Who we are:
Omo Aché Cuban Cultural Arts is an organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and educating the general public about the richness of Cuban culture, especially its historical African legacy through dance, songs, storytelling, and performing arts.
What we do:
Omo Aché offers a variety of services in the form of classes, workshops, lectures, and performances to public and private educational, artistic & entertainment venues.
CLASSES, WORKSHOPS, & LECTURES
Music and Dance classes & workshops, as well as academic Lecture/Demonstrations are taught and/or presented by Master Cuban Folklorist, Dancer, & Percussionist, Juan Carlos Blanco, and by members of Omo Aché's performing arts company, made up of Cuban and local artists dedicated to the ethnographic study of traditional Afro-Cuban cultural arts. This variety of services are offered to the general public as well as private groups, individuals, and organizations.
Omo Aché Afro-Cuban Music & Dance Co. offers audiences a journey through the evolution of Cuban culture from its African roots to today's most popular urban expressions. This performing arts company presents regularly in universities, colleges, K-12 schools, various arts festivals, & cultural and community events throughout California. Most recently Omo Aché performed at Watt's Tower's 31st Annual Day of the Drum Festival in Los Angeles, UCLA's World Festival of Sacred Music at Fowler Museum, Nations International Dance Festival in San Diego, and the Cuba Caribe Festival in San Francisco.
Our organization takes great pride in keeping the Cuban arts tradition alive by cultivating a deep understanding of these traditional art forms. Maintaining purity in the art form is central to this preservation and as such we emphasize historical context, precision, and integrity of spirit and character. Omo Aché strives to embody the cultural wisdom of this rich culture by providing extraordinary service with passion and respect for each other, our community and the arts. This body of knowledge is transmitted through cultural arts education and programs conducted by Master Artist Blanco and other visiting Master artists.
"What's in a name?"
The name, Omo Aché, comes from Lucumi, the Yoruba language as it has been preserved in Cuba. Omo means children and Aché is positive spiritual energy that brings good fortune. The essence of this name is to recognize the importance of youth in the preservation and development of culture.
Juan Carlos Blanco, Master Dancer & Percussionist, Choreographer
Guest Cuban Master Artists
Jose Cheo Rojas Ramirez
Juancito Garzon Brown
Silfredo La O Vigo
Susana Arenas Pedroso
Freila Merencio Blanco
Jose Francisco Barroso
Miguel Bernal Nodal
Felix "Pupy" Insunsa
Omo Aché Performing Artists
Makida Anderson, Dancer
Angelica Cardona, Dancer & Vocalist
Monique Gaffney, Dancer
Roxanne Rojas de Blanco, Dancer
Omar Riquelme, Percussionist
Khadija White, Dancer
Kadye Williams, Dancer & Vocalist
Past Omo Aché Performing Artists
Emilio Camacho Tina Pangelinan
Eduardo Sagarra Irene Pulli
Reynaldo Atesiano Jimmy Peña
Araceli Carrera Claudia Restrepo
Nadra Erhman Karen Tapia
Vladimir Gonzalez Victor Tapia
Gary Greenberg Kemet Sims Parker
Monette Marino Patricia Reyna
Kimberly Miguel Mullen Meeshi Sumayo
Cybele Nieman-Peña Hilary Young
Menelike Turner Miguel Ceides
Juan Carlos Blanco Riera was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, where he performed with several professional companies for over 15 years before coming to the U.S. As a youth, he started his performance career with the folkloric arts group, Cumballe, and Oba Ilú, in his home town of Guanabacoa. He later joined one of Cuba's most renowned folkloric companies, Raices Profundas (Deep Roots), directed by Juan De Dios Ramos Morejon. He spent nine years with Raices Profundas, where he rose to the level of lead male dancer and soloist, touring Latin America and Asia.
Mr. Blanco's desire to deepen his knowledge of his cultural expression drove him to become involved with several diverse art groups in Havana. He performed with Teatro de la Havana in a number of theatrical plays including De Mi Tierra Vengo, Maria Antonia, Santa Camila de la Havana Vieja, and Requip por Yarini. He danced, acted and choreographed with Arte Popular, a popular theater company directed by Tito Junco. Mr. Blanco performed with the innovative modern dance company Alabama. He also spent several years working with the Franco-Haitian company Ban Rra Rrá, directed by Isaias Rojas Ramirez as percussionist and instructor of Afro-Cuban dance.
While in Cuba, he was charged with the responsibility of training both professional Cuban dancers and education foreign students through the Instituto Superior de Arte and the Escuela Nacional de Arte. He served as artistic director for the folkloric ensemble Arawe that toured Peru in 1997. He also choreographed several productions in Havana, including Afro-Peru, a collaboration with Peruvian singer Argelia Fragoso, and Trilogia, produced with Raices Profundas.
Since coming to the United States, Mr. Blanco has been featured in various Afro-Cuban productions in the California area as dancer and guest choreographer for groups such as Olorun, Alafia, and Taifa. In 1998 he founded the San Diego-based Afro-Cuban folkloric ensemble, Omo Aché, which serves and performs in schools, universities, and multi-cultural venues throughout California.
Mr. Blanco has taught Afro-Cuban percussion and dance to adults through community classes and institutions such as UCSD, UCLA, Palomar College, Grossmont College, San Diego City College, Cal State San Marcos, and Humboldt State University among others. He has traveled throughout the United States teaching Master workshops in the states of Michigan, Arizona, Maryland, Oregon, Illinois, Ohio, and California. He taught Afro-Cuban music and dance to children through the Institute for Arts Education and City Moves as well as dedicating six years teaching Kindergarten through 8th grade students at King-Chavez Academies, and presenting their work at community celebrations and festivals throughout San Diego. He has also taught percussion and dance to elementary students of Tijuana, B.C. Mexico's Escuela Primaria Miguel Guerrero and Guadalupe Victoria among others through WorldBeat Center's bi-national cultural exchange partnership program with I.M.A.C. (Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura).
Partners & Associates
Roxanne Rojas de Blanco
Roxanne Rojas de Blanco