Residency: Kati Hernandez

Afro-Cuban Dance/Oricha Therapy as a Way of Knowing
October 16 - 24, 2020

CNP Artist-in-Residence Kati Hernandez will lead a special, six-session online workshop, Afro-Cuban Dance/Oricha Therapy as a Way of Knowing.

Afro-Cuban dance is a reflection of resilience and empowerment. It arose from the colonization of Cuba using enslaved Africans who did not give up their music, dance, and spiritual knowledge. As a dance formed from the merging of cultures, it lends to personal embodiment and the continued integration of different corporeal elements that can create a language of expression for today. In this workshop students will learn a form developed by Kati Hernandez that fuses Afro-Cuban dance technique with healing modalities including voice, dramaturgical expression, and chromotherapy to the symbolic colors of the Orichas and their attributes.

This method intends to give students a way to not only embody, but also project their understanding of the feelings and affirmations that the Orichas inspire through the dances, patakis (sacred stories), song, and musicality. The goal is to give students a fullness of the ways history, culture, and values live in the mind, body, and spirit, and simultaneously to show how the dances from the Afro-Cuban diaspora have nourished as well guided people through challenging social circumstances like those of today: COVID-19, police violence against Black bodies, and detention of immigrants. Each session will conclude with a prompt for reflection so that students can consider how the Orichas serve as metaphors and affirmations that can enrich their artistic practice and life experience in our present time.

Artist Biography

From Cuba, Kati Hernandez brings her explosive, joyous energy to the American stage and classroom. In her hometown of Los Angeles Kati has served as lead choreographer  for Afro-Cuban jam sessions at the Ford Theatre where she has also co-hosted dance workshops with the acclaimed Afro-Cuban rock band, Síntesis. More recently, Kati was artistic director for the joint production “Cuba Antes y Ahora,” a series of dance and music workshops with visiting Cuban artists at Grand Park and the Getty Museum – Kati. She also presented her Dance company KimBamBula at the Skirball Museum. Also had choreographed and performed in musical videos. Including “Un poquito de amor every day” with world renown Colin Hay and San Miguel Perez.

With boundless energy and knowledge.  Kati guests teach dance classes and lectures at colleges, universities and dance studios around the country. She continues to tour, bringing her Afro-Cuban dynamite to national folkloric and Salsa dance conferences. Her reverential propagation of the roots of Cuban culture motivated her  to create her national acclaimed dance program Oricha dance Therapy. Bringing empowerment and healing  through the reach Afro-Cuban dance diaspora. That joins Afro-Timba, part of her pioneering repertoire, a dance fitness program that she co -founded and actively tours.

Kati flows between public and academic venues. She has worked with dance and music departments like UCIrvine, University of Oregon, Pomona College where she choreographed and performed the dance installation “Fire”  that was directed by Judith Davis. Kati also choreographed a piece for Santa Monica College’s dance company Global Motion. Additionally, Kati has participated in the Esalen Institute’s summer festival where she performed a tribute piece for the legendary Afro-Cuban master percussionist Francisco Aguabella; it was also here that she workshopped and birthed her popular Oricha dance therapy program.

Kati is known for her uniquely uplifting and intuitive teaching techniques, her vibrant energy and sabor on the dance floor. Her unforgettable work is a true illustration of her heritage and an endless celebration of Cuban dance and music.