Do Justice to the Culture Whose Dance You Are Borrowing Part II

Yismari Ramos

Yismari in performance

Last week I wrote about my Samba teacher Jacqui Barnes.  Today I’ll introduce you to my latin rhythms teacher, Yismari Ramos.

 

Like Jacqui, Yismari is passionate about the music of her culture (Cuban) and the the way the dance feels.  Her classes consist of complicated choreography that incompasses the various rhythms of Cuban dance.  This is a class for dancers and the choreography is as challenging for the brain as it is for the body.

 

Here’s Yismari teaching our gym class.  She’s in the blue top and black pants in the center.  If you look hard, you can catch me in the 3rd row struggling to keep up.  (In my defense, this was my first encounter with a routine she had been teaching for 2 weeks.)  This is a typical routine which she teaches for 2 weeks before choreographing a new one.

 

Just like Jacqui, she wants us to learn the moves but is more concerned that we put feeling into it.  She’ll often parody how the dance will look without soul and tell us to just do SOMEthing.  “I don’t care what, just move your BODY.”

I love learning from these women, because they are inspiring in the impossible ways they can move, but also because of the love and passion they have for their art and their music, and the culture represented by the dance.

 

Here’s an excerpt from a performance by Yismari and another great local teacher, Erick Barberia.  If you are lucky enough to live in the bay area, consider taking advantage of the amazing talent available to you here!


by LaurieAnn Lepoff

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