Alfonso Ochoa is originally from Cuidad Juarez, Chihuaha, Mexico. He is a musician, painter, and community leader. Ochoa has lived in San Francisco for over 60 years and has been fundamental in increasing the visibility of Latino culture in San Francisco. Born and raised to a family of musicians, his father was a pianist and music teacher. Ochoa has been teaching Piano/Keyboard for over 25 years at the center.
As a long time resident of San Francisco, Ochoa has helped establish various musical venues in San Francisco. He served as Musical Director for over 25 years at Club Elegante, now Club Malibu, overseeing their special performances. During this time, he played alongside various musical legends as they made their tour stops in San Francisco, including, Juan Gabriel, Joan Sebastian, Perez Prado, Isela Vega, and many more. He has also gone on tour with El grand Combo de Puerto Rico, Los Angeles Negros, and Los Graduados de Colombia. Ochoa has also served as the Director of The Comite Mexicano Civico Patriotico and the Cinco de Mayo festival for over 25 years and Musical Director for the Magic Theater for ten years.
Alyssa Aviles was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She grew up in the city’s Mission District, a vibrant, cultural mecca that has inspired her creative path. Aviles earned a BFA in printmaking at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts
Aviles has given printmaking workshops and classes at the Mexican Museum and MCCLA, curated several exhibitions and participated in various collaborative events. In 2013 Aviles was an artist in residence at Mission Grafica. She is currently an in-house artist at Artillery, an artist run collective in the Mission District.
Armando Ibarra started his martial arts training at the age of 4 and has been training Capoeira for 10 years. Armando has a background in teaching since he was 16. He has experience teaching people of all ages, but has largely placed his focus on the youth.
Armando has been assisting with teaching youth classes at local parks and recreation centers under his instructors. He is no stranger to the MAS program as he has grown up in the Mission District and has taught youth in the Mission Cultural Center. He believes that training Capoeira can truly change a person through discipline while introducing a new language, culture, and other skills that one may learn practicing it.
Bianca Coleman has been dancing since the age of 7 when she began studying classical ballet at the SF Academy of Ballet. By the age of 9 she began studying and performing Brazilian dance and since then discovered that dance was her true passion. She participated in SF Carnaval for 11 years beginning in 1987 and performed and choreographed with various Brazilian dance companies in the Bay Area. She has been a choreographer for Latin Dance Grooves’ award winning Carnaval contingent since 2009.
For 14 years, Bianca has been studying Afro-Cuban dance and is a founding member of Emese: MOTAD, an Oakland based dance collective founded 1998. Bianca has 20 years of teaching experience and has been teaching Latin Dance Grooves at the MCCLA since fall 2008.
Although Buddy’s M.A. is in German Literature (SFSU), his initial attraction to visual expression was an extension of turning dry grammar into fluid language. In 1984 he began taking classes in drawing and painting at the Volkshochschule Schoeneberg (adult night classes), offered by professors from the Akademie der Kuenste (Berlin Academy of Art) while studying Slavic Languages at the Freie Universitaet Berlin. He exhibited both oil and acrylic paintings at galleries in Berlin at that time.
Upon arrival in San Francisco in 1989 he continued classes in oil painting and drawing at SF City College, and soon became a “regular” at the MCCLA drawing sessions and has exhibited figurative charcoal, ink, & pastel work at Open Studios and café galleries.
Talavera-Ballón is a Peruvian-born painter based in San Francisco, CA. He skillfully captures the essence of ordinary people’s lives and their surroundings across diverse regions and cultures of the Americas. He explores themes that highlight important social and cultural aspects of the people and places he has encountered. His work is also a tribute to immigrants like himself who left their home countries in search of new horizons.
