The name Cunamacué is a reminder that the work we do is based on ancestral roots, one to be left to future generations. The word Macué is representative of the ancestors; it is a stream in Mozambique, one of the places from which Africans were uprooted and taken to Perú. Cuna is the Spanish word for crib, representing future generations.
Cunamacué was founded in 2010 by Carmen Román in Oakland, California with the purpose of bringing visibility to the presence and cultural knowledge of the African descendant population in Peru. The company promotes the continuity of Afro-Peruvian culture, representing it not as a point in time, but as a living, vibrant and evolving form whose music and dance can be used as a means of contemporary expression. We aim to be an incubator of Afro-Peruvian culture through dance and music performances, choreographies, documentaries, educational programs in schools, workshops, and dance publications.
Our choreographies are deeply rooted in Afro-Peruvian dance vocabulary and also use movements inspired by other dances of the African Diaspora and modern dance using the practice as an art form and vehicle for self-expression.
Carmen is a dancer, choreographer, educator, filmmaker, scholar, and the founding artistic director of Cunamacué. Raised both in Lima, Peru, and the San Francisco Bay Area her work is deeply rooted in Afro-Peruvian dance vocabulary and also uses movements inspired by other dances of the African Diaspora and modern dance.
Carmen's article, “The Danced Spirituality of African Descendants in Peru”, was published in a special edition of the African Performance Review (2013). In 2015-2016 Carmen was awarded a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship in Dance to Peru to research Afro-Peruvian dance through practice, performance, and observation. Her dance documentary “Herencia de Un Pueblo (Inheriting a Legacy )” shot in El Carmen, Peru, was awarded Best Documentary and Best Cinematography at the San Francisco Dance Film Festival (2016) and has screened in various cities across the U.S. and internationally in England, Tanzania, and Canada. In 2018 she was part of NYFA’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. In 2019 she was awarded the Mythili Kumar Emerging Artist Award and was commissioned to create new work for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival.
Carmen has been teaching dance for over ten years to children and adults in the Bay Area and in rural communities in El Salvador and Peru. She holds a B.A. in Dance from San Francisco State University and an MFA in Dance from Mills College.