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Secrest artists series presents 'Danzon,' a celebration of Cuban Dance and music

September 24, 2009

Wake Forest University’s Secrest Artists Series will present Danzón:  Luna Negra Dance Theater with the Turtle Island String Quartet and Paquito D’Rivera at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 in Reynolds Auditorium at R.J. Reynolds High School.

The performance, the first Secrest Series event to be presented at an off-campus venue, is a collaboration with the Arts Magnet program of Reynolds High School and the Cuba Project of Wake Forest’s Department of Romance languages, which produced the exhibit “Cuban Artists’ Books and Prints: 1985-2008.”  It is on display through Oct. 6 at the Hanes Art Gallery on the Wake Forest campus.  An all-school performance for students at Reynolds, followed by workshops and classes with the artists, will precede the public performance.

The collaboration with Reynolds High School is supported by a grant from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and funding from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

The influence of danzón, the official dance of Cuba, can be heard in virtually every Cuban musical genre.  In Danzón, Eduardo Vilaro, founder and artistic director of Luna Negra Dance Theater, reinvents and reinvigorates this traditional and quintessentially Cuban dance form as a modern work of art, introducing it to mainstream American audiences.  Luna Negra Dance Theater blends the discipline of ballet with the dynamic movements of contemporary dance, infused with the explosive energy of Latin and Afro-Caribbean dance forms in works by Latino choreographers.

Turtle Island Quartet, founded in 1985, fuses the classical quartet aesthetic with contemporary American musical styles. The group has won two Grammy awards.  Paquito D’Rivera, who plays clarinet and saxophone, was born in Cuba and began his career as a child prodigy, playing with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra.  He has founded several musical ensembles, recorded more than 30 solo albums and won nine Grammy awards.  More information about the artists is available at,, and

Nina Lucas, associate professor and director of dance, and Linda Howe, associate professor of Romance languages and director of the Cuba Project, will give a pre-performance talk in the Black Box Theatre at Reynolds Auditorium.

General admission is $20; $15 for senior citizens and non-Wake Forest students. Tickets are free to Wake Forest students, faculty and staff.

Upcoming concerts in the 2009-2010 Secrest season include:

  • The Bruckner Orchester Linz, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10; Wait Chapel.
  • Baritone opera singer Nathan Gunn, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21; Wait Chapel.
  • South African vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo; 7:30 p.m. March 4; Wait Chapel.

For more information, visit or call the Secrest Artists Series office at (336) 758-5757.

Press Contacts:

Eric Frazier
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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