For the 2012 pilot event ‘Dance Weekend’ Noel Hernandez performed an Afro-Cuban Orishas dance on Friday night and taught an Orishas class on Saturday. We are delighted to welcome Noel back in 2013.
Orishas are the spirit gods or divinities of a Cuban spiritual tradition that came from Africa as a result of the slave trade.
Nearly 1 million Africans from West and Central Africa were captured by Cuba’s Spanish colonists and brought to Cuba during the 16th through to the 19th centuries. As Cuba’s plantations expanded in the late 18th and 19th centuries, so did the slave trade. Most enslaved Africans in Cuba were Yoruba from Nigeria and so brought their culture, music, dance and beliefs with them.
The dances embody the physical characteristics and personalities of the orishas, spirits or divinities of this ancient spiritual tradition which originated with the Yoruba-speaking peoples of Nigeria and Benin.
Most of the dances are from the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria. These slaves were controlled by the Spanish and were forced to speak Spanish and convert to Christianity. In order to preserve their native religious traditions, the slaves gave their African dieties the names of Christian saints and thus continued to worship them. This religion is known as Santeria, and under disguise, many religious rituals, dances and musical traditions from Africa were preserved. Santeria is still practised in Cuba today.
Each of the Orishas has a specific dance or set of movements and music associated with them.
The Orishas are the emissaries of Olodumare or God almighty. They rule over the forces of nature and the endeavours of humanity. They recognise themselves and are recognised through their different numbers and colours which are their marks, and each has their own favourite foods and other things which they like to receive as offerings and gifts.
These beautiful dances are steeped in historical significance. The dances have the names of the Orishas:
Eleggua, Oggun, Oshun, Chango, Yemaya, Arara, Obatala, and many others
Tutor: Noel Hernandez
NOEL IS A HIGHLY TRAINED PROFESSIONAL DANCER AND CHOREOGRAPHER FROM REMEDIOS, CUBA, AND THE OFFICIAL PROFESSIONAL UK SALSA CHAMPION 2010.
He started dancing at the age of 5 and went on to perform throughout his own country with various dance troupes until he completed his professional teaching degree. He has trained several of Cubas highly acclaimed dancers, including the Cuban National Ballets’ Principal male dancer, Dany Miguel Hernandez Acosta, and has prepared hundreds of youngsters for the School of Performing Arts in Havana. He has also won an array of National Awards for his own dance performances, and for his own dance troupe ‘El Guije’. Noel has studied all types of Popular Cuban Rhythms such as Salsa, Mambo, Cha cha cha, Rumba, Pilon, Mozambique, Son, Danzon, Afro-Cuban Folklore, including Bachata, Reggaeton, Merengue, Samba and Tango. He settled in Inverness in November 2007 and recently moved to Bury, Greater Manchester where he continues to delight new students with his unique style of teaching.
His classes are fun, friendly and without pressure. All we ask you to do is relax and feel the music, and succumb to the Latin Magic!!