Archive for Cuban

International Ballet Competition

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, Latin America, Mother Africa, NEWS, North America, Oceania with tags , , , , on June 11, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Andile Ndlovu, of South Africa, wows watching reporters with a series of pirouettes and an abrupt statuette ending as he prepares for the USA International Ballet Competition.

Ndlovu is a 22 year old apprentice at the Washington Ballet. He will compete with over 100 dancers from 31 countries. He said,

“I’ve never competed in an American completion. I want to come here and do my best. I don’t want to be at the bottom.”

This competition launched Cuban-born Jose Manuel Carreno’s career with the American Ballet, as well as many others. The competition offers medals, cash awards, company contracts and scholarships to deserving dancers. One year contract from Miami City Ballet, Ballet San Jose, Columbia (S.C.) City Ballet, and Kansas City Ballet are being offer this year.

The competition will take place in Jackson, Mississippi, USA. June 12-27.  Judges from Australia; South Africa; Spain; Russia; and nine other countries have the difficult task of choosing the winners.

Get added to their mailing list to be updated on the USA IBC!

Afro-Cuban Music

Posted in CULTURE, Latin America, North America with tags , , , on May 23, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Afro-Cuban jazz celebrates a collective musical history. Through its percussive beat, it unites ragtime, blues, swing, and the various grooves of Cuban music. It proclaims our shared musical heritage.” – Wynton Marsalis

Afro-Cuban jazz is an African Cuban style of jazz that became popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s. African American jazz musicians blended their music with the music of Latin music traditions of North, South, and Central America to create Afro-Cuban jazz.

Dizzy Gillespie, an African American trumpeter, bandleader, and composer; and Chano Pozo, a Cuban percussionist, singer, and dancer created a form of Latin jazz called Cubop.


Other musicians such as Roberto Santamaria have extended the sounds of Cubop to a Latin funk sound. Listen to the transitions of the cubop by Roberto Santamaria.

Cuban History of Slavery

Posted in HISTORY, Latin America with tags , , on April 24, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

The Cuban population has an estimated 63 to 70 percent African heritage. When Christopher Columbus made his “discovery” Cuba was thought to be part of North America. In 1513, four Africans were brought to Cuba as slaves. From 1517 to 1726 kidnapped Africans were brought to Cuba in large numbers for the purpose of slavery.  Mainly, the enslaved Africans were free laborers in the gold mines.

In 1526, slaves were granted the right to purchase their freedom under the Cedula real (royal writ). The first slave uprising took place in 1533 at the Jobabo mines. Four slaves fought and killed Spanish soldiers at the mines. The slaves’ heads were removed and put on display to ease colonists’ fears and discourage more revolts.

It did not stop the rebellion. In 1538, slaves teamed with French pirates and burned the city of Havana. In 1682, Blacks were not allowed asylum in the Church, nor were they allowed to sing funeral masses. The struggle between the Spanish crown, Christian colonists, and the African slaves continued. In 1687, Cuban priest were ordered by the Papal (Pope), to covert African beliefs to the Catholic faith.

In support of the successful sugar production, in 1789, King Charles III issued a codex for slaves to “toil” in Cuban fields from the age of 17 to the age of 60. Slaves were to be fed, clothe, and instructed in Catholicism.

In 1806, Africans founded an organization to promote African identify and religion. Matanzas AfroCuban cabildo members bought the freedom of other slaves.

Slave revolts continued until 1832.  At that time there were over 287,000 slaves in Cuba.