What an honor it is to be part of this historic IU AADC delegation to participate in the Fiesta del Fuego in Santiago de Cuba!
I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to study dance history and more with Professor Iris Rosa and to be an African American Dance Company member in the early 1980s. The continuing growth and accomplishments of this distinguished educator and her students in subsequent years has been beautiful to watch and support.
As much as I love seeing this company onstage in Bloomington or Northwest Indiana, it is going to be amazing watching them collaborate and present abroad at this renowned international festival! The global connections they are making for IU and the U.S., through arts and educational exchanges like Jamaica, Beijing and now Cuba, are priceless.
I don’t know how many other collegiate dance ensembles achieve at this level.
The alumni and other faculty who are part of this travel team are extremely fortunate. I look forward to learning about the various cultures which will be represented, their dances and music (drumming especially!) and enjoying a first-hand experience of the island and its people, that many only dream of.
Halfway through Day 1: we are here on a long layover at the Miami airport awaiting a 3 a.m. check in, with luggage and dance bags, laptops and exams, (tired) smiles and great expectations for the upcoming cultural immersion.
Cuba, here we come!
— Vickie Casanova Willis, AAADS/IU/African American Dance Company Alumna