Orange Alert

Hispanic Heritage Month concludes with Bomba & Plena Festival

Annual festival features Latino/a music, dance, and art

Oct. 7, 2013, by Georgia Popoff

The Bomba and Plena Dance Troupe at La Casita.
The Bomba and Plena Dance Troupe at La Casita.

La Casita Cultural Center will once again host its traditional Bomba & Plena Festival, where residents of Syracuse and all of Central New York join SU's Hispanic communities for the grand finale event of this year’s commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The program will take place on Thursday, Oct. 10, from 6-8 p.m.

In the Puerto Rican tradition, Bomba & Plena combine rhythm and dance in an invigorating pageant of color, percussion and movement. La Casita’s own resident ensemble, the Bomba & Plena Dance Troupe, will perform at the festival along with Raíces, Syracuse University’s all-student Bomba & Plena dance troupe. Luz Encarnación, youth programming coordinator and leader of La Casita’s dance troupe, is in charge of choreography and is also producer of the entire Hispanic Heritage Month program at La Casita this year.

The Bomba & Plena Festival dancers will be performing to live music by the Rochester-based group Pleneros D’ Borikén. The group’s members, founder José Mora, Pimo Santiago, José Torres, Daniel De Jesus and vocalist Angel Espada offer lively, engaging performances that often include audience participation. Mora shares that the group writes an original plena for each event at which they perform, adding to the unique experience that each of their shows provides.

A newly installed exhibition at La Casita, Balcón Criollo (Creole Balcony), will be open to the public during the Bomba & Plena Festival celebration and remain on display through Dec. 19. An impressive collection of personal memories, meaningful keepsakes, family photos, native costumes, indigenous crafts, devotional imagery and traditional music instruments are among the hundreds of pieces of memorabilia that represent all of the countries of Latin America. The installation design is the result of a collaborative effort between La Casita’s Encarnación, and local artist Juan Cruz.

Inspired by the work of a renowned installation artist from Puerto Rico, Pepón Osorio, this stunning collection of artifacts loaned by local residents for the show represents the cultural heritage of the spectrum of Hispanic communities in the region, and every item tells a story. A special program is in development involving community gatherings where residents will share the significance these objects, treasured memories and storytelling, all of which will be recorded and preserved for La Casita library’s cultural memory archive.

The Bomba & Plena Festival is free and open to the public, with free parking available. In addition to the performances, light refreshments will be served. La Casita Cultural Center is located at 109 Otisco St., Syracuse.

Media Contact

Rob Enslin