Talavera-Ballon has exhibited in several art galleries, museums and universities across Perú, Chile, Argentina and the US including the U.S. Embassy, Lima, Peru; Museo Qoricancha, Cuzco; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Cuzco; the Peruvian Embassy, Washington, DC; the Latino Art Museum, Pomona, CA; Galería de la Raza, San Francisco, CA, Holy Names University, Oakland, CA, and UC Berkeley. He has has been selected for the San Francisco Arts Commission 2015-2016 Pre-Qualified Artist Pool and as a finalist in ArtSpan’s 2015 San Francisco Open Studios Guide Cover Competition. He has also participated in several live painting events such as Friday Nights at the de Young Museum and Art Beats SF, and his work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Arequipa, Peru. A feature on Univision of his latest painting series “Mujeres Luz” recently received three awards including an Emmy, a New America Media Ethnic Media Award, and an Excellence in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for the Arts, Culture, and Entertainment category.
Dora Luz Sanabria
Dora Luz Sanabria M. A. Is a credentialed Creative Arts teacher with the State of California who has taught older adults and adults with disabilities in the Oakland Unified School District and Senior Centers throughout the East Bay. She has also taught children using art, dance, storytelling, music, song and art-therapy for personal growth, use of cognitive skills, joy and healing. She has brought cultural awareness into her classrooms, especially with the art forms of sculpture, paper-cuts and flower making to enhance her students’ understanding and meaning of Altars for the Day of the Dead festivities.
As a performing artist, Sanabria has used many cultural dance modes to perform in many venues, including MCC cultural parades. She works diligently and creatively with the Spanish speaking community supporting art and music/choral events and currently teaches art at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.
Eugene King (Professor Espantalho) was born in San Francisco and raised in Mexico. He returned to San Francisco in 1994 when he began training with Mestre Preguiça. He began teaching capoeira in 1996, and has traveled the world for capoeira to locations including Mexico, Canada, and Brazil. In addition to teaching at the MCCLA, Espantalho also teaches in Concord at Omulu Capoeira Concord and Symbolic Dance Studio in San Francisco. For work, Espantalho teaches physical education and dance for the Mount Diablo Unified School district. For fun, he enjoys dancing, making capoeira instruments, and spending time with his daughter.
Graciela Acedo was born and raised in Venezuela. She has been teaching for over twenty years in the San Francisco bay area. Graciela was trained in Caracas and at the Boston Ballet with a government scholarship and a Harkness Ballet Internship in New York. She has a BFA in performing arts and a Certificate of Cuban syllabus, Methodology/Pedagogy. She has also been awarded twice with a USF grant. Graciela has performed the classics with the Venezuelan Ballet, Teresa Carreño sharing the stage with, Rudolf Nureyev, Fernando Bujones and Julio Boca. Former principal dancer of Ballet Nuevo Mundo de Caracas where she worked with choreographers Judith Jamison, Ulises Dove, John Butler, Elisa Monte, Dennis Nahat, Choo San Goh, Donald Mackayle, among others. She has performed in South America, US, Europe and Asia. Graciela is a former Oakland ballet dancer and teacher.
Graciela is a faculty member at USF, San Francisco School of the Arts, Ayako, Berkeley ballet, Diablo (pre-professional program). She created the ballet curriculum for Dance Attack, Western Ballet former Associated Director, Pacific Dance Theater of SF (summer programs Assistant director), Napoles Ballet and DTSF company teacher. Graciela has also been a guest teacher at America’s Ballet in Florida, and Ballet de las Americas in Venezuela. She has also judged numerous ballet competitions. Find out more: gracielaacedodance-ballet.org
Jose Rivera began his studies of Afro-Latin music and culture in his native Lima, Peru. He encompasses various forms of folkloric rhythms of Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean.
Jose Rivera is currently directing Fogo Na Roupa Grupo Carnavalesco Cultural dedicated to the legacy of founder, Mestre Carlos Aceituno. The award winning Fogo Na Roupa consists of a performing company and a Grupo Carnavalesco (Carnaval Contingent) of upto 200 participants of all ages, and backgrounds.
Juan de Dios Soto
Peruvian dancer, musician, and founder of Tradicion Peruana Cultural Center, Juan de Dios Soto has taught and performed Cajon and Afro-Peruvian percussion since came to the United States in 1991 from Lima, Peru. As part of his cultural traditions Juan was raised playing the Cajon with his family and community. Today he is the musical director of Jaranon y Bochinche dance Performance Company and teaches classes to students and musicians throughout the Bay Area. Juan has led his group to participate in San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Theater Artaud, Encuentro Popular, and at many other Bay Area venues. Juan also created and directed two well received dance and music performances, “Windows to the World” and “Raices Negras”.
