Every month, Andy Horowitz heads to North Carolina for dance practice. He's the co-founder and current president of Galumpha, a dance trio that has been stunning audiences for five years with seemingly impossible poses. He still lives in Binghamton, N.Y., but both of his partners now live in the Triangle.
One of those partners is Marlon Torres, who brings a heavy Latin influence to the troupe. Torres is from Venezuela, where he was a television star as a member of a dance ensemble. Torres arrived in North Carolina last year to teach children with North Carolina Arts in Action. Dywon Fisher, a Chapel Hill dancer who's worked with performers like 50 Cent, is the newest member. He's replacing Horowitz's longtime partner, who just danced his final Galumpha show.
All three men have noticeably distinct styles and experiences, translating it all into the "human architecture" for which they're known. Galumpha uses modern dance and extreme acrobatic techniques to toy with their audience's perception of physics. Crowds most often wonder how they do what they do. It's not easy.
"For every 60 seconds of finished choreography, we put in about 40 hours of rehearsal time," Horowitz explains. "I'll be flying down a few days ... and we'll be practicing very, very efficiently."
This week, Horowitz is in town to practice and perform. He's here for the Fiesta Latina, a Chatham County festival that's been presented by the county's Hispanic Liaison for the last six years. While the name of the festival is Spanish, the goal of the festival is to break barriers of language and culture: Brothers & Others, an R&B/gospel mix that have been together 15 years, is scheduled to perform, alongside Bravo Norteño, a Latin American band that has been producing records for almost 10 years. Braco, a band that mixes Latin rock and jazz, are on the bill, alongside Divisa Nacional and a fleet of activities for kids.
But, in a way, Galumpha represents what's best about Fiesta Latina. These are three very different people who have come together to share movement, to create. Shakori Hills co-director and Fiesta Latina co-coordinator Jordan Puryear hopes that such entertainment can be a unifier among the different classes and nationalities in the Triangle, especially as the area's Latino population continues to grow.
"When people share a performance, they're seeing the same thing and then sort of feeling the same feelings, and that tends to bring people together," says Puryear. "Music and art, it's really helpful. The Latino and Hispanic community is a large part of the bigger community. For the future, and the health of the community, it's really important to get along."
Torres has a lighter take on the topic, but he's aware of the power that communal performances can have: "Partying is one of the many things Latinos do well. We Latinos are an inclusive, warm and energetic group of individuals," he says. "Fiesta Latina is an opportunity to show the best of ourselves, to shake hands with our extended family, to show our support for one another and foster a sense of unity and respect."
Fiesta Latina begins at noon Saturday, June 23, at Shakori Hills. The festival is free for all ages with a parking fee of $1 per car. The event also includes the crowning of Miss Chiquita and Miss Fiesta Latina Queen, as well as a raffle, activities for kids including piñatas, a moonwalk, face painting, crafts and an animal exhibit from the Museum of Life and Science. For more, visit www.hispanicliaison.org or call 742-1448.