UWRF in Puerto Rico

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

Dec. 12, 1997

UW-RF Dance Students, Prof to Study in Puerto Rico

Four UW-River Falls Dance Theatre students and their professor, Karla Pfeiffer Zhe, travelled to Puerto Rico in December to study Puerto Rican popular and traditional dance forms.

Dance Theatre members Kristen Baregi of St. Paul, Sarah Klein of South Haven, Minn., Ellen Reckelberg of Kewaunee, and Mary Aguilar of Frederic researched and studied Puerto Rican popular and traditional dance forms at the Universidad De Puerto Rico, Recinto de Rio Piedras in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The week-long stay included daily technique classes in movement styles and rhythms of four different African derived dances: African/Jazz, African/Caribbean, African/Brazilian, and La Bomba. The group also studied the Copiera dance, which is of Brazilian descent and a martial arts base.

Besides studying local dances, Zhe and her group attended dance performances, as well as lectures on the historical background and development of the dances of Puerto Rico.

While in San Juan, the group met with Eleanor Gwynn, Professor of Dance at North Carolina University A&T, and students of the E. Gwynn Dance Company. Gwynn and Zhe hope to research with the internationally recognized Cepede family.

"It will be particularly interesting and stimulating to watch and learn from this family. The Cepede family goes back generations in Puerto Rico. They have passed the traditional dances, particularly La Bomba, and the music through many generations," Zhe said.

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