Juan teaches Cajon classes and workshops to all ages throughout the Bay Area, at schools, Universities, community and cultural centers. His dynamic teaching style and passion for sharing his cultural roots and music comes has inspired students to study with Juan and develop their percussive skills under his direction.
Kerensa DeMars was captivated by the art of Flamenco while earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the San Francisco Art Institute. With a background in Tribal Style and Butoh dance, her passion for Flamenco led her to Madrid in 1997 where she caught the eye of the renowned world music group Radio Tarifa and toured with them as a featured dancer through 2003. In those six years she continued intensive Flamenco studies with some of Spain’s foremost Flamenco artists including the great maestro Toni ‘El Pelao’. Upon returning to San Francisco in 2004 Kerensa became artistic director of the Flamenco Room, a weekly Flamenco show now in its eighth year.
Kerensa has performed with Bay Area Flamenco companies including: Theatre Flamenco, Caminos Flamencos, Flamenco Live, Dance Ensemble, and she performed in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. In 2010 Kerensa received a grant from the Azahar Dance Foundation to present ZAHARA, a fusion of Flamenco and Moroccan music and dance at the Cowell Theater and the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts.
Lydia is a choreographer, dancer, and co-founder of the Tradicion Peruana Cultural Center. She grew up in Lima, Peru. Lydia Soto has taught and performed Afro-Peruvian dance since came to the United States in 1993. Lydia comes from a very talented family. She started dancing in Peru from a very early age in schools, colleges, and communities. Today Lydia is the choreographer-director of Jaranon y Bochinche dance performance company. Lydia also teaches classes to students of different ages throughout the Bay Area.
Lydia has led her group to participate in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Theater Artaud, Encuentro Popular, and at many other Bay Area venues. Lydia also was part of “Windows to the World” and “Raices Negras”, which are two well-received dance and music performances in the Bay Area.
Born in the America’s capital of the African Diaspora, Salvador, Bahia Brazil and as far as she can remember, dancing is what Duke enjoyed most. She started entering and winning dance contests when her was 10 years old. she immigrated to the U.S. in 1998. she has been teaching dance for over 10 years at MCCLA and in USA. In 2000, she founded Energia do Samba Dance Company. and was crowned the Queen of S.F Carnaval in 2002. Her dream is to share Samba with the world.
Duke has performed at many celebrity functions, including Robin Williams’ 50th birthday and events for the late Christopher Reeves, and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown at City Hall, Warriors basketball team, San Francisco Giants games, Academy of Sciences in S.F., California Music World in Oakland, Ethnic Dance Festival, The Queen Mary in L.A, for Pele, The Most Famous Soccer Player in The World, and many, many other events. and today many people and friends all call her The Samba Queen Maisa Duke.
Manuel Suarez is a performer, teacher, choreographer, and director of Cuban styles of music and dance. He began studying music at the ‘Escuela de Arte’ in Cuba at six years old, at the age of ten, he began to study dance technique via modern dance as well as folkloric and Cuban popular dance. After high school, he continued dance and music studies at the Universidad Pedagógica.
It was during this time that Manuel had the opportunity to perform, instruct, and create choreography and music for some of the most renowned national and international festivals held in as well as outside of Cuba. He also had the opportunity to be part of a different music and dance troops which resulted in the participation of a myriad of festivals, such as Festival de la Danza Folclórica, Weimilere, and other international festivals in Spain, Italy, Denmark, and others.
Manuel was born in Oriente, Cuba. He moved to Havana where he continued his dance education and studied at the Universidad de la Habana. In 1998, he founded his own dance and music company, 7 Potencias where he was the artistic director. Since coming to the USA in 2000, he has continued his art through teaching and performing both nationally and internationally.
Manuel has been teaching Cuban styles in numerous universities, cultural centers, schools and dance studios such as University of California at Berkeley, Sacramento State University, San Francisco State University, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, Berkeley High School, Alice Arts Center, No Sweat Dance Studio and many others outside of the Bay Area.
