Photo by RJ Muna
Cunamacué was founded in 2010 in Oakland, California by Carmen Román — dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, and educator –– born in Lima, Peru, with the purpose of bringing visibility to the presence and cultural knowledge of the African descendant population in Peru. Cunamacué brings awareness of Peru’s African descendants by sharing their deep cultural history through music and dance. Cunamacué promotes the continuity of Afro-Peruvian culture, representing it as a living, vibrant and evolving form whose music and dance can be used as a means of contemporary expression. A reflection of the San Francisco Bay Area, Cunamacué’s movement vocabulary is deeply rooted in Afro-Peruvian dance and uses movements from modern dance and other dances of the African Diaspora to communicate our themes.
Cunamacué contributes to a more just world by amplifying the history, culture, voices, and ideas of African descendants from Peru using music and dance as the vehicle for transformation. We aim to bring free or low cost high quality arts programs to communities of color, youth and adults, as we believe everyone should have equitable access to quality arts education.
In 2012 Cunamacué traveled to Peru to perform in Kutuká, an Afro-Peruvian festival in Cañete, and at the National Afro-Peruvian Museum in Lima. We were presented with an award during this trip for our contribution in the rescue and promotion of Afro-Peruvian culture by the City of Cañete. In 2014 our original choreography and musical composition “Spirit, Fertility, Rhythm, and Flavor” was selected out of over 100 auditions to perform at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. We have been featured artists at CubaCaribe’s Festival in the years 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2020 (virtual). Cunamacué’s site specific performance in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland was featured in the “In Dance” article “Carmen Román and Son de los Diablos”, and Cunamacué was later invited to perform in Dancer’s Group Rotunda Dance Series. Our latest iteration of Son de los Diablos as depicted in Huellas, was featured in In Dance in the article “Afro-Peruvian Resilience and Empowerment Through the Dance Son de los Diablos” published in September 2022. In 2019 Cunamacué was commissioned to choreograph new work that debuted at Worlds Arts West’s San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Our artistic director Carmen Román, and producer Pierr Padilla, were awarded ACTA’s apprenticeship program in 2020 to further Carmen’s studies in Marinera Limeña– Perú’s national dance. Cunamacué has produced documentaries including “Herencia de un Pueblo” which was awarded Best Cinematography and Best Documentary at the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. Since 2020 we have been in collaboration with Oakland’s Afro-Peruvian Fest, the first and only Afro-Peruvian festival outside of Peru, through performances, teaching classes, and sponsoring concerts based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Our programs include Afro- Peruvian dance and music residencies in schools and free after-school programs in low-income population schools serving Black and Brown youth. We offer free family dance classes throughout the Bay Area in libraries and other community spaces. We offer two 1-week Summer Camp sessions for ages 5 - 11 that includes Afro-Peruvian music and dance, visual arts, and cooking. Our offerings also include Afro-Peruvian music and dance workshops in the community, and performances with original choreographies and musical compositions such as our current project, Huellas.
Current and past funders include: the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Akonadi Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Alliance for California Traditional Arts, California Arts Council through their Cultural Pathways program and General Operating Support, National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, and the Fleishhacker Foundation.
Photo by Kyle Adler
Founder & Director
Photo by Kyle Adler
Pierr Padilla Vasquez