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.
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.
Diana was born and raised in Nicaragua where she did most of her dance training. She trained in many styles ranging from Latin American rhythms, as part of her daily lifestyle, to Jazz, contemporary and Modern techniques.
Diana left her country to pursue her dance career in L.A and has continued in the Bay Area where she is now directing a Nicaraguan folkloric troupe “Chavalos Danzas x Nicaragua.” She also trains and studies Afrocuban folklore being a member of Arenas Dance Company directed by the amazing Susana Arenas Pedroso.
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.
Bio coming soon!
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.
Latin percussion legend Louie Romero first came to salsa fan’s attention on recordings with Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz and on dozen’s of other classic Fania record releases.
Now living in San Francisco, Romero leads Grupo Mazacote, one of the areas most respected Salsa and Latin Jazz ensembles. He and his group just released an album, Timbalero.
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.
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 Carnavalesco and teaches weekly classes at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.
With 20+ years of dedication to the art of Flamenco, Mizuho Sato has trained from the ground up and has the “know-how” to educate, inspire, and lead virtually any ensemble of performers into a new world of dance. Her choreographies are based on her balletic skill and trained body, inspired by the great maestros proceeding her, and most importantly the spirit that resides within true flamenco.
Born in Iwate, Japan and started classical ballet at the age of three, and studied at the Royal Ballet Academy of England. She first encountered Flamenco at Sophia (Jochi) University in Tokyo, and studied in Seville and Madrid with prestigious instructors like Manolo Marin, Maria del Mar Verranga, Javier Cruz, Alicia Marquez, Cristobal Reyes, la China, Manuel Liñan, Familia Farruco in Seville, from Marco Flores, Concha Jareño, David Paniagua, and Manuel Liñan. Sato has received awards from the Japanese Flamenco Association and the Ambassador of Spain.
Sato started teaching Flamenco in Tokyo and in her hometown, Iwate. In 2004 she joined Guitarist Jose Tanaka’s Soniquéte Flamenco and started teaching in Torrance, California. Since then, she has performed at The Fountain Theatre in Hollywood, Alegria in Long Beach, El Cid on Sunset, and many more venues, as well as the first annual Los Angeles Flamenco Festival in the company of Briseyda Zarate and in Jose Tanaka’s group as a soloist. Locally she regularly dances at venues as Teleferics in Walnut creek, Rhythmics in Oakland, Thirsty Bear in San Francisco, and the San Francisco Movement Arts Festival at the Grace Cathedral. In 2010 through 2014, working locally and outside of states, she had opportunities to work with Yaelisa Caminos Flamenco, Manuel de la Malena, Juan Ogalla, David Paniagua, and Maestro Jose Galvan. In January 2015, she organized maestro Joaquin Grilo’s workshop in LA and held another workshop of Isaac de Los Reyes, both of whom she also performed with. She also shared stages with Pastola Galvan, Juana de la Pipa, and many more talented artists.
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.
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.
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.
Tara Cartagena has been a performing artist/instructor with Fogo Na Roupa performing company for over 10 years. She has extensive teaching experience with youth and is trained in Brazilian Dance, Jazz and Hip-Hop. Some Performance highlights include the yearly SF Carnaval Grand Parade, SF Ethnic Dance Festival, SF Symphony’s 100th Anniversary, and the Rotunda Dance series at City Hall. In February 2019, Tara had the opportunity to train in Brazil with some of the top passistas and funkeiras, and also paraded with two prestigious samba schools—G.R.E.S. Algeria Da Zona Sul and G.R.E.S. Imperio Serrano, in the Carnaval Parade in Rio De Janeiro.
Vanessa Mosqueda-Velez was born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District and has lived in Jalisco, Mexico. She has a degree as a Performing Arts and Dance Teacher, and was certified in Ballet under the direction of Sue Conrad and Theresa Gensler. Vanessa Mosqueda-Velez has been a dance teacher for over 25 years, and taught Rhythm & Motion at ODC for 13 years, and at the MCCLA for 12 years. She is the Artistic Director and founder of Mixtiso, a Latino dance company combining various musical and movement styles: Indigenous, Afro, Mexican, Salvadoreño, and Urbano Hip-hop for over 20 years. Mixtiso performs all throughout the Bay Area, most notably for Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) and San Francisco Carnaval. Mixtiso has competed and won 1st place under the Children/Youth category in Carnaval SF.
Vanessa Mosqueda-Velez continues to do extensive collaborations with artists and community centers from all over the bay area and the world, having helped produce performances, exhibitions, and theater productions. She has traveled to Spain and Cuba where she taught dance workshops, and travels continuously to Mexico teaching Hip-Hop, Samba, and Vinyasa yoga classes. Mosqueda-Velez is also certified in Bhakti Vinyasa Yoga and professionally teaches yoga. Her Yoga classes include advanced yoga, senior chair yoga, and she has also led several body conditioning classes all over the bay area.
Zoe Nika Reidy-Watts first learned screen-printing at the Young Artists Program at the San Francisco Art Institute and is now majoring in studio art with a focus in print making and sculpting at San Francisco State University. Reidy-Watts has interned at SF camera works and SWIM gallery. Zoe has also been apart of the Tea Roots Empower vs. Exploitation group show. She believes that there is power in learning how to express yourself creatively as well as be able to analyze your art in a way that can help oneself heal. Art is both healing for the artist who create it and for viewers who can relate to, or are moved by, the art created. Zoe now teaches screen-printing workshops at Mission Gráfica on Wednesdays from 6-9pm.