Alfonso Ochoa is originally from Ciudad 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 10 years.
Anthony Blea began studying the violin at age 8 and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at age 11. While a student in Joan Murray’s Aptos Jr. High Orchestra, Anthony discovered the joy of playing chamber music, as well as having solo experience with an orchestra.
Upon completion of his preparatory music studies, Anthony traveled to New York City to continue his musical and academic enrichment at the Manhattan School of Music where he received his Bachelor’s degree. His formidable skill on the violin landed him work with many international legends such as Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Ray Charles, Boz Scaggs and Leonard Bernstein to name a few. Most notably Anthony has played with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Anthony’s 8-piece salsa band has been in existence for ten years and their debut CD has enjoyed critical acclaim. Anthony received his Master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, concentrating on String Quartet.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Armando Ibarra, Instrutor Baqueta, has over 20 years of training in Martial Arts. He has been studying for over a decade with Omulu Capoeira under the direction of the legendary Mestre Preguiça. Currently, he teaches multi-level youth and adult capoeira classes in San Francisco. He hopes to inspire a healthy lifestyle and confidence while introducing his students to various aspects of Brasilian culture such as language, music, singing, and acrobatics bridging the martial art with history and polyrythyms.
Eduardo Valadez Arenas
Mission Gráfica Coordinator
Eduardo Valadez Arenas is a Mexican-American Mixed Media Artist from Mexico City by way of the Coachella Valley. He is currently residing and working in the bay area. His art explores themes of diaspora, his Mexican-American heritage, and California street culture. His mixed-media works on paper and handmade panels contain elements of cartoon illustrations, sign painting, traditional printmaking techniques, and street art.
Outside of the studio, his work as an educator has led to collaborations with art-based organizations like Kala Arts Institute, Ryse Youth Center, Riverside Museum of Photography, Oakland School for the Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Centre International des Récollets Paris.
He Holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Community Arts / Printmaking From California College of the Arts and a Single Subject Teaching Credential From Otis College of Art and Design.
Fernando Martí is a printmaker, community architect, writer and poet based in San Francisco. His etchings, linocuts, screen prints, and constructions explore the clash of the Third World within the heart of Empire, and highlight the tension between inhabiting place / reclaiming culture, and building something transformative. He brings his formal training in architecture and urbanism to his public projects, including his altar ofrendas. Fernando studied architecture and urbanism at UC Berkeley, and has taught design studios at Berkeley and the University of San Francisco. Today, he works on housing issues as co-director of San Francisco’s Council of Community Housing Organizations. Originally from Ecuador, he has been deeply involved in San Francisco’s community struggles since the mid-90s, creating art for and with many local organizations, including the SF Print Collective, the Center for Political Education, PODER, and the SF Community Land Trust. His art and poetry can be found in an occasional ‘zine entitled Amor y Lucha and on his Facebook Notes. One of his biggest frustrations is keeping his houseplants happy. He can be contacted at el_compay_nando at yahoo dot com.
Graciela Acedo born and raised in Venezuela trained in Caracas, and at Boston Ballet with a Venezuelan government scholarship. Later she earned a Harkness Ballet Internship in New York. She has a BFA in performing arts, from Saint Mary’s University, a Certificate of Cuban syllabus, Methodology /Pedagogy from Ballet Nacional de Cuba as well as being a certified Progressing Ballet Technique teacher. Has twice been awarded with USF grants for teaching development purpose.
She has been teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area for over twenty years. Has co-
directed the summer programs for Pacific Dance Theater of San Francisco. Was
associated director of Western Ballet as well as founding dancer and associate director for the Mark Foehringer dance project. Taught company class for Oakland Ballet, Napoles Ballet, Dance Theater San Francisco and guest teacher for Tampa City Ballet, America’s Ballet, Geneva Conservatoire Populaire de Musique Danse et Theater in Switzerland and National Institute of Arts SXM in Saint Maarten.
Performed the classics with Ballet Teresa Carreño in Caracas Venezuela 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 such as
Judith Jamison, Ulises Dove, John Butler, Elisa Monte, Dennis Nahat, Choo San Goh,
Donald Mackayle, among others. Performed in South America, US, Europe, and Asia.
Former Oakland ballet dancer.
