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La Liga de Las Americas

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrates Latino heritage


By Arooj Ashraf

La Prensa Cleveland Correspondent


Cleveland: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hosted its 8th annual celebration of Festival Herencia Latina on Sunday, August 26, 2007, from noon to 4:00PM. The event attracted nearly 5,000 people to the Museum to experience the rich Latino culture through musical performances, dance, and vibrant dance costumes. Entry was free for the festival, but tickets were required to view the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibitions.


Visitors got to enjoy fabulous performances by the Ballet Folklórico Imagenes Mexicanas, El Mostro Saboriqua y Su Grupo, Los Boys Banda Dura, and Rimo Y Raza Dance Company. Display tables showed arts and crafts from Perú, Colombia, and Ecuadór.

“We hope this event is viewed as the kick-off celebration for the Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Ruthie Brown, Director of Community Programming. The festival is part of the museum’s seven event cultural series that celebrates American diversity. 


“This is the museum’s way of celebrating all ethnicities through music.” She said the event grows every year and more people attend as the word spreads. Brown said as the Latino community grows, the museum wants to pay homage to its contributions to the cultural society.


“We want to put a positive face on the community,” said Gilberto Peña, Director of Ritmo Y Raza Dance Company, and community organizer. He energized the crowd by performing in flamenco, hip-hop dance with Ritmo Y Raza Dance Company.


Peña said he was very excited that the Toledo-based Imagenes Mexicanas agreed to perform at the event. He considered it a sign that the annual celebration is growing.


Peña informed La Prensa ‘the aim for the event is to makes people smile, get them to dance, and enjoy the richness and cultural diversity of Latin America.’ “We want this event to be a huge success so we can keep coming back to celebrate our heritage here every year,” he said.


The Ballet Folklórico Imagenes Mexicanas performed regional dances from six Mexican states: Nayarít, Chiapas, Veracruz, Nuevo León, Guerrero, and Jalisco. Their elaborate costumes reflect the regions, giving insights to the geography and economy of each.  The group has 37 members ranging in age from 4 to 24 years-old. The audience enjoyed the array of performances, often falling in step with the beat.

Imagenes Mexicanas travels to many parts of the Midwest and will be performing on
Sept. 18, 2007, at Max and Ermas in Perrysburg, Ohio’s Levis Commons. 


The Los Boys Banda Dura provided live music and served as the back drop of an impromptu salsa competition among passionate amateur dancers. Winners were chosen by audience appreciation.

Marleny Franco, medical student, and Steven Anthony, computer programmer, were crowned Salsa King and Queen 2007.


Marleny dances as a hobby and informed La Prensa that she enjoyed the festival but the dancing wiped her out.


Soledad Vásquez heard about the event a day before and brought her 3 year-old son Luis to enjoy the music and dances. “I wish there were more people,” she said. Vásquez enjoyed the array of performances and said food samplings from Latin American countries would have added another dimension to event.


To learn more about cultural events taking place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame visit: www.rockhall.com/calendar/







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