Grupo Atlantico Performs at CMU

Offers folk dance and music of Colombia and the Caribbean

An enthusiastic and exhilarating program is anticipated when Grupo Atlantico performs this weekend at Central Methodist University. They will appear Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m. at the Little Theatre on the CMU campus in Fayette.

The dance and music program is free and open to the public.

Grupo Atlantico was established by Carmen Dence, who grew up in Colombia surrounded by the folk lore and music of South America and the Caribbean. To say the troupe is a hobby of hers would be an understatement. It is a passion and a love.

This love of Dence's life encompasses folklore and music. She brings the Hispanic culture—Spanish, African, and native South American—to North America through its folk arts. She founded Grupo Atlantico dance troupe in 1999.

The dancer-musicians visit elementary and high schools, colleges and universities, as well