instructor, visual artist, and literary artist, Esteban Isnardi (Uruguay/Switzerland)
Local guest performers: Luis Perez (congas) and Willie Baez (trumpet)
Local business sponsors: XQ Dance Heels, Damn Skippy Wear
Activities: Conference about music and dance, art opening, live music and poetry performance, Cuban food, social dance with dance performances, and dance workshops (mambo, timba, casino, rueda de casino, son)