Marisa Castillo has been teaching classical ballet for close to 15 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a native Californian, Marisa began her dance training in the East Bay studying the R.A.D. syllabus and performing in local musical theater productions. Seeking an in-depth approach to understand and master technique, she trained in the Vaganova Russian Syllabus of Classical Ballet under Karen Morell. Wishing to understand the principles behind movement and ballet, she became a dedicated student of Augusta Moore, a Feldenkrais practitioner, and movement expert. She furthered her dance studies in the Certificate program at the Ailey School in New York and earned a B.A. in Dance from San Francisco State University. Marisa has performed with Peninsula Ballet Theater, North Coast Dance, Santa Clara Ballet, and Columbia City Ballet. After returning from New York, Marisa focused her attention on teaching. Marisa has had the incredible fortune of learning the art of teaching ballet through a somatic lens from Augusta Moore. She furthered her somatic education with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, creator of Body-Mind Centering® in experimental anatomy for dance as well as completed coursed towards becoming a Somatic Movement Educator. Teaching credits include ODC Dance Commons, Stanford University, University of San Francisco, Mobu Dance Studio and Shawl-Anderson Dance Center. Marisa enjoys sharing the love of dance with students of all ages.
Marsha Shaw received her MFA in printmaking in 2007 at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She has lectured and taught courses in bookmaking and printmaking at California College of the Arts, San Francisco Center for the Book, Museum of Children’s Art, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, Richmond Art Center.
Shaw manages Mission Grafica, the print studio at MCCLA and is an adjunct faculty member at De Anza College teaching drawing and design. Shaw’s prints and artist’s books have been exhibited both nationally and internationally.
Having grown up in San Francisco and the Mission community in particular, Mayela has studied dance with several groups including Loco Bloco, ABADA Capoeira, Girl Brigade, Aguas da Bahia and Fogo Na’Roupa. She has also had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Brazil where she was able to perform and study dance with several well-known Masters. While she loves all dance, Mayela has focused on Afro Brazilian dance and culture and has spent over 10 years studying and learning from masters in Brazil and in the United States.
Ms. Henriquez is a graduate of San Francisco’s School of the Arts Dance Department with extensive training in Modern Jazz Blues, Ballet, Jazz,Modern, Pilates and Dance Kinesiology. After years of formal and classical training, Metzi found inspiration in Afro-Latin dances and began training in Afro-Brasilian dance and folklore with Mestre Carlos Aceituno at Mission Cultural Center and performing with Fogo Na Roupa performing company.
Currently Henriquez is co-artistic director and choreographer of Fogo Na Roupa Grupo Carn avalesco and teaches weekly classes at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.
Nora Olivera has been preserving, sharing, and cultivating the tradition of Argentine tango for over 40 years. After graduating with a Master of Dance at the National School of Dance in Buenos Aires, her early career included joining the Argentina Folk Ballet and forming a dance partnership with the company’s Artistic Director, Raul Dinzelbacher.
After traveling and teaching extensively across the globe, Nora moved to San Francisco, CA where she co-founded the Bay Area Tango Association and partnered with Bob Moretti to launch Nora’s Tango Week. She participated as a judge in the Official Argentine Tango USA Championships in 2011 and 2012, currently teaches classes in the Bay Area, and is producing Nora’s Tango Weekend now in its 19th year which remains one of the most preeminent tango festivals in North America.
Bio coming soon!
Pablo Daniel Jimenez García
Pablo Daniel Jimenez García joins us at the MCCLA as a folklore teacher. Pablo’s intention is to create community and raise confidence in communal spaces. Pablo enjoys his time working alongside young artists of our community. Crossing the border from Mexicali to Calexico with nothing more but his childhood, traveling between families and futures, and learning from customs and artistic practices, Pablo explores the movement that our immigrant people have expressed since colonization, and the seeds rooted in resistance.
Pablo studies sociology, social work, and dance at UC Berkeley. While also forming part of Ensembles Ballet Folklorico de San Francisco. Pablo focuses his work on the possibilities of dance. He dances with love and resistance to create a world of wisdom and uses his art as an avenue of expression that belongs to all of us.
Pablo Daniel Jimenez García nos acompaña en el centro como maestro de folklore. Con intención de crear comunidad y confianza en sus espacios, Pablo disfruta de su tiempo con los artistas jóvenes de nuestra comunidad. Cruzando la frontera de Mexicali a Calexico con nada mas que su niñez, viajando entre familias y futuros, y aprendiendo de nuestras costumbres y practicas artísticas, Pablo explora el movimiento que nuestra gente inmigrante a expresado desde la colonización, y sus semillas en la resistencia.
Pablo estudia la sociología, el trabajo social, y la danza en UC Berkeley. Mientras también formando parte de Ensambles Ballet Folklorico de San Francisco. Con gran amor y resistencia para el baile, Pablo enfoca su trabajo en las posibilidades de la danza, como el mundo de sabiduría y la avenida de expresión que nos pertenece a nosotras.
Rahul Doraiswami was born and raised in the Bay Area, has been a member of the its break-dancing scene for 8 years. He represents Hybrid Crew out of San Jose, California and Weirdside out of Boston, Massachusetts/ Berkeley, CA and is competitive in the Bay Area and throughout the country.
Rahul fell in love with the breaking as a sub-culture during his undergrad at Berkeley and helped to preserve open practice spaces there after a historic practice spot had been taken down. His goal with the open sessions on Monday nights is to create a community space where individuals and crews can come to hone their craft.
Aside from training to become a better dancer, Rahul believes that preserving these spaces for bboys and bgirls is important to preserve the culture that has given so much to him.
Bio coming soon!
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.
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 Tradicion, 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 playing 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.
Suzanne Cortez, Music Instructor, has performed with World Renowned musicians such as Ritchie Ray and Bobby Cruz, Karl Perrazo (Santana). Chepito Areas (formerly with Santana, Latin Rock Hall of Fame, and Michael Carabello (formerly with Santana). She has also played with Pharaoh Sanders who’s performed with (John Coltrane) she has also performed with Francisco Aquabella of (Malo) and has played with Pete and Sheila Escovedo. She is known “To keep the music going.” She leads her own Orquesta Adelante, the Mission District’s own.
She brings her 30 years of music experience to the MCCLA. Suzanne has led choirs and ensembles and has taught many youths and adults to sing and play instruments that have not had any musical knowledge or experience.
Temistocles Fuentes Betancourt
Temistocles Fuentes Betancourt (Temi) has over 35 years’ experience as a principal dancer, regisseur, professor and choreographer with the Ballet Folklorico de Oriente. This company is the oldest folkloric company in Cuba. In Santiago de Cuba, he also served as regisseur for Ballet Folkloric Cutumba, Director of Conjunto Folklorico Kazumbi, Professor of Salsa at Ateneo Cultural Antonio Bravo Correoso and Choreographer of the youth Carnaval group, “Los Chicos Alegres de Veguita de Galos.”
Since coming to the US, Betancourt has appeared in “Oyuoro” a folkloric performance in New York City and choreographed for the Cuba Caribe Festival in San Francisco. He currently teaches at Dance Mission, the San Francisco Park & Recreation Department, and the YMCA.
Bio coming soon!
Vanessa Mosqueda Velez was born and raised in San Francisco (Mission District) and lived in Jalisco, Mexico. She is certified in Ballet, Ballroom dancing, Ethnic Afro-Latino cultural dances, as-well-as Vinasaya Bhakti Yoga. She has been a dance teacher for 23 years and the Artistic Director/founder for Mixtiso, a Latin Hip Hop dance company for 16 years that performs all over the bay area, especially for Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) and the San Francisco Carnaval. Vanessa taught at the MCCLA for 12+ years and is returning to teach ‘Mixtiso’ after 10 years. She has taught at Rhythm & Motion/ODC for 13 years.
Vanessa has been Dance Director for many elementary schools in San Francisco for the last 15 years in production performances for student dance recitals and Ballroom Dance for Fall/Spring festivals. She has traveled to Spain and Cuba where she taught dance workshops, and travels continuously to Mexico teaching Cumbia, Samba, and Vinasaya yoga classes.