Raices Profundas was founded in 1975 by Juan de Dios Ramos Morejon, as a small collective for cultural investigation and creative presentation of the dances, music and folkloric traditions of the Caribbean. Their first performances were in a community art center or “House of Culture” in Central Havana. In the years that followed, they performed in other “houses of culture” and public squares when invited.
In 1980, they became professionally recognized as a Company, and created a strong repertoire including all of different genres of dance and music in Cuban folklore. They started performing in important theaters and hotels to great acclaim. Their popularity grew, and they also appeared in television shows and films.
Their name “Raices Profundas” literally translates to “Deep Roots”. Their founding statement says: “Our group considers itself the heir of these traditions therefore we propose to make ourselves the vehicles to carry on this artistic fortune and cultural flow, promoting the knowledge and its renewal and spreading it throughout our country and….putting our shared cultural treasures on the world’s stage, representing Cuba through the universal language of art.”
The members of his company train intensively 5 days a week, 4 hours per day when they are not touring, and they work as much as 8 hours per day when they are in performing seasons. Director Juan de Dios explains that he selects his dancers not by their body type nor their physical condition, not by the amount of schooling they have had…instead he chooses people who he can see have the dance in their hearts and souls. He says that many of his dancers just came in from the streets, but that if he can see that passion in them, he doesn’t mind training them from scratch.
Their repertory includes:
Cuban Urban Folklore: Songs & Rhythms of Abakua, Yoruba, Arara, Palo, Iyesa, Tumba Francesa, Fandango de Trinidad, Rumba, Claves, Carnaval
Cuban Rural Folklore: Rumba de Campo, Caringa, Zapateo
Haitian Folklore: Gaga, Vudu
Cuban Popular Dances: Son, Danzon, Mambo, Cha cha cha, Casino….. and their signature Chancleta! (Traditional Cuban slipper “clogging” dance)
The full Company includes:
- Artistic Director & Choreographer, Juan de Dios Ramos
- 6 staff members for Administration, Production, and other functions
- 8 folkloric percussionists
- 3 folkloric vocalists
- 24 dancers (12 couples)
- They join forces with a 12-member orchestra when performing traditional and popular music live
Their International Tours have included: