"To dance well is the most marvelous thing that exists" Roberto Borrell
MUSICIAN - DANCER - TEACHER
Thirty-five years of performing and instructing Afro-Cuban Folkloric Dance and Cuban Popular Dance has enabled Roberto Borrell to develop a unique and entertaining style of teaching.
At a time when elegance and style counted for everything Roberto Borrell turned the nights on fire dancing to the intricate rhythms of great Cuban performers such as Chappottin, Orquesta Aragon and Neno Gonzalez. He learned to dance during the heyday of the legendary Havana Social Clubs. Perfecting what is known as Cuban Popular Dance, Roberto became a master of Danzon, Son, Son-Montuno, Guaracha and the Cha-Cha-Cha.
When Roberto was 18 he was noticed by Cuba's Conjunto Folklorico Nacional and asked to join the celebrated performance group. In a trial by-fire situation he was schooled in the traditional Orisha songs, dances and rhythms by the most renowned Afro-Cuban folkloric dancers and percussionists of the time. His innate talent and facility for learning allowed him to start performing with the group immediately.
As Roberto continued to develop his performance skills he began to cultivate his abilities as a choreographer and musical director. Starting as the orchestra leader for his own group in Cuba , Union Cienfueguera, through to his highly successful San Francisco based orchestra, Moderna Tradcion, he continued to direct musical groups and shows for over 30 years.
By the time Roberto left Cuba he had developed a wealth of knowledge and a diverse mastery of Cuban music and dance which also included dancing Rumba en la calle, excelling in playing the Bata for Tambores (Yoruba religious ceremonies), choreographing for Carnival and performing on the National Stage.
In order to get the highly tuned performances that he required for his shows, Roberto began to train the dancers and musicians himself. Once in New York, Roberto focused his energy on teaching. With an authentic historic perspective, he worked on creating a meticulous method of teaching that combines music and dance with the evolution of Cuba's musical history. He teaches his students how to listen; one of the most valuable skills that a dancer can have. Along with a surplus of charm and charisma, Roberto has a generosity of spirit that transpires and inspires all of his students.
From a student in Cuba's pre-revolutionary dance halls to a prolific performer of Afro-Cuban dance and percussion, Roberto is able to harness the eros of the stage and direct it towards the world of teaching. If authenticity, raw talent and compassion are what you are looking for, Roberto Borrell is the teacher for you.
Kati Hernandez brings to the United States her humble, yet explosive and uplifting energy. Kati's knowledge of dance and choreography reveals her intricate and versatile style, making her a highly sought-after performer, nationally and internationally. A native of Cuba, Kati grew up surrounded by the sounds of the drum and the Afro-Cuban tradition. Her dance studies included folkloric, popular, modern, ballet, choreography, composition and staging. Her earlier performances include the Havana International Jazz Festival with Cuban stars such as Bobby Carcases and Chucho Valdez and the Bienal Internacional de la Habana with Afro-Cuban music and performance icon Mercedita Valdez and visual artist Manuel Mendive. Kati's international journey began soon after graduating Cuba's National Art Schools where she went to Spain to tour with the well-known orchestra Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco. Kati's fiery, refined style awarded her the invitation to tour with several Cuban music and dance productions throughout Portugal, the Bahamas and Costa Rica, where she later resided for five years. This gave her the opportunity to refine her talents in teaching and choreographing dance, and to expand her range as an actor and dancer/choreographer for television. Kati also volunteered her time and skills teaching dance to children and young women in impoverished communities throughout Central America, empowering them to use dance as a medium for expressing emotions, experiences, hopes and dreams. Following her extensive travels, Kati moved to the United States. In California she taken on the responsibility to teach and cultivate Afro-Cuban culture by producing regular events and workshops that create a community that bridges dance and music across cultures. She is the co-founder of KimBamBula Productionswhich produced "Essence of Cuba", a paramount reunion of Afro-Cuban masters in Los Angeles including members of the renowned group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas with California's finest Cuban folkloric masters. Kati recently created one of her dream projects, "Isupo Irawo", an ensemble of Legendary Afro-Cuban masters from around the world. This group features Maestro Lázaro Galarraga, one of the founding members of the Conjunto Folklorico de Cuba, who has been a lifelong inspiration to Kati, and recently a mentor to her development. Their most recent performances include the Esalen International Music and Dance Festival and the opening act for the world-renowned Brazilian jazz percussionistAirto Moreira at Avila Beach, CA. Kati's other accomplishments in Los Angeles include: The Ford Amphitheater's popular Cuban music production of "La Charanga Cubana" and "Tropicana in Hollywood" where she was a choreographer, costume design advisor and production coordinator; the dance installation "Fire"directed by Judith Davis and presented at Pomona College; and UCLA's film project, "Raiz". In addition, She is praised for her tribute piece to legendary Afro-Cuban master percussionistFrancisco Aguabella at Esalen in Big Sur, CA. Currently, Kati is the artistic director and choreographer of her own community-based, Afro-Cuban dance and music experimental project, "KimBambula". Eager to spread the roots of Cuban Salsa in L.A and nationwide, she is now the co-founder of Afro-Timba, a dance fitness program that she is currently touring Nationwide and Founder of "Oricha Therapy" Cuban dance program. Kati teaches dance classes at several southern California colleges and universities including the University of California, Irvine, as well as in many local studios throughout Los Angeles. She continues to tour, bringing her flavorful Afro-Cuban dynamite to national Afro-Cuban folkloric and salsa dance conferences and many Casino Rueda regional festivals. She also tour training Cuban style teams in the U.S.A. Kati is known for her vibrant energy and flavor on the dance floor. When one begins to study with her they will see that this flavor comes from an in-depth knowledge of her culture and tradition.