Héctor Lugo is a percussionist, singer, song-writer, and educator. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989 to pursue graduate studies in sociology at UC Berkeley. Shortly thereafter, he begun to perform with some of the great bands and artists in the local Latin, Jazz, and Afro-Caribbean music scenes, dedicating himself to what would become a lifelong of study and teaching of Latin American and Caribbean music, history, and culture.
Lugo has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists such as Bobby Céspedes and Conjunto Céspedes, Louie Romero and Grupo Mazacote, Modesto Cepeda and Cimiento the Puerto Rico, Luis “Chichito” Cepeda and the Los Cepeda Ensemble, Jackeline Rago and the Venezuelan Music Project, Larry Vuckovich, the John Santos Sextet, Salsa legend Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, Los Pleneros de la 21, Cuban son ensemble Pellejo Seco, Chuchito Valdés, Mono Blanco, Edgardo Cambón y Candela, and Zimbabwean traditional dance troupe The Chinyakare Ensemble, to name a few.
Lugo is the founder and director of the Latin-Roots band La Mixta Criolla, producing its debut album AfroTaíno (RoundWhirled records, 2011), and a founding member of the bomba ensemble Grupo Aguacero. He has written music for two plays — “Living in Spanish” and “Burnt American Dreams” — and numerous children’s and youth performances. His compositions and arrangements have been featured in the documentary film “Dolores,” about the life of the great labor organizer and feminist leader Dolores Huerta, and the acclaimed compilation “Salsa de la Bahía,” vol. 2 (Patois Records, 2015).
Lugo has designed, managed and implemented educational and cultural arts programs in collaboration with SFJAZZ, the San Francisco Symphony, Stern Grove Festival, Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, Oakland Youth Chorus, San Francisco Community Music Center, and the San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland Unified School Districts. He has also developed classes and workshops for children and youth at community centers such as La Peña Cultural Center, Mission Cultural Center, the San Francisco Boys and Girls Club, Youth Art Exchange, and Loco Bloco, among others. He is the founder and co-director of the Bay Area Bomba y Plena Workshop which since its creation in 2000 has promoted the appreciation, study and performance of Puerto Rican folkloric music through regular classes and workshops, master classes with visiting artists, concerts, class recitals, and music festivals. He is the founder and co-director of Las Quenepas Youth Ensemble, dedicated to the study and performance of traditional Puerto Rican bomba and plena music and dance, and has coordinated and led study trips to Puerto Rico for groups of children and youth from the Bay Area.
Lugo has done extensive research on Latin American history, politics and culture, with particular emphasis on the sociology and historical foundations of Latin-Caribbean music, literature and culture. He has lectured at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, Mills College, City College of San Francisco and Humboldt State University. Mr. Lugo has a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Literature from Haverford College, an M.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley with specializations in social theory and the political economy, history, and culture of Latin America, and has done extensive Ph.D. level coursework and research as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California at Berkeley’s Sociology Department. In his spare time he likes to read, cook, work with wood and travel.
Jesus Hernandez is a Chicano artist born and raised in Oakland, CA. He has been drawing and painting since a young age and received a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University in 2016. He works in multiple mediums including oil paint and printmaking, is inspired by urban surroundings, and has shown in various galleries in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area.
Jordan Joel is a multi-disciplinary artist based in San Francisco. After receiving a degree from Berkeley in Conservation Biology and Documentary Photography, Jordan has continued to pursue the arts as a medium of self-expression, therapeutic release, and storytelling. Their work deals with subjects ranging from sustainability and family tradition, to contemporary queer identity. Jordan’s classes focus on teaching technique, encouraging experimentation, and allowing for self-discovery through an improvisational, yet structured process.
Jorge graduated from SFSU with a B.A in Studio Arts and Art History. An experienced artist with focus on portraits, surrealism, market design, letter making, and color. Expanding his knowledge with different mediums has been important to his growth as an artist. Using personal experiences to influence his work has been a big part of his process as well. Growing up in rural areas with vandalism has inspired him to make art for the community in public spaces. Jorge has taught art classes in youth centers and am currently working in Foster City Elementary as a paraeducator assisting special education students with their educational growth. Influencing and helping others grow creatively and fundamentally has always been an interest. The intention of this linoleum class is to teach the printmaking method of Linoleum and help artists grow creatively and ethically.
Juan de Dios Soto
Juan de Dios Soto is a Peruvian dancer, musician, and founder of Tradicion Peruana Cultural Center, Juan de Dios Soto has taught and performed Cajon and Afro-Peruvian percussion since coming 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. 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, Carnaval SF and at many other Bay Area venues. In 2019 and 2021, Juan directed 2 exhibits entitled “De Cajon: Tocando la Historia” at Mission Cultural Center for Latino 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.
Maisa Duke was born in the America’s capital of the African Diaspora – Salvador, Bahia Brazil. As far back as she can remember dancing is what she enjoyed most. Maisa started entering and winning dance contests when she was 10 years old. Her ability to move her perfectly toned body to the complex, frenetic, polyrhythmic beats of samba music has never been done with such beauty and grace. Maisa immigrated to the U.S. in 1998. In 2000, she founded Energia do Samba Brazilian Dance Company. Since then Maisa has lived her dream of sharing Samba with the world!
Originally from Cuba, Manuel is a performer, teacher, choreographer and Director of Cuban Styles
of music and dance. Since coming to the United States of America in the year 2000, I have continue my art through teaching and performing both nationally and internationally. I have been teaching Cuban styles in numerous Universities, Cultural Centers, Schools, and Dance studios such as University of California, at Berkeley, Sacramento State University, Mission Cultural Center, and many others out of the Bay Area.
Born in Salvador, Brazil and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District, Metzi Henriquez is Artistic Director of Fogo Na Roupa performing company and Grupo Carnavalesco. She began her dance journey at San Francisco School of the Arts Dance Department where she studied under the direction of Elvia Marta and trained with artists such as Michelle Martin (Afro Haitian) and Reginald Savage (Jazz). After years training, performing and teaching in Eurocentric based dances, Metzi found inspiration in dances of the African Diaspora and became a student of Afro-Brasilian dance and folklore with Mestre Carlos Aceituno founder of Fogo Na Roupa. Her teaching repertoire consists of Step-in Out Dance Studio, SF Arts Education Residencies and guest artist workshops Oakland School of the Arts Savage Dance Summer Intensive, SF School of the Arts World Dance Department and New World Ballet.
Metzi‘s choreographies have been featured at Oakland Raiders Half times show, SF 49ers pre game show, Ethnic Dance Festival, World Arts West Rotunda Series and SF Symphony 100 year Celebration, among others. Her pride and joy is tending to the 30 year legacy of Mestre Carlos Aceituno, Fogo Na Roupa who under her direction has continued to win numerous Carnaval grand prizes and A Corazón del Barrio Award from Mission Cultural Center. She also holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology and has been a practicing therapist for over 15 years for immigrant youth and families in San Francisco.
Pablo Daniel Jimenez García
Pablo Daniel Jiménez García was born in Mexicali, Baja California Norte in 1997. Pablo is a dancer, teacher and creative director of El Espiritu Bailarin. Pablo‘s dance career began performing as a chambelan de honor for friends and family in his hometown of Santa Ana, California. There he joined Raíces de México OC, under the direction of Francisco Salinas, and continued to fall in love with folklorico.
Pablo is a graduate of Santa Ana College, UC Berkeley, and the SFUSD Pathway to Teaching program. Pablo is a first-grade dual immersion teacher in San Francisco and dances professionally with Ensambles Ballet Folklorico de San Francisco, under the direction of Zenon Barron.
In 2019, Pablo, along with Vanessa Sánchez, co-founded El Espíritu Bailarín, their own intergenerational dance troupe. That same year, Pablo began choreographing quinceañeras in the Bay Area. Pablo‘s intention is to create community and increase confidence and trust among dancers.
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.
Rebecca Cervantes has a B.A. in Politics and that is why she is a Dance Teacher. After working for a law firm after graduation, she found self-empowerment through Dance. Her goal is to pass that empowerment along to her students. She has been teaching Dance to youth and adults all over San Francisco for over 25 years. She has taught at Rhythm & Motion, The Marsh, MCCLA, The SF LGBT Center and countless schools throughout SFUSD. Her love of Dance started with Hip Hop & Creative Movement; but she studies, teaches and performs a wide variety of Dance forms; including Salsa, Merengue, Samba, Hip Hop and Creative Dance. She has been performing with and collaborating with MCCLA for years starting with Vanessa Mosqueda and Mixtiso in 2002. She is currently the Executive Director of Moving Beyond Productions, a nonprofit youth group that has won multiple awards in SF Carnaval. She is also the Director of The Marsh Youth Theater, where she helps get Teaching Artists into schools throughout SFUSD.
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.