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Marisol Blanco

2024 Heritage Award Winner


Marisol Blanco has spent her life teaching and performing Afro-Cuban arts and culture. She started dancing in her native Cuba at the age of five, and by sixteen she was teaching Afro-Cuban dance classes. She concordantly learned bata, the syncopated ritual drumming style traditionally only taught to men, and became a member of Obini Bata, Cuba's first female percussion ensemble. In 2008, Marisol completed an MFA in Dance at the Cuban Superior Arts Institute. Shortly after, Marisol left Cuba to care for her family in the United States.  Due to the political conflict between the United States and Cuba, Marisol lost her master's degree. Despite this setback, she persevered and made Miami her permanent home. In 2009, Marisol founded the organization “Sikan Afrocuban Dance Project”. Originally a music therapy group, it has grown to become a dance company that performs traditional dance with Marisol throughout Florida and the United States. She served as a master artist in the 2013 Florida Folklife Apprenticeship program. This opportunity provided Marisol a push forward in her career as a folkloric artist, introducing her to a broader academic audience in her new home of Miami and across the United States.