|Omo Aché Afro-Cuban Dance & Music Co.
Web site: http://www.omoachecubanculture.org/
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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 community based folkloric arts groups Cumballé and Oba Ilú in his home community of Guanabacoa. He later on joined one of Cuba's most respected folkloric companies Raices Profundas ("deep roots”), directed by Juan de Dios Ramos Morejon. He spent 9 years with Raices Profundas rising to the level of lead male dancer and touring Latin American and Asia.
Mr. Blanco’s desire to deepen and broaden his knowledge of his cultural expression drove him to become involved with several diverse arts 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 theatre 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 educating foreign students through the Instituto Superior de Arte and the Ecuela Nacional de Arte. He was artistic director of 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. He founded his own Afro-Cuban folkloric ensemble, Omo Aché, in 1998, which has 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. He has also traveled throughout the United States teaching master workshops in states of Michigan, Arizona, Maryland, Oregon and Illinois. He taught Afro-Cuban music and dance to children through the Institute for Arts Education and City Moves. He dedicated 6 years teaching Kindergarten through 8th grade students at the King-Chavez Academies, presenting their work at community celebrations and festivals throughout San Diego .