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Susana Arenas Pedroso

Artistic Biography

Susana Arenas Pedroso was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, where she danced professionally for 8 years before coming to the United States in 1998. She studied and trained with some of the most renowned dance institutions in Cuba, including the Culture House of Matanzas and the National Folkloric Group of Havana. She spent 5 years dancing with Raices Profundas, one of Cuba's most respected folkloric dance companies, rising to the position of female soloist and traveling and performing throughout the country. Prior to this, Ms. Pedroso danced with the group folkloric group Alafia Ire, under the artistic direction of Luis "Aspirina" Chacon.For several years she danced with the experimental

groupOche Olorum, performing folkloric dance to poetic dialog. She also danced with the popular dance company Tierra Virgen. While in Cuba, Ms. Pedroso was cast in several full-length films, including the major role of Yunai in Steve Fagin's Tropicola and a role in the international co-production El Blanco de Los Espejuelos.

Ms. Pedroso recently founded her own popular dance troupe Salsa Sandunga that performs at local events throughout the Bay Area. She has participated as co-artistic director, choreographer and principal dancer in Omo Ache, a folkloric group founded by Carlos Aldama, an original, founding member of Cuba's National Folklore Group. In 2001 she formed a folkloric company, Olorun, which, under her direction and choreographing, was featured in the Ethnic Dance Festival at the University of San Francisco and "People Like Me", with public performances in San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco. She has also performed and taught independently at various venues throughout California, Ohio, Hawaii and Arizona. She most recently performed with the folkloric group Omo Oddara, an all-star line-up of Cuban talent, traveling throughout the Western United States under the organization and direction of the non-profit organization First Day Project. She also performed in West Side Story for the Mountain Play Theater's 1999 season.

Ms. Pedroso has travelled throughout the U.S. to conduct dance workshops. She has taught classes in folklore and popular dance in the Bay Area since her arrival in 1998. She has also taught classes to children in Berkeley, Richmond and San Francisco. For the past 3 years, Ms. Pedroso has been invited to teach at Humboldt State University's Explorations in Afro-Cuban folklore, a workshop put on every summer by the university.

Ms. Pedroso has been a recipient of the Artists in Residence grant from the California Arts Council for the years 2001 and 2002. She currently teaches ongoing classes at Dance Mission in San Francisco and Studio Beat in Berkeley.

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