We are incredibly fortunate to have worked with these master teachers over the years. Many of our members have traveled to California Brazil Camp, trainings around the country, and even to Brazil and Cuba to study - and have been inspired to host them here in Tucson so others can enjoy what they have spent years curating.
Kimberly Miguel Mullen
Classically trained folkloric dance artist and cultural ethnologist Kimberly Miguel Mullen contributes to a legacy of performers from the Caribbean, Cuba and Brazil. Her dance practice is rooted in ritual dance expressions from AfroCaribbean/AfroBrazilian religious systems of deities called the Orichas/Orixas. Through ongoing innovative performances, in-depth workshops, dance intensives and trainings, Mullen expands the reach of African diasporic forms.
Mullen is among a select few artists and scholars who combine knowledge and technical excellence in ritual dance forms, culture, and histories. As the bearer of dance traditions through apprenticeship and ethnographic research, Mullen combines the influences of her training in traditional AfroCuban and AfroBrazilian dance styles with Silvestre technique to which she has devoted herself for over twenty years. Since receiving her Master of Arts degree from UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures Dept, in 2005, Mullen is a seasoned University dance professor. In 2013, she completed an 8- year Professorship at Occidental College and has guest lectured at various academic institutions including: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Loyola Marymount University, California State University of Los Angeles, Portland State University, Wesleyan College, UC Riverside, and St. Mary’s College. Mullen makes her knowledge of the healing and regenerating dimensions of dance accessible to a global audience through her teachings and her award winning international popular dance and fitness DVDs. She is also a leader in the field of dance ethnology for her development of culturally conscious art curricula and travel abroad immersion programs to Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Los Angeles Times has described her dancing as “spectacularly supple” since she infuses her dances with a remarkable ability to embody, interpret, and transmit the character of the archetypes of AfroCuban and AfroBrazilian deities called Orichas or
Orixas. Her choreographies, based on her practice of innovative improvisation, navigate her position as a performer of orisha dance in the interstice between Cuban and Brazilian dance communities. Her 2012 solo performance of Yemanja, Mother of the Deep featured live music by singer/songwriter Mia Doi Todd and composer and AfroCuban religious practitioner Alberto López.
Mullen continues to develop Yemanja, Mother of the Deep as a touring, full- length show through which she displays her unique ability to remake and reframe AfroCuban and AfroBrazilian traditional forms while remaining true to the legacies of the practitioners, performers, and communities that have mentored and molded her. As she moves from classroom to stage, she opens up new possibilities for health, spiritual practice, and cultural exchange.
Visit Kimberly's website at:
Facebook Global Community:
Brian L. Davis
Brian Lavern Davis was raised in Portland, Oregon, and his musical studies have taken him to India, Japan, New York, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Brazil. His teachers include Jorge Alabe, Jose Ricardo Santos & Ballet Folklorico do Bahia, Colin Walcott, Michael Spiro, Keith Terry, Los Muñequitos de Mantanzas, Bruno Moraes, Alex Rangel, (both from Mocidades Indepente de Padre Miguel), Jorge Martins (Maracatu Estrella Brilhante de Recife), and Nana Vasconcelos. Brian is the founder (with Derek Rieth and Andrew Hartzell) and director of the Lions of Batucada, an ever growing forty-some member Brazilian dance & percussion ensemble, and formed and directs the “Ainsworth Jr. Escola,” a 117-member Portland youth samba bateria. He has toured and/or recorded with Herbie Hancock, Kalapana, Upepo, Obo Addy, Dub Squad, Dan Reed Network and the show “BataKetu” among many others. He teaches body percussion and samba throughout the Northwest as part of the Young Audiences of Oregon and Washington program, teaches each Summer at the California Brazil Camp (2005 – present), and conducts samba workshop/residencies for a variety of baterias across the world.
Brian proudly plays Latin Percussion (LP) instruments.
Brian currently is touring with Pink Martini:
Miguel Bernal is a living encyclopedia of Cuban rhythms and folklore. At his grandmother’s side, Miguel was exposed to Lucumi (aka Santaria) traditions in his youth and developed a love for the traditions and rhythms. Trained by Pito El Gago, Miguel was the principal percussionist for 20 years with “Raices Profundas,” a folkloric dance company that served as the cultural ambassador from Cuba to the rest of the world. Committed to preserving the authentic integrity of Cuban rhythms, Miguel has taught at Universities throughout the US, teaching both folkloric and popular genres of percussion. As one of the founders of “Explorations in Afro Cuban Music and Dance,” he taught percussion at the Humboldt State sponsored camp for many years. Collaborating with other top notch percussionists, Miguel was featured in “Drum Jam” and “Caramelo,” and more recently in a series of folkloric recordings featuring Lazaro Pedroso, renowned Cuban singer and author. Although Miguel is based in the US, he continues to spend as much time as he can in Cuba with his family, and is still revered as one of the most sought after Bataleros (player of the sacred bata drums) from Havana.
Miguel is currently touring with Pink Martini: