Thursday, December 29, 2016

Global Rhythms's Yesenia Fernandez Selier on presenting Afro-Cuban dance in public space

Dance artist, educator and MFA student Beatrice Capote
(photo: Russell Hayden)

For my Montclair State University course, Performance Perspectives, Dance MFA student Beatrice Capote interviewed Yesenia Fernandez Selier, Executive Director of the performing arts troupe Global Rhythms.

Global Rhythms is a cultural enterprise devoted to enriching society and empowering individuals and communities through Cuban dance, music, and cultural education. Founded in 2012 by Cuban scholar, activist, and folkloric dancer Yesenia Selier and Hunter Houde, US born Latin dancer and entertainer, Global Rhythms uses these elements to create bonds between people and cultures and to promote a more diverse and tolerant society. With exciting dance performances, live Latin music shows, and interactive academic conferences on the history of popular and religious music and dance from Cuba, our experienced staff blends the talents of traditional artists, scholars, and award winning entertainers to provide an unforgettable cultural experience. Global Rhythms has worked with and alongside world renowned artists such Pedrito Martinez, Roman Diaz, Maykel Fonts, Septeto Nacional de Cuba, Ivan Acosta, Jose Conde, Jane Bunnett, Cita Rodriguez, Grupo Irek, Miguelo Valdes, Mauricio Herrera Tamayo, Gerardo Contino, Venissa Santi, among others. 
Cuban born performer and researcher, Yesenia Fernandez Selier is currently a media, culture and communication PhD candidate at New York University-Steinhart. Yesenia is the recipient of fellowships from CLACSO and the CUNY Caribbean Exchange Program of Hunter College and recognized for her work preserving Latino heritage by the “Save Latin America Organization.” Her work on Afro-Cuban culture, encompassing dance, music and race identity has been published in Cuba, United States and Brazil. Yesenia has developed several projects, like Tambo! and Ibiono Project for the preservation of Afro- Cuban legacy in NYC. She produced, the theater play Women Orishas for Miami Cuban Museum (2013) and the show Cuba en Clave for the Cuban Cultural Center in Miami (2014). She is currently Executive Director of Global Rhythms.

To listen to this audio clip from today's guest contributor, Beatrice Capote, click here (20:51).

Beatrice Capote is a soloist dancer, choreographer and teacher. She started her pre-professional training at PPAS/The Ailey School, and then graduated from University of North Carolina School of the Arts as a dance major. In addition, she continued her college journey at Montclair State University where she received her BA in Dance Education. Professionally, she has worked with INSPIRIT, a dance company, Mavericks dance company, The Wells Performance Project, Areytos Performance Works, Earl Mosley, Matthew Rushing, Darrell Moultrie, Antonio Brown and Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In. Motion. Ms. Capote choreographed and performed her solo work as a guest artist for ASHA Dance Company, the Eric Dolphy Jazz Festival, and recently performed her Newest Solo at the Martha Graham Studios for WestFest Dance, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD), Pepatian Dance Concert at Pregones Theater, and Battery Dance Festival. She received a grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to choreograph and show new works at the Pier 17 South Street Seaport. She has, also, set work at the Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts Summer Intensive Program, Fort Wayne Ballet Summer Intensive Program, and Steffi Nossen School of Dance. In her work, she gravitates towards the individual artistry/ experience. She asks questions like what, when, where, and who…. Within those questions, she uses gestures to tell her story/ experience. The gestures evolve to expansive movements within the body that reflect to deeper meaning. The movement quality is known to be very energetic and vibrant contemporary modern aesthetic infused with African, ballet, modern, and jazz. Her goal in the work is for the audience to experience and relate to the work. In addition, She is currently faculty at the Ailey School, Joffrey Ballet, Montclair State University and a dancer with Camille A. Brown and Dancers. Website:

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