Latin American Studies


"I learned how to dance the Mexican Hat Dance and how to do some capoeira. I also leaned how to sing a Brazilian song and how to play the claves (an instrument that looks like breadsticks). I appreciate this very much. I hope to see more from Symphony Space."— Tristan, 5th grader, PS 219

Combining rhythms from Africa and Latin America with jazz elements from the USA, Afro-Latin jazz includes salsa, meringue, mambo, rhumba, cha cha and much more. With members of Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin jazz ensemble, musicians break down the multilayered rhythms of Latin music, exploring the history and culture of Latin America and its connection to European, African and Indigenous cultures.
Artists: Pablo Bilbraut, Ricky Rodriguez, and members of the Arturo O’Farrill Afro-Latin Jazz ensemble  (see Artist Bios)
Liliana Araujo, Scott Kettner, and Uri Sharlin examine many of the rich folk music traditions of northeastern Brazil, a region that was a center of the Brazilian slave trade. They explore the ceremonial origins of Maracatu, a musical tradition brought from Africa with the slaves, and share their knowledge of local folk music and storytelling.  Liliana, a singer/dancer, Scott, a percussionist and songwriter, and Uri, an accordionist and pianist, get students clapping rhythms, singing, and moving.
Artists: Liliana Araujo, Scott Kettner, and Uri Sharlin (see Artist Bios)
Steel Impressions performs music from calypso to reggae, as well as European classical, rhythm and blues, jazz, and contemporary popular tunes. One of the most famous of "recycled" instruments, the tuneful steel drum was originally created from discarded oil barrels. Steel Impressions' music is festive and appeals to audiences of all ages.
Artists: Ovril and Angela Solomons (see Artist Bios)
Ballet Los Pampas, comprised of the dance team of Laura Valdes and Pedro Escudero, is dedicated to keeping the popular culture and heritage of Latin America alive, especially the authentic dances of Mexico and Argentina. In class and in performance, this couple embodies the essence of Latin American culture with their colorful costumes, bold dance moves and insight into the regional cultures.
Artists: Ballet Los Pampas (Laura Valdes and Pedro Escudero) (see Artist Bios)
Capoiera, originally a martial arts practice disguised as innocent dancing by Brazilian slaves, plays an important role in Brazilian history and society. In its current form, wildly popular around the world, it combines elements of martial arts, games, music, and dance. The teaching artists under the auspices of Mestre Jelon Vieira, perform breathtaking physical demonstrations and accompany this fascinating art form with the traditional berimbaus, pandeiros, and reco-reco. Participation includes singing, clapping, and basic capoeira martial arts moves.
Artists: Jelon Vieira and the Capoeira Foundation (see Artist Bios)
Fusing indigenous, colonial and African cultural, religious, and folk traditions in ancient and contemporary stories, Bobby Gonzalez creates a common ground for understanding the vibrant mix that is Latin America. Gonzalez's interactive teaching style enables diverse communities to appreciate Latin American life, especially the elements that connect people to the earth and to creatures of the natural world.
Artist: Bobby Gonzalez (see Artist Bios)
The teaching artist provides a framework for looking at art by directing careful observations of objects. Exploring background information on Latin American art, participants discover recurring themes in the art from different periods and geographical regions, from Pre-Colombian artifacts to paintings by Frida Kahlo. If time allows, the teaching artist will include a hands-on art project. An artist-led museum trip to view art and artifacts from Latin America is also available.
Artists: Barbara Barry, Nicole Haroutunian, , Christopher Lea, Misha McGlown, Lance Paladino or Rose Pearlman (see Artist Bios)
For more information about Global Arts contact Regina Larkin, Manager of Education Programs, at regina.larkin@symphonyspace.org, (212) 864-1414 ext. 212.