Kati Hernandez

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Kati Hernandez brings to the United States her humble, yet explosive and uplifting energy. Kati's knowledge of dance and choreography reveals her intricate and versatile style, making her a highly sought-after performer, nationally and internationally.

A native of Cuba, Kati grew up surrounded by the sounds of the drum and the Afro-Cuban tradition. Her dance studies included folkloric, popular, modern, ballet, choreography, composition and staging. Her earlier performances include the Havana International Jazz Festival with Cuban stars such as Bobby Carcases and Chucho Valdez and the Bienal Internacional de la Habana with Afro-Cuban music and performance icon Mercedita Valdez and visual artist Manuel Mendive.

Kati's international journey began soon after graduating Cuba's National Art Schools where she went to Spain to tour with the well-known orchestra Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco. Kati's fiery, refined style awarded her the invitation to tour with several Cuban music and dance productions throughout Portugal, the Bahamas and Costa Rica, where she later resided for five years. This gave her the opportunity to refine her talents in teaching and choreographing dance, and to expand her range as an actor and dancer/choreographer for television. Kati also volunteered her time and skills teaching dance to children and young women in impoverished communities throughout Central America, empowering them to use dance as a medium for expressing emotions, experiences, hopes and dreams.

Following her extensive travels, Kati moved to the United States. In California she taken on the responsibility to teach and cultivate Afro-Cuban culture by producing regular events and workshops that create a community that bridges dance and music across cultures. She is the co-founder of KimBamBula Productionswhich produced "Essence of Cuba", a paramount reunion of Afro-Cuban masters in Los Angeles including members of the renowned group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas with California's finest Cuban folkloric masters. Kati recently created one of her dream projects, "Isupo Irawo", an ensemble of Legendary Afro-Cuban masters from around the world. This group features Maestro Lázaro Galarraga, one of the founding members of the Conjunto Folklorico de Cuba, who has been a lifelong inspiration to Kati, and recently a mentor to her development. Their most recent performances include the Esalen International Music and Dance Festival and the opening act for the world-renowned Brazilian jazz percussionistAirto Moreira at Avila Beach, CA.

Kati's other accomplishments in Los Angeles include: The Ford Amphitheater's popular Cuban music production of "La Charanga Cubana" and "Tropicana in Hollywood" where she was a choreographer, costume design advisor and production coordinator; the dance installation "Fire"directed by Judith Davis and presented at Pomona College; and UCLA's film project, "Raiz". In addition, She is praised for her tribute piece to legendary Afro-Cuban master percussionistFrancisco Aguabella at Esalen in Big Sur, CA.

Currently, Kati is the artistic director and choreographer of her own community-based, Afro-Cuban dance and music experimental project, "Dancing From the Heart". Eager to spread the roots of Cuban Salsa in L.A and nationwide, she is now the co-founder of Afro-Timba, a dance fitness program that she is currently touring Nationwide. Kati teaches dance classes at several southern California colleges and universities including the University of California, Irvine, as well as in many local studios throughout Los Angeles. She continues to tour, bringing her flavorful Afro-Cuban dynamite to national Afro-Cuban folkloric and salsa dance conferences such as Cuba Carrie in San Francisco, the Albert Torres' L.A. Salsa Congress, and many Casino Rueda regional festivals. Kati is known for her vibrant energy and flavor on the dance floor. When one begins to study with her they will see that this flavor comes from an in-depth knowledge of her culture and tradition.