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Nerri Torres

Florida Folklife asked our artists a series of questions to learn more about their traditions and how those traditions have impacted their lives and the lives of those around them. Take a look at the answers we got from Nerri Torres below.Photo of Neri Torres, Conga IFE-ILE


What folk tradition(s) or traditional art(s) do you practice?

Afro-Cuban Dance

How did you learn those traditions?

I learned it within the context of my home, my neighborhood and alter at the School of Arts in Havana, Cuba.

Why is it important to maintain folk traditions?

Traditions such as dance are living embodied knowledge that have remained, through the years and from different generations. They are part of the cultural heritage of the people and as such, they serve as an inspiration to the creators of all times. Although they are dynamic tending to renew themselves over time, it is important to keep them exactly how they are as a testimony of collective cultural production. The fundamental reason is that they help to delineate the identity of the communities and to establish a sense of belonging and a way of being in the world. In addition, they are also ideal for creating links among other peoples as a vehicle for understanding and human tolerance in an era when technology seems to move us away from each other increasingly.

Photo of Nerri Torres
How did you first get involved with the Florida Folklife Program?

IFE-ILE got involved with the program during the first years of being founded exactly in 1998. In several programs, some of them organized in collaboration with the then-named Historical Museum of Southern Florida (today History Miami) such as the Florida Harvest Festival. The company also performed at the Florida Folk Festival.

What Florida Folklife Program projects have you participated in and/or what folklife awards have you received?

In March 2013, Neri Torres received the Florida Folk Heritage Award and served as the Folklife Artist-in-Residence in Tallahassee.

How has the Florida Folklife Program benefited you or what value does the program have?

I think the program allows artists to maintain a representation of the diversity and multiculturalism that characterizes the U.S. as a nation. In addition, it provides a space of multivocal expression to artists from all the communities that many of whom have a formal platform to display their talents and make themselves known.

How can the Florida Folklife Program better serve you?

I think it is important that the program also supports in disseminating and publicizing the activities that artists are doing in their communities. Hence, cultural continuities are reaffirmed and guaranteed.