Danys “La Mora” Pérez
Founding Director/Artistic Director
2019 Dance/USA Doris Duke Fellow Recipient
Danys Pérez is invested in dance and in spreading the power of culture, art and history. Her work aims to please the eye and to enrich the mind, body and soul.
Originally from Santiago de Cuba, Danys “La Mora” Pérez is a master of Afro-Cuban folkloric dance. Pérez is a dancer, teacher, dance ethnologist and choreographer who specializes in the styles of the Oriente province, a region whose culture infuses Afro-Haitian influences into an Afro-Cuban context. At 13, she joined Ballet Folklorico Cutumba and toured internationally for 18 years. She earned the highest designation of primera bailarina and primera profesora.
While with Cutumba, she founded Adiro Omode, a children’s dance company. Its alumni perform as professionals in Cuba. In 1998, Pérez founded the original Oyu Oro, a troupe of professional and amateur dancers.
Pérez taught in Italy, Spain, France and Canada as well as Brown University, Cornell University, University of Wisconsin, University of New Mexico, Wayne State University, University of Michigan and Tulane University.
Katherine Dunham invited Pérez to her East Saint Louis seminars. This icon's invitation led to the inaugural performance of Detroit’s Museum of African American History.
In 2005, La Mora founded Oyu Oro, an Afro-Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble in New York. The company has performed in New York City including at BAM’s DanceAfrica. It has performed in cities such as Denver, Miami, New Orleans, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Oyu Oro participated in dance events in Havana and Santiago de Cuba.
In 2010, she established the Dos Aguas Dance Program, a study of culture for enthusiasts to learn in Cuba.
Pérez has taught dance classes in New York, including at The Ailey Extension and Cumbe African & Diaspora Dance & Drum.
Danys "La Mora" Pérez is invested in dance and in spreading the power of culture, art and history. Her work aims to please the eye and to enrich the mind, body and soul.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Beat of the Boroughs
ABC News’ “Soul of a Nation” during its airing of “Corazon de America: Celebrating Hispanic Culture.”