afro-cuban-dance_web.jpgMIAMI — The Arts and Philosophy department at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Wolfson Campus will once again host the opening of the annual IFE-ILE Afro Cuban Dance Festival, 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15.

The kickoff event is free and open to the public at MDC Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Building 6, Room 6100. For tickets and other information visit or call 305-796-1125.

The nonprofit IFE-ILE, Inc. organization is dedicated to the preservation, promotion and cultivation of Afro-Cuban culture through the arts, seeking to develop cross-cultural understanding and to educate community members and visitors through traditional and contemporary dance, music performances, festivals, lectures, workshops and master classes.

The 15th annual IFE-ILE Afro Cuban Dance Festival kicks off with a panel titled Traditions and Contemporaneity, Cross-cultural Constructs and Mass Communication Relations, a video screening of Animales de la Música Cubana (Animals of Cuban Music) about the controversy of reggaeton on the island, followed by a live music performance.

Panelists will include Dr. Celeste Fraser-Delgado from Barry University, Dr. Jorge Morejon from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad-Tobago, Dr. Nzinga Metzger, and Neri Torres, MFA, IFE-ILE founder and professor at the University of the West Indies in Barbados.

The festival will include Afro Cuban dance and music workshops by some of the most talented Afro-Cuban artists in Florida. Special classes will be taught by Torres and renowned dancer/musician Fara Tolno at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 N.E. 59 Terr. 

Born in Guinea, West Africa, Tolno has traveled extensively performing and teaching both drumming and dance. He spent nine years as the lead drummer for Les Merveilles de Guinea (The Wonders of Guinea) under the tutelage of West Africa’s most influential director and choreographer, Kemoko Sano.

He has performed with some of the world’s premier musicians, including Mamady Keita, Burning Spear, Neil Young, Sekouba Bambino, Otis Taylor, Joe Cocker, Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita Habibe Koite, B.B. King, and Oumou Sangare.