Miami’s own Afro-Cuban Dance Festival

17th Annual IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance FestivalBack by popular demand, the 17th Annual IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Festival will once again take Miami by storm August 20-22. The festival features a variety of exciting dance workshops and live dance and musical performances, including the premiere of Under Heaven and Earth, a new choreography inspired by the 35th anniversary of the Mariel Boatlift. The workshops, panels and performances will take place at Miami-Dade County, located at 2901 W. Flagler Street. 


Founded by world-renowned choreographer and dancer Neri Torres through her non-profit organization, the festival offers a variety of unique classes and workshops over the course of two days, including Reggaeton, Salsa Rueda, Rumba (Guaguanco, Columbia and Yambu), Afro-Modern, and Cha-cha-cha, among other dance disciplines.       


The theme this year is the “Casino” style (commonly referred to as “Salsa.”) It will kick-off with a panel discussion titled “Salsa and the Cross Fertilization Saga of Son” at 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 20 at Miami-Dade County Auditorium. The panel is presented with support from Florida International University’s Cuban Research Institute. The event is free and open to the public. 


Starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 21, IFE-ILE will host Salsa Night (Noche de Salsa), a performance by guest salsa groups from Miami and New York, including Hot Spot Dance Studio, Salsateros, Young Ambition Dance Company, Spirits in Motion, Habana Style Salsa, Salsa Lovers, and more.


Under Heaven and Earth will premiere at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 22. The new choreography by Torres delves into the journey of Marielitos, the thousands of Cubans who arrived through the Mariel Boatlift in 1980 and the impact they have made in various communities by exploring how migration impacts cultural patterns and develops fragmented identities.


“For my generation, the Mariel meant the tearing apart of the family tapestry, while Miami became a repository for a reinvigorated Cuban culture that is integrated to the urban landscape,” Torres said. “We want to unveil the genuine stories of those navigating above the stereotypes.”


Following the premiere of Under Heaven and Earth, there will be an after party featuring live music by the band Rum and Coffee starting at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 22 at CubaOcho Art Center, located at 1465 S.W. 8 Street.


For more information on this festival or the organization hosting it, IFE-ILE, a 2014 Knight Arts Challenge grant winner, visit