Latino Arts Festival celebrates music, dance and culture

Katie Pryor
Arts & Culture Editor
Lancaster has always been known for embracing diverse artistic, cultural and musical expression, especially in the downtown area. With the inclusion of the Latino Arts Festival, that diversity only becomes much more lively and rich. This week’s Latino Arts Festival will be going on at the Ware Center, and promises to bring a vast array of musicians, bands and plays that celebrate the Latin culture.

Grupo Fuego Dance Company is the oldest salsa dance company in Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com)
Grupo Fuego Dance Company is the oldest salsa dance company in Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com)

The Latino Arts Festival will kick off at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, or First Thursday Latino, the monthly networking gathering for diverse professionals. Attendees will be able to enjoy a performance from Fuego Dance Company of Philadelphia, followed by a salsa lesson. Grupo Fuego Dance Company is the oldest & largest salsa dance studio & performance team in the city of Philadelphia with dancers ranging from 5 to 75 years old. This evening is sponsored in part by Rosario Caminero Latino Celebration Committee.

The Marko Marcinko Latin Jazz Quintet will perform in a special Latin Jazz in the Sky. (Photo courtesy of scrantonjazzfestival.org)
The Marko Marcinko Latin Jazz Quintet will perform in a special Latin Jazz in the Sky. (Photo courtesy of scrantonjazzfestival.org)

For First Friday in Lancaster, The Marko Marcinko Latin Jazz Quintet will deliver a lively mix of Latin and Brazilian jazz flavors at 7:30 p.m. as a special Latino Jazz in the Sky performance. The quintet was formed in 2007 and features conga master Bob Velez, guitarist Bill Washer, bassist Paul Rostock, saxophonist/flutist Tom Hamilton, and drummer/percussionist Marko Marcinko. Each member has a long history with the Latin jazz tradition, from touring and performing with the likes of Latin jazz legends and multi Grammy award winning performers such as, Tito Puente, Machito, Arturo Sandoval, Gato Barbieri, Charlie Sepulveda, and Paquito D’Rivera.

"Yo Soy Latina" chronicles the struggles of Latina women. (Photo courtesy of www.mscc.edu)
“Yo Soy Latina” chronicles the struggles of Latina women. (Photo courtesy of www.mscc.edu)

Linda Nieves-Powell, a writer, director, producer, and photographer will present her award-winning play, “Yo Soy Latina,” on Saturday, March 7 at 4 p.m. Nieves-Powell tells detailed stories about the many faces of Latina Women. “Yo Soy Latina” is based on six different monologues from six different women, chosen from interviews with 25 Latina women. This presentation is sponsored by Linda Holman Marcks. This play contains mature content, and while the event is free, tickets are required.

(Photo courtesy of articles.mcall.com)
Hector Rosado’s Salsa Band is made up of 11 musicians. (Photo courtesy of articles.mcall.com)

The Ware Center will also host Hector Rosado’s Salsa Band with Celeste M. Polanco, with a social hour at 7:30 p.m. and a performance at 8:30 p.m., on Saturday. The strictly salsa classic band consists of 11 professional musicians from the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley area. This high standard band is inspired by the gratification of the audience as the music motivates them to get up and dance. They perform a variety of music consisting of Salsa, Merengue, Bachata and Latin Jazz.

Tickets cost $25 (Fri) and $15 (Sat) for general admission and may be purchased online at MUTicketsOnline.com, at the Student Memorial Center Ticket Office (Room 103, 21 S. George St., Millersville), at the Ware Center (42 N. Prince St., Lancaster) or by calling the ticket office at 717-871-7600. Ticket offices are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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