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About Us

The Colombian Folkloric Ballet (CFB), a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization, was formed in 1983 to promote and preserve the Colombian culture among the youth of the growing Colombian community of the Greater Houston area. Through education, folkloric performances (dance, music and creative expression) and presentation of cultural programs, all year-round, for audiences of all ages and backgrounds, CFB’s mission is to create an open forum of cultural exchange, and disseminate the unique Colombian culture in the United States, particularly in the Greater Houston area.

CFB’s high artistic and cultural merit is recognized through numerous invited cultural performances staged at renowned auditoriums throughout the USA. The CFB, selected among numerous nation-wide competitive companies, performed at the award show central of the prime-time 9th Latin Grammy held at the Houston’s Toyota Center on November 13, 2008 with a telecast aired to 30 countries for an estimated 80-million world-wide audience. This was Houston’s greatest worldwide cultural exposure in the most recent years. Videos show the vibrant standing ovation, including from all celebrities present, from the start-to-end of the CFB unique performance (ultimately the sole company representing Houston talent) which broke records of the Latin Grammy.

CFB has brought from Colombia numerous well-known artists as visiting choreographers to help stage its two-hour folkloric performance entitled “Mi Colombia” (formerly, "Colombia Unica"). "Mi Colombia” has been performed in several major American cities and is presented with a renewed repertoire annually at the Houston’s Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Through dances and music, the spectator is visually transported to the five different regions that typify the Colombian dance and music: the Andes, the Atlantic Coast, the Eastern Plains, the Pacific Coast, and the Amazons.

Active year-round, CFB provides 12 hours per week of intensive training in folkloric ballet as well as classical ballet, modern dances, and jazz to approximately 30 dancers, included among them exceptional at-risk youth and professional dancers from different ethnic backgrounds of the multicultural communities of Houston. In addition to weekly dance classes and numerous performances, CFB dancers are taken regularly to performances of the Houston Ballet and Houston Theater District Broadway musicals to enhance their training in dance. In keeping with its mission to create an open forum for cultural exchange, CFB has members of different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.


Directors




EBERTO "TIKO" AMADOR

Chief Executive Director and Executive Producer

Former Consul of Colombia in Houston and Secretary of the Colombian Embassy in Madrid, Spain, holds as B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from the Universidad de America in Bogotá, Colombia, and a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Houston, and is a PhD candidate. In addition to his formal engineering education, Mr. Amador received training as a Folklore Investigator by the famous Professor Guillermo Abadia and the well known choreographer and pioneer of Colombian folklore, Ms. Delia Zapata Olivella. Mr. Amador has experienced the life, culture, and folklore of several countries including Angola, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and other Latin American countries where he has lived. He is or has been a member of Board of Directors of numerous non-profit organizations in Houston and a panelist for the Houston Arts Alliance grant programs in several occasions. Mr. Amador, based in Houston, is a Senior Project Manager for the City of Houston’s General Services Department and a former Chair for the City of Houston Major’s International Trade and Development Council-Americas. He has 2 sons, Luis Alejandro (BA Architecture – University of Houston) and Oswaldo “Osvy” Enrique (BS Economics – Texas A&M University).


PRISCILLA RIVAS

Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dance Instructor

Born in Houston, Priscilla spent part of her childhood in Cali, Colombia and surrounded herself always with the music, dance and vibrant culture. As a young teenager, Priscilla took classes in ballet, modern, jazz and hip hop. At 17, she joined the Colombian Folkloric Ballet where she trained in authentic Colombian rhythms and other various Latin/African styles. In 2004, she was promoted to Assistant Artistic Director and in 2008 became the Artistic Director for which she takes pride in sharing a positive image of her beloved country, Colombia. Priscilla also broadened her dance horizons by learning belly dancing and creating a unique fusion of Arabic and Latin dance style which she incorporates into her shows. Priscilla holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Houston, a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Houston. She proudly works as a principal in the Houston Independent School District. She is happily married to Sina Tazhed.


JAIRO ALBERTO LASTRE

Guest Artistic Director

One of the most prominent and talented dancers that has come from Colombia, began his dance training at age of nine at Incolballet in Cali. In 1986 he joined the Ballet de Cali as a Principal Dancer. In 1990, he was a scholarship recipient with the Houston Ballet Academy while being the Artistic Director of the USA’s Colombian Folkloric Ballet. Since his arrival as Guest Artistic Director, Mr. Lastre has transformed The Colombian Folkloric Ballet by raising the artistic level and infusing the company with new energy and vision, and introducing new choreographies to the repertoire. Mr. Lastre is one of the most sought-after choreographers of his generation in Colombia having created works for prestigious ballet companies and educational institutions as Incolballet, Ballet Santiago de Cali, Universidad Javeriana, and Instituto de Cultura y Turismo de Bogota. He has also served as Artistic Director of Ballet Santiago de Cali and Ballet Ciudad de Bogota, and choreographer for a variety of musicals. He is the proud father of Miguel Angel and Juliana.


CLAUDIA KISTLER

Associate Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dance Instructor

Claudia is a native of Monterrey, Mexico and a gold medal winner of the Guadalajara National Ballet Competition (1996) and 3rd place in the International Ballet Competition of Havana, Cuba (1997). She graduated from the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza in Monterrey. Claudia has danced professionally with the Compania Nacional de Danza of Mexico City where she joined as Corps de Ballet and later on performed Soloist roles. From 2000 to 2014 she danced for Ballet de Monterrey where she initially joined as Soloist, then promoted to Senior Soloist, and later on reached the top rank of Prima Ballerina. At Ballet de Monterrey she danced principal roles in the major classical ballets of world’s renowned choreographers including, among others, The Sleeping Beauty, Swank Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, La Bayadere, Coppelia, Flamas de Paris, Diana and Acteon, and Carmen. Her professional dancer career has allowed her to perform in Mexico, United States and Europe. Claudia has appeared in television in Mexico as a presenter, dancer and choreographer for television programs. She has taught and choreographed for Gym Condesa, Dalirys Dance Studio, Freeman Dance Studio, Ballet de Monterrey School, Laeral Dance and Performing Arts Academy, Colombian Folkloric Ballet, Metropolitan Dance (MET), Dance Dynamics, Houston Independent School District’s Crocket Elementary, and Artisan School of Dance. Claudia has prepared dancers for competitions where they have been awarded gold and silver medals in solo, duo, trio and group categories. Claudia retired from dancing after playing the principal dancer leading role in the Colombian Folkloric Ballet’s acclaimed production of Mi Colombia. She is the proud mother of Damian.


CATALINA VANEGAS

Associate Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dance Instructor

Born and raised in Miami, Florida in a Colombian household. At an early age, she joined Danzas Folkloricas de Anita Herrero where she danced for 15 years. Additionally, she joined Grupo Andino, Corazon Colombiano, and later on Quillami, a dance company mainly focused on dances for Carnaval de Barranquilla. Through these different companies, Catalina was able to perform with international renowned artists including Orquesta Guayacan, Joe Arroyo, Carlos Vives, and Fanny Lu, among others. Catalina also joined a magnet program for the performing arts where she studied musical theatre for 7 years. She attended a myriad of conferences and competitions with the Miami Northwestern PAVAC Touring Company and was awarded a full ride scholarship to several universities. Catalina attended Nova Southeastern University where she was an active participant in the dance program, the theatre program, two scholarship based choirs, and was captain and one of the founding members of the athletic collegiate dance team. She was the first sophomore casted in a main role as Snoopy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and the first non-dance major to be awarded the best overall dancer as a freshman. Catalina graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a minor in Theatre in 2015. Shortly after graduation, Catalina moved to Houston for an employment opportunity in finance and started teaching dance in 4 different academies and studios and dancing with the Colombian Folkloric Ballet. In 2016, she became certified as a Fraud Examiner and in 2017 graduated with her Master’s degree in Forensic Accounting from Florida Atlantic University. She is engaged to Mondy Dormil.


ANGEL LAZA

Choreographer and Dance Instructor

Mr. Laza started his ballet training at the Escuela Vocacional de Arte Raúl Sánchez in 1997 and continued at the Escuela Cubana de Ballet in Havana, Cuba. He joined Ballet Nacional de Cuba and danced soloist roles in different countries in Latin America and Europe. Some of his teachers at the Escuela Cubana de Ballet and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba include Mirtha Hermida, Ramona de Saa, Fernando Alonso, Loipa Araujo, Josefina Mendez and Alicia Alonso. In June 2003 he joined Ballet de Monterrey as a Soloist and December 2007 he was promoted as Principal Dancer until 2013 when he moved to the United States. In June 2010, Mr. Laza was part of the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi where he was a semifinalist. While in the United States, Mr. Laza has danced as guest artist for numerous companies including Arizona Ballet, Canyon Concert Ballet, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Houston Grand Opera, and Colombian Folkloric Ballet. In 2014 he danced as Principal Dancer for Ballet Spartanburg. Some of the leading roles in classical repertoire Mr. Laza danced with Ballet de Monterrey include La Bayadere, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Coppelia, Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. He has starred in modern ballets including Western Symphony, Assai, Sinergia, Uma Batida Diferente, Huapango, Danson and Esencia. Currently, Mr. Laza is the Artistic Director of Artisan Dance Company of Cypress, Texas. He is the proud father of Damian.


JOSE ROBERTO CUBIAS

Assistant Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dance Instructor

Born in El Salvador, Jose Roberto was introduced to dance at a young age participating in many local dance concerts and festivals. Eventually, he became instructor to the teachers who instructed him as a young child. Roberto joined the Colombian Folkloric Ballet in 1997 as a Soloist Dancer and promoted to Principal in 2000. He has extensive experience in folkloric dances from several Latin American countries having participated with many local Folkloric Groups including, among others, Argentina, Peru, Panama, Mexico, and El Salvador. In addition to working as a certified professional massager, Roberto is currently choreographing and teaching salsa and zumba classes to several groups and institutions in the Greater Houston Area. He is happily married to Jenny Gimenez and proud father of their children Nathan and Evangeline.


BRYAN NORTIN

Lighting Director

Mr. Norton is happy to be designing his fourth show for the Colombia Folkloric Ballet. His previous work includes: Theatre Under The Stars: The Stephen Schwartz Project; Miller Outdoor Theatre: Dance Asia America’s Splendid China, The 11th Annual Houston Grand Taiko Festival; Main Street Theater: Intimate Apparel; NOVA Arts Project: Hamlet, Oedipus³; Tomball Collage: Moon Over Buffalo, The Heidi Chronicles, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Crimes of the Heart; and at the University of Houston: Raisin in the Sun, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged].




Dancers

Artistic Director


Assistant Artistic Director


Associate Artistic Director


Associate Artistic Director


Choreographer


Guest Artist


Guest Artist


Guest Artist


Dancer


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CFB Board of Directors


OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

President and Executive Director


Treasurer


Secretary


Hiroshi Awata   •   Antonio Delgado   •   Leslie C. Mendez   •   Krish Ravishankar   •   Alejandra Varghese


ADVISORY COMMITTE

Carlos Acosta Daniel E. Arenas  |   Breatriz Trillos-Ballerini    |   Mariella de Jong   |   Lucho Florez   |   Antonio R. Grijalva
  Ken Harder   |   Eduardo R. Nunez   |   Grace Olivares   |   John Tang   |   Elio Tortolero