P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2001
June 28, 2001
Merengue Dance Party Heats Up MASS MoCA July 28
A cousin of salsa with Afro-Caribbean roots, Merengue features a driving drumbeat, frantic accordion and screaming saxophone. The style originated in rural areas of the island of the Dominican Republic and had its golden age from the 1930s through the 1960s during the rulership of president Rafaelo Trujillo who promoted Merengue as a form of national expression. The music prospered, and larger Merengue orchestras with piano and brass sections were established to cater to a growing audience. Merengue eventually became synonymous with big bands and dance halls. Despite the change in instruments, the basic rhythm and tone of Merengue has changed very little. Diaz describes it as "the fastest, most exciting music there is. It's a bit like dancing on a roller coaster!"
The oldest of seven children, Joaquin Diaz's music career began on the streets of the Dominican Republic's capital city when he was nine years old. Diaz was playing every night at Santo Domingo's best hotels by the time he was 12. Today, Diaz's exhilarating syncopated rhythms and deep tropical vocals have established his reputation as a Merengue master. Diaz will be accompanied by Juan Romero on bass, Morris Salazar on congas, Ramon Ortiz on tambora drums, and Tabaré Filippini on guira.
Dance instructor Teresa Castano, the dance instructor from MASS MoCA's Salsa Dance Party last summer, is a lifelong Latin dancer and promoter of Latin dance in western Massachusetts. Originally from Colombia, Castano has been teaching Latin dance for the past four years and currently hosts dances at the International Dance Club in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.
MASS MoCA's Dance Party series is co-sponsored by Old Saddleback Brewing Company and the Holiday Inn Berkshires. The Merengue Dance Party is also supported by Hoosac Bank, True North, and Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan and Collins Insurance Agency.
Tickets to the Merengue Dance Party are $12 for adults and $6 for kids. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office at 1040 MASS MoCA Way in North Adams from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. daily. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org. Dominican dinner and special drinks will be available before the party starting at 6:00 and throughout the evening.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release