GILBERTO GIL and OMARA PORTUONDO : This week at Roy Thomson Hall

& the Broadband Band
Friday, June 27, 2008 at 8pm
Massey  Hall | $69.50 – $49.50

Brazilian icon Gilberto Gil and his six-piece Banda Larga perform their trademark fusion of bossa nova, samba, salsa, rock and folk music at Massey Hall. Plus, Gilberto invites you to record your experience by taking photos and video of his concert to post on his website for fans to enjoy worldwide!

Click on this LINK for a huge Collection of You Tube videos .  You have permission to bring you cameras and videos to the show for an INTERACTIVE experience

with special guest Roberto Fonseca
Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 8pm
Roy Thomson Hall | $79.50 – $39.50

Cuban diva, Omara Portuondo, one of the featured vocalists from the Grammy Award-winning album The Buena Vista Social Club, brings to the stage smoky and quietly tragic vocals and a taste of Havana nightlife. She is joined by Roberto Fonseca, one of Cuba’s most promising young pianists.

The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall
60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5J 2H5
A Charitable Not-for-Profit Organization

FOR TICKETS CALL 416-872-4255 | www.masseyhall.comQsbuenaomara

"BUT what can I do on THURSDAY??" 

Toronto Jazz Festival brings you Glenda del e Mixology

For those born too late to know what it means that a band "cooks" : here’s a living definition for ya! 

If you haven’t seen Mixology yet, you are running out of excuses with this show.  They nearly stole the show from Luis Mario Ochoa at Lula Lounge June 20, and are part of this year’s Jazz Fest.

Where: Chick N’Deli

744 Mount Pleasant Road,
(416) 489 – 3363

When:     Thu., Jun. 26,
    @9:30 PM
Cost:     Call for info


What beautiful things are happening this summer ! : Omara Portuondo- Son de Cali- Kassav and more

Okokan wants to thanks everybody for their wonderful support of our PUPY Y LOS QUE SON SON concert. We are taking a little break while thinking of the future in the hopes of presenting many more fantastic concerts. We only do what we really love !

In the meantime we will be supporting and helping many of our promoter friends with passing the word around about their events and trying to keep our calendar up to date .

Here are some of our favorite upcoming concerts and events :

FRI JUNE 27th : Direct from BRAZIL legendary GILBERTO GIL in concert at ROY THOMPSON HALL . He will be coming on this occasion with a full band  . Check for tickets and further information

SAT JUNE 28th : Direct from Cuba legendary Omara Portuondo with pianist Roberto Fonseca also at the Roy Thompson Hall

SAT June 28th : Direct from Brazil Sergio Mendes and his band at the music gallery on the danforth

SAT July 19th : Direct from COLOMBIA  and festivity is part of Colombian independance day : SON de CALI  at the Sound Academy formerly know as the Docks . This concert will be in our prediction one of two sold out summer events. Son de Cali are one of Colombia’s most polular salsa bands . They are travelling with a full 14 piece. For any dancers worried about sore legs on teh concrete; there have been major changes at the Sound Academy. They have just set a gorgoeus and enormous wooden dance floor which takes up most of the room .

Tickets can be purchased at any ticketmaster outlet  – More information at

THURSDAY JULY 31st : The other for sure sell out ! Direct from Martinique/ Guadeloupe – the fathers of ZOUK  ( or as Billy calls them the Los Van Van of the french Antilles ) KASSAV –  at the Sound Academy – for all information check out  –  This band has a history stretching back to 1974 and is a show in itself as well as a great band. Kassav always travels with professional dancers who appear at various moments throughout the performance.

Here is a great video

Our friends at ART OF JAZZ this week June 4-June 8

BRAZILIAN legends – Hermeto Pascoal and Egberto Gismonti- Cuban Acapella group DESANDANN – An Afro Cuban dance party on Friday June 6 with Telmaty – Salsa on SIX : Free and ticketed events at the Distillery district. has a pair of tickets for each event – e mail with your name and tel #  at for a chance to win tickets – winners will be posted


The 3rd Annual Art of Jazz Celebration will transform the Distillery Historic District in Toronto into a place where jazz legends, lions and lovers come together. Where jazz is everywhere and freedom of expression, creativity and no fixed beat are the only rule on the street.

Hear the sounds of Brazilian Brilliance

2008 Art of Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Hermeto Pascoal and the Art of Jazz Orchestra
Conducted by Jovino Santos Neto

Saturday June 7, 2008
Fermenting Cellar, Distillery Historic District
8:00 PM

2008 Art of Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
An Evening with Egberto Gismonti
Featuring the Penderecki String Quartet, Trichy Sankaran, Don Thompson and Jane Bunnett

Sunday June 8, 2008
Fermenting Cellar, Distillery Historic District
8:00 PM

Don’t miss this high voltage Cuban Cocktail that will keep the dance floor moving.

Afro Cuban Party

This Afro Cuban Dance Party features Salsa ‘N Six. It’s the cream of the crop of Canadian/Cuban musicians including:  Ricky Franco, Telmary, Alberto Alberto, Luis Mario Ochoa, Grupo Vocal Desandann and more.

Friday June 6, 2008
Fermenting Cellar, Distillery Historic District
10:00 PM

Tickets available at or 1-888-222-6608 or visit


Thanks to Joyce Corbett ( writer) and Roger Humbert from the LIVEMUSICREPORT  for their careful and detailed review of the PUPY Y LOS QUE SON SON Sat May 24th night in Toronto. To see the review and pictures in their context click HERE . Each participant in the show was noticed and it was great to see that the trouble we went to to decorate the venue with elaborate flower arrangements ( Thanks To Ingrid and Antonin ) were noticed as Okokan’s co producers La Rumba Event ( Michelle Triebsch) and Billy Bryans productions . This is a review which will actually make the absent feel as though they were with us ! Please note that major participants Afrolatino dance company were on the stage to close the night with Pupy Insua and organized the Cuban dance festival week-end which featured 6 almost all sold out workshops .

May 24, 2008  Opera House  Toronto

presented by Okokan productions with La Rumba Event and Billy Bryans productions.

El Buenagente
by Joyce Corbett with photos by Roger Humbert
que dicen”, “El vecino se mudo”, “El Buenagente”, the favourites just
kept coming. Taking only a brief intermission, Cuban supergroup César
“Pupy” Pedroso y los que son son played, sang and danced their way
through close to three hours. Having left Los Van Van years ago, Pupy
has long since established himself as an important
composer/bandleader/musician in the world of timba. It is not only the
quality of the musicians and the strength of the arrangements that set
groups like this apart but the spirit of passion, sharing and
generosity they exhibit in performances such as this one in Toronto.
Many in the audience were ardent fans and knew the words to the songs.
Further incited by the singers, the crowd joined in the celebratory
spirit, singing and dancing.

it would be a bizarre thing to see a band like this singing and playing
near-motionless on stage — would it be possible? — the other extreme is
not what Pupy wants in his show. With Pupy y los que son son, although
the band certainly pulsed with the rhythms they were producing, the
music did not take a back seat to gyrating hips and acrobatics. In
fact, near the end of the show, it was members of the horn line who
came out front and centre to take some well-deserved limelight.

Opera House with its ornate trim and high ceiling has been renovated to
the point where it hints at a glorious past. Large white flower
arrangements and candles enhanced the atmosphere on this occasion. It
turned out to be a perfect venue for Pupy y los que son son, able to
evoke a feel of Havana. Prefacing the concert, there were three
professional dance shows. This was a wonderfully integrated and
complete evening of art and entertainment.

New York-based “dancer Pupy”, Felix ‘Pupy’ Insua, moved throughout the
night ever so Afro-Cubanly. From the stage, playing conga, he conducted
the audience in a rhythmic drumming-clapping sequence that had everyone
warmed up and ready for the band. Later on, he could be seen out on the
floor dancing with the rest of the crowd. Near the end of the show,
Insua danced on stage with Maribel Vasquez from Energetic Soul during a
dazzling flight of virtuosic piano from Pupy Pedroso. The dancing, the
piano, a knocked-over microphone, the unstoppable motion, it was a
highlight of the evening.

César ‘Pupy’ Pedroso

Felix ‘Pupy’ Insua & Maribel Vasquez
Mambo Dream Team (Mississauga, Ontario) tended more to the
Afro-Cuban-Vegas side of things with feathers and headgear but were
certainly on the money in terms of execution and ability. The show put
on by Duane Wrenn and Maribel Vasquez from Energetic Soul (Clawson,
Michigan) was an excellent surprise, congruent with the music that we
had come to hear. It opened with Duane Wrenn doing an orisha-type dance
to the sound of the bata drums and chanting. With the arrival on stage
of Maribel Vasquez, it moved into a playfully flirtatious guaguanco and
exploded into very fast rumba/salsa/timba. Like Pedroso’s music, the
show remained earthy and tied to tradition but drew on the roots to
create something fresh, new and exciting.

the start of the show, dispatched by solo drum kit, the band rapidly
reached full intensity. It was timba at its best, firm in its AfroCuban
roots and rich with a variety of son, rumba, salsa and jazz. Complex
rhythms, precision horns, sections of call and response, improvisation
both vocal and instrumental, this band has it all. ‘Manny’ and ‘Pepito’
traded the role of lead vocalist, demonstrating a seemingly natural
ease with melody, rhythm and lyric. Lilibert, the sole female in the
band, filled out the backup vocals. Two trombones, two trumpets,
electric piano, electric keyboard, drum kit, timbales, guiro/small
percussion, bass and congas made up the instrumental component along
with a guest flautist from Miami, Ernesto Fernandez. Pupy y los que son
son produce music that has to be experienced, to be physically felt to
fully appreciate. It is music that will transport you.

Canadian tour was timed to promote Pupy y los que son son’s new album,
but unfortunately, the release has been delayed by a few months so
there were no CDs being sold on the night of the show. For now, the CD
and the upcoming DVD on “Pupy” César Pedroso’s career remain something
to look forward to. The concert will remain in the spirits of the
attendees as a night to remember.

Pupy y los que son son

Thanks to everyone !

It was a great and magical week-end of Cuban Salsa/Timba and dance for us in Toronto ! as well as at the other concerts in Montreal and Quebec city. We will soon be compiling all of the you tube videos /pictures reviews and clips of Saturday May the 24th night at the PUPY Y LOS QUE SON SON concert in Toronto as well as the week-end Cuban dance festival. I am not a professional journalist and it may not be appropriate for me to review my own show but here are some comments and ramblings anyway . I will also keep rereading this and add to it as I may forget to thank people ! Feel free to e mail me to say .. hey what about me…
I want to thank the team who help Juan Carlos and I this was an incredible gift to us : co producer and friend Michelle Triebsch of La Rumba event , my friend Ingrid Jurek and Antonin who spent hours making exquisite white flower arrangements and candles to beautify the Opera house Katherine who hosts Acrobat on Friday nights ; my brother Cedric Giraud ; My friend Heather Jessome and Miranda Harpell from world vision : Paulina Berru ; Catherine Irvine Davies ; Shauneen ; Joao and Ana Maria and Aline for great promoting skills , Athena owner of the Opera house , Billy Bryans and Robin Easton ; Noy ; Vladimir Aranda dance teacher and promoter for Six degrees with the beautiful Jensy ; to Orlando who helped us with security ; Jacinto Salcedo who designed the beautiful flyer and poster ; Paz Humana for helping us with so much ! John who photographed the show for me and Ingrid again who videotaped! A special thanks to DJ MELAO who travelled from Miami to be at all three events. He will be also putting together video and sound clips from all the three concerts on . His contribution to the world of Timba is invaluable .
A big thanks to the band PUPY Y LOS QUE SON SON . They were on and off seven different buses for 5 days travelled a total of
Thanks to the dance performers : Felix “Pupy” Insua ; six dancers from Mambo dream team ( Pawel Roland Raphael Daylin and two other beautiful girls whose names I do not know) choreographed by Dora thanks for your performance and support . A special thanks to my friend Albena de Assis from Afrolatino dance company who organized the Cuban dance festival week-end and performed on the night of the event with Teisha and Isaac; dancers from Michigan’s Energetic soul Duane Wrenn and Maribel Vasquez. They all basically put a choreography together with master dancer from NYC Felix “Pupy” Insua in about 15mn at a tech rehearsal and Duane and Albena had never danced together . Pupy (Cesar de la Mercedes Pedroso) was actually a little reticent about dancers performing on the stage along with the band playing so he asked for them to be at the ready on the side of the stage and wait until the last two numbers . I have to say that when I drove him to the airport to get to his Quebec city gig ; he said that he was so impressed with the dancing in Toronto and with how it went that he was considering including some dance in future shows for a couple of songs. He said Felix “Pupy” Insua was a genius in his opinion and complimented each dancer individually. He actually thought that dancer Pupy had brought them from New York.
We were very luck to have many people who travelled from the US to come and see the concert ; In fact from our count 30% of the audience travelled from the States especially Cubans from Rochester ; Buffalo ;Albany ; NYC and Miami . Eminent musicians were in the room Ernesto Fernandez came from Miami (Flutist) and performed with the band. Lisandro Arias pianist who was featured in the DAME LA MANO documentary tried to make it and was held up at the border. he made it to the Quebec city concert and played with the band there . Some musicians from Toronto came to show their support ; great percussionist and musical director Luis Obregoso came with a friend as did pianist David Virelles and drummer Frank Duran . Some came after their gigs at the end of the night such as Alberto Alberto , Jalidan .
The band played their first set after dance performances and we had to stop them so that intermission could be held. When they returned to the stage at 12.30 , they played non stop until almost 2 am. I think in total the band played close to 3 hours. This reflects incredible generosity on the part of the artist . The level of talent on this night and the happiness of everyone around us makes this worth it for us . We received no financial support or sponsorship for this concert or for the Cuban dance festival . This was a risk that many of us just decided to take because we love this music. Again we do have some media which supports us and were there on the night of the event : The Live music report ( Roger and Joyce) : Salsato ( Mike) ; Canasanta Gelico and Marie; Maria Elena Escobar from CKLN Ventana al Barrio ; CIRV Marcelo Addax and our MC Abdiel Hernandez ; Kelly and Rene.
I met a woman on the street outside of the Opera house on one of my many trips back to the parked car who said : ” I have lived on Queen street east all my life ; I have never seen so many beautiful women with short skirts …what is going on there tonight ? ” I said one of the best bands from Havana Cuba : PUPY Y LOS QUE SON SON ! Ache !

Musical education from

After discussion with one of my favorite Djs tonight that Pupy is Timba but Manolito is salsa cubana : I feel it may be time to outline what are now standard definitions . Also for newcomers here is some teminology that may be helpful to understand what will be happening on Saturday May 24th – We are very passionate about our Cuban style salsa and Timba this is why we bring bands from Cuba. This is a love that we always want to share with all around us no matter what style they like to dance . Also when inviting a Cuban band to play , it is always a great party no matter what your exact and precise musical tastes !

Timba: Cuban contemporary popular music with bass patterns and rhythms
that have the influence of hip-hop as well as rumba, with elements from
funk, jazz and rap. Marked by an explosive rhythm that’s somewhat
aggressive. Juan Formell, leader of the group Los Van Van, is said to
have been the first to use the term. He says that Timba lies halfway
between the traditional Cuban son and salsa. Performers among many
others are Los Van Van, NG la Banda and Charanga Habanera. Pupy plays Cuban style Salsa which is TIMBA.

Casino:   the Cuban salsa dance style. We often do it as a RUEDA  ( in a wheel or circle with multiple partners but the style is CASINO )

Rueda de casino
: (normally just called Rueda). Salsa (or Casino) with a
group of people in a circle all doing the same moves in response to a
caller’s commands.

Conjunto: Cuban orchestra with vocals, trumpets, piano, bass, percussion.

Popular drink!
Mojito: Cuban drink, a must in the breaks when playing/dancing salsa.
    •    Recipe: Mix the juice of 1/2 a lime (fresh), 1 tablespoon sugar or simple syrup and mint leaves. Add ice cubes and 2 ounces / 4 cl white rum (preferably Havana Club). Fill with soda water.

: Section of an Afro-Cuban dance tune using call and response between improvisations by the lead singer and repeated phrases by a vocal chorus.

Ahí-namá/Ahí Na’ Má – Spanish, short for "ahi nada mas". Literally means ‘only there’, ‘just there’ or ‘that and no more’, but used more as ‘that’s it!’ or ‘right on!’. Called out by musicians in salsa bands as a sign of enthusiasm, a way of highlighting a particular musical expression that feels good, etc. It was made popular by La Lupe, a Cuban singer of the 1970s as a call to the musicians and the audience to ‘go to it.’ "Ahí Na’ Má" is also a tune by Ismael Rivera con Cortijo y su Combo from the early sixties.

: A contemporary, eclectic rhythm which blends several styles, including rumba, son, conga and other Cuban secular as well as sacred styles, with elements of North American jazz and funk. Invented by Juan Luis Formell, the leader of Los Van Van, and Changuito, the percussionist of the same orchestra.

PUPY Y LOS QUE SON SON : Our commercial!

Thanks you to Paolo Marques from CIRV radio for always putting together a great commercial for our concerts ; along with the great voice of Radio host Abdiel Hernandez who also will be our MC for the night. A special thanks also to Marcelo Addax also a radio host and photographer for his great support and inviting all the beauties of Toronto to the concert !

We just listened to Pupy’s new album

We just received a demo of Pupy’s new album via a friend who came from Havana. I am not an expert reviewer but it is excellent >many great songs for the Timberos – Salseros- Soneros and an instrumental piano piece whcih would satisfy many jazz and classical fans There is of course the already released ” La Italiana” ; La Machucadera ; There is song recorded with Omara Portuondo- It sounds like the title is Vecina prestame el Cuvo ( neighbour lend me the bucket !) – Of note to Cuban music fans Omara Portuondo will be at ROY THOMSON HALL June 28 2008 for an exclusive concert . For all information about the concert website : Roy Thomson Hall

Learn to Dance Cuban Style in Toronto

Why dance salsa in the Cuban style?   

Why not "regular salsa"? 

One look should show you… more flavour… more natural… more fun!

     Couples dancing Casino style

     Cuban dance lesson 

     TV Rueda competition

     Rueda de Casino in Cuba

You might spot differences… "Don't they even know how to dip and spin??"  

But… on the other hand…  there's this sensuousness, playfulness, spontaneity. 

Understanding the differences is more than listing moves… you need to understand Cuba a bit.


Casino dance began In the 60's and 70's while a new exciting music was evolving in Cuba… later in the 70's, it began to be called "salsa" by New York marketers.  

Within a few years, young dancers at social clubs called "Casinos" worked up the first versions of "Casino" dancing, perfect for the new music.

They used all the ideas at hand: mambo, cha-cha-cha, rumba, son dances of Cuba, as well as a touch of afro dancing.  And yes, some of those turns and the trademark hand-push come from U.S. rock-and-rollers visiting Cuba.

But it was a simpler Casino in those days. 

Each generation needs to have something of their own. They respond in new ways to the new music that inspires them.


Since the mid-late 1990's, Casino in Cuba is danced with a new passion, a new edge, a new liveliness.  All because of a new kind of music … "Timba"

The country was desperate in the 1990's… with the loss of support of the USSR.  Music and dance became more important than ever… "luxuries" that could be enjoyed without wealth.  And a way to forget the problems.

Fabulous musicians were graduating from the state music schools by the hundreds… when bread was scarce, there was still good free education.  They began watching each other like hawks to see who would come up with a new sound first. 

Jose Luis Cortez formed his group NG La Banda and showed some ideas. The dancers went nuts, the rest is history …

He combined Cuban salsa and Cuban rumba, harmonic progression from the Russian classical composers, with Cuban son and mambo, American jazz and funk, .. into a new craze… A sophisticated, complex, varied, flexible format.  A music that very likely, no other public in the world could have understood and embraced the way Cuba did.  


Timba was born for one purpose… and one purpose only: to inspire and excite dancers.

Everything else is secondary: the singers, the musicians, the chorus, must all serve this need.  

The new bands were valued not only for their music, but how inventive they were at dancing.  In effect, the audiences and bands showed each other how to dance to it. 

The bands looked into the crowd and saw people from poor areas, many of them black, doing rumba variations to the music.  They adapted them and fed them back to the audience and they spread quickly to all the fans.  Couples started to let go of each other, break apart, come together, break apart… doing "despelote" and other solo moves.  To match this energy, the old casino moves were danced with new variations and new intensity.

In the new century, the influence of North America comes full circle again.  Hip Hop, never a major style, morphs to Reggaeton in Latin America where it becomes the most popular music.  In Cuba, it is even more integrated with mainstream.  In the Cuban style "Cubatón" lyrics talk about young people's realities instead of the asocial "I'll be dead before I'm 22" themes of Hip-Hop.  And of course, the timba bands include the reggaeton section now… and the dancers respond.

Each timba song is broken into sections, that build excitement level after level, and challenge the dancer to respond. Dancers tune in to this… the best can always surprise and delight their partner as they work with the changes. 

Today's Casino dancing and Timba music are joined at the hip.

So when you pick a place to learn Cuban dance… make sure you get the full package. 

Trying to dance modern, energetic Casino, to bland salsa music… that's like buying the car without the engine.  If Timba seems demanding after a bland diet of night-club salsa… don't worry, it passes!  Learn to love the music by dancing to it… just the way they do in Cuba. 


The group dance, Rueda de Casino, is of course synchronized to the calls of a leader.  It might even be thoroughly rehearsed, if there's a competition. 

Casino dancing was never "taught" by teachers in Cuba.  It was developed by the kids at "casino" social clubs, and it spread directly between young people everywhere in the country. Since Casino dancing is propagated among dancers and not via dance schools, you see a great deal more individuality and spontaneity in dance in Cuba. 

Probably the biggest factor in Casino's rapid spread was the boarding schools. 

Young students from the city are all sent to country boarding schools (and vice-versa)… as educational policy, to broaden their social opinions. 

In the evenings, a favorite activity was of course self-organized dancing.  At many schools, students danced in ruedas every night of the week.  They invented new steps, difficult steps, funny steps, with good imaginations; and visitors between schools spread the best ideas.  It wasn't TAUGHT BY the schools; but it was tolerated ;-)… it was better than a lot of other things the kids could have been doing!

Typically it was, "el que pierde sale": if you screw up a move, you are out of the circle.  That encourages better dancing, and careful watching … steps are sometimes a little different in different schools.  But also, it allows rotation of the dancers.

After getting back from boarding school, it became of course a favorite party activity, dancing casino de rueda, just like it was done back at school.


Afrolatinologo150The biggest Cuban-style school in Toronto area is AfroLatino Dance Company. Why is it so popular? Could have something to do with the relaxed no-pressure style of teaching.

AfroLatino also has an open practice for anyone interested in Cuban style dance, Saturday evenings: see the website.

Juan Carlos Bulnes was one of those kids dancing and honing new casino style steps, to Orqesta Reve, Los Van Van, and others on the Para Bailar TV show on Cuban TV in the late 70's and early 80's. 

Now he's here in Toronto, and is available for private lessons in Cuban casino, orisha, and rumba dancing.  He teaches group lessons in assocation with some schools, for example, sometimes with Albena de Assis of Afro-Latino Dance Co (see above).

You can contact Juan Carlos at 647 818 6602 or 416 836 2600.

IreomoSarita Leyva is a professionally trained dancer from Holguin, Cuba.  She runs the Iré Omó dance school.  Currently onBabaluuCubanNights-web Sunday evenings, she teaches a Rueda de Casino lesson, while Billy Bryans spins the Cuban-approved dance music at BabalúuShe also teaches cuban styles to groups on occasion, notably Afro-Cuban rumba and orisha on Wednesday evenings.  Sarita is also on the teaching staff at York University teaching cuba n dance and music.  See the Iré Omó site for contact information.


Vlad (no web) at Cafe Lurin, 1032 St Clair W 2nd floor, at Oakwood, Toronto. Lessons 5 PM Sundays, then timba music til late.  Call 416 666-2441.

The Toronto Casino Rueda Practice is held most Saturdays from Noon to 3 PM near downtown Toronto. It's a self-organized dancing session dedicated to Cuban music and Cuban Casino-style dancing, but also conversation and sharing tips. The session is intended for dancers who know Casino, and want to practice and transmit the feeling better… not really a school for beginners. It's independent of any dance school… and it's free of charge… so long as the venue is free ;-). For information contact And if you are on Facebook, look for "Toronto Casino Rueda Practice".



Whitby Ontario, east of Toronto: MONDAY group lessons in Cuban style Casino dancing… with el pianista rumbero, Orlando Cardoso, phone Claudia at LA Hair (905) 556-9967.


 AnaAndOscar1And the first person to show many of us we didn't have to dance "Toronto-style salsa" just because we live here… Ana Machado still gives lessons.  You can meet her teaching the group lesson at Lula Lounge most Saturday nights.  You can also contact her at her cell number 416-205-9986.




And now a new opportunity to study Afrocuban dance, the dances of the Orishas, Congo and Rumba with Consuelo Herrera.

Consuelo Herrera is a professional dancer from Havana ,Cuba, who began her studies in La casa de Cultura, and went on to work with the folkloric dance troupe "Liberacion 75", perform in the grand cabarets "La Cecilia" in Miramar, and eventually join Grupo Raices Profundas as a lead dancer and soloist. She has worked with some of the best choreographers and musicians in Cuba. She has appeared in several documentaries about dance in Cuba and has performed in Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain, the United States, Japan and Canada. Consuelo originally came to Canada to perform with Jane Bunnett in a North American tour. She has gone on to perform with Ballet Creole and Joaquin Hidalgo's Rumberos. Consuelo has been teaching Afro-Cuban Dance in Toronto in with Ballet Creole and other local companies since 1997.

New session starting this Saturday January 10th!
Location: Capoeira Angola Centre Ori
208 Christie St., #1 (Corner of Garnet , between Dupont and Bloor, north of Christie subway station).
Time: 1-3pm

Cuban Dance Festival in Toronto! Sat May 24- May 25

AfroLatino Dance Company and Okokan Productions are bringing to Toronto the most exciting event of the year: a full weekend of the best in Cuban dance and music! You will be enjoying the sounds of no other than the great Pupy y Los Que Son Son, and the classes of guest teachers such as Felix "Pupy" Insua, Ana Machado, and Duane Wrenn and Maribel Vasquez.
All the information for the workshop with full schedule is HERE  — More info about all the wonderful people coming to teach and share with us soon !


Duane and Maribel working on a Manolin y el medico de la salsa song.

Dancing ” Cuban Style”

The  highly anticipated concerts of top Cuban bands BAMBOLEO & PUPY Y LOS QUE SON SON in Canada have spurred us to find ways to completely satisfy our audiences and friends who have alot of Love for the dance. AfroLatino dance Company  with will be presenting a week-end of Cuban style dance workshops the week-end of SAT MAY 24 and Sunday May 25  : All info will be coming up in the next couple of posts !


PUPY Y LOS QUE SON SON TOUR DATES Change! Unfortunately due to a big moustache festival in Quebec Sherbrooke is not happening. The Quebec city show is being taken over by  DOSCONDOS dance school on the Sunday May 25th with teachers Francois Begin and Yamila!  Their website is .


FRIDAY MAY 23 2008 :  PUPY IN MONTREAL QUEBEC  -at the wonderful salle de spectacle " KOLA  NOTE " 

Note :We received reports after the Bamboleo ( almost sold out )concert that the sound and atmosphere is excellent. Montreal is definitely a party town with some amazing dancers.

SATURDAY MAY 24 2008  :  PUPY IN TORONTO ONTARIO  – THE OPERA HOUSE 735 Queen street East  info 416 836 2600  for directions to the Opera house and information about parking etc

Several other performers will be in Toronto and we are putting maximum love into this concert :

DJ Melao coming direct from Miami –  Diane and Maribel from energetic soul studios Clawson Michigan -Mambodreamteam dance performance- Felix "PUPY" Insua- & more surprises.

Dance workshops for the Toronto week-end schedule and info  – Please note earlybird price and very limited class size!

SUNDAY MAY 25 2008 :   PUPY IN QUEBEC CITY   info at      

Note :  Doscondos director Francois Begin told me that Quebec City dancers are major PUPY fans and have been waiting three years for him to come back.  PUPY Y Los Que Son SON were there in concert summer 2006 when they were in Canada for the Ottawa Blues festival  .  Capacity will be limited .

CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS!!! Toronto and close by !

SAT May 24 2008 : Pupy y los Que son son Toronto Opera house – 416 836 2600

Tuesday May 27 and Wednesday May 28  Gloria Estefan Casino Rama Ontario Canada

GLORIA ESTEFAN  at Casino Rama in Rama Ontario sit down concert . Tickets are available online at Tickets are between $50-$75 Do not be fooled by other sites who are already scalping tickets !

For instructions on how to get there Check out their website at







735 Queen street East (at Broadview)

infolines 416 836 2600-(English French Turkish Spanish) 416 707 3433- (English Italian Spanish)   647 818 6602 (Spanish)


Tickets on Sale now  ONLINE



and at SuperLatin Music 1088 St Clair Ave west 416 654-2217 for those living in Toronto 

$35 Advance regular- No VIP Everyone Together with access to balconies for all !
19+ Event

Venue website for directions and parking

Doors open 8pm  Showtime  9.30pm opening acts TBA
César "Pupy’ Pedroso, one of Cuba’s most distinguished composers/bandleaders and pianists,  brings his 16 piece orchestra to the Opera House 735 Queen street East  for the Cuban dance party concert of the year.
Considered ‘the soul of Cuban dance music", Pupy Pedroso is the composer of many of the most popular songs of  Los Van Van, of which he was one of the original founding members starting in 1969.
In 2002, Pupy shocked the Cuban music world by leaving Los Van Van to form his own group ‘Los Que Son Son’ , who instantly shot to the front line of Cuban dance groups  to rival the  popularity of even Los Van Van themselves.
Over the course of three solo albums  Pupy Pedroso has reaffirmed his place as one  of Cuba’s most gifted composers, while leading his 16 piece band of players half his age in a spectacular music show that has toured Europe and Latin America.

Tickets can also be purchased at several locations :

Toronto : SuperLatin Music 1088 St clair Ave west  – 416 654-2217

BOLIS _ now renovated and under new ownership SONIA and Vladimir 416 533-4020  609 Bloor street w

Soundscapes :  572 College street 416 537-1620

Brampton : La Favorita  18 Queen street W  905-272-9257

Hamilton : Hammocks Monimbo – 163 James street N  905-546-0330

Scarborough : Rincon Latino  1352 Kennedy Road 416 615 2675

Toronto Cuban Dance festival !!!  AFROLATINO dance Company and Cubaintoronto present :

FRI May 23- Sunday May 25 2008  – Visiting instructors for workshops and parties all week-end long in honor of PUPY -Full schedule and great earlybird package price to be announced soon. Limited space – 1.30mn classes- 7 .5 hours in total

Sat May 24th  afternoon workshops and the PUPY Y Los Que SON SON performance –  opening dance shows by participants : Duane Wrenn and Maribel Vasquez Felix Pupy Insua from NYC- Mambodream team from Toronto . Afrolatino dance company from Toronto

Sunday May 25th workshops  and good bye party at  Cafe  Lurin Tapas Cuban Matinee.

confirmed instructors   :

-Duane Wrenn and Maribel Vasquez from Energetic Soul Clawson Michigan

– FELIX " PUPY" INSUA from NYC master teacher

– Ana Machado from Toronto

-Vladimir Aranda – Toronto- Sunday after party at  Cafe Lurin Tapas

classes taught  :   Musicality and improvisation – Casino Rueda- Casino style salsa- Afro Cuban – Adaptability ( making your linear style circular) – Rumba   – 7.5 hours of classes and teachers will be performing the night of the event !


PUPY PEDROSO Y LOS QUE SON SON …. Toronto SATURDAY MAY 24 2008 The opera House 735 Queen street east
PUPY will also be in Montreal May 23-
Quebec city Sunday May 25th
Official page ; updates where to buy tickets coming soon- Also info about this fantastic festival weekend with local and visiting Cuban style dance teachers

He is one we love the most …Pupy will be coming with his entire 16 piece band direct from Havana .
Tickets will go on sale by Wed April 2 2008 at


  In conjunction with The PUPY PEDROSO Y Los Que SON SON ; There will be festival of Cuban style dance with some of our local and visiting teachers.  Full workshop schedule will be posted for Sat and Sunday classes ; included in full package will be a Friday night pre-party at the Lula lounge ; The PUPY Pedroso y Los que Son Son concert and a good bye party Sunday night .

Angel Santos as promised!

Before the big excitement begins here are some videos of Angel Santos we filmed him at Felix Baloy’s band rehearsal in Havana May 2002 . Hopefully one day he will come for some workshops . He is definitely one of our favorites . Known in dance history as Los Hermanos Santos (he used to dance with his sister) ; he is dancing here with his dance partner- also with Reyna (ex Tropicana dancer) and Caridad from Clave Y Guaguanco. He gave lessons to Sting (POLICE) and Sting’s wife Trudie.


Our Favourite dancer : Angel Aristides Santos

Juan Carlos and my favourite dancer Aristides Santos dancing with his wife/partner with Pedrito Calvo  and it’s yes "Papiosko" who is living here in Toronto on drums.
We will be posting some more videos of Santos ( formally known as Los Hemanos Santos) when he danced with his sister. We had a chance to film and interview him in 2003.

Cuban culture in Toronto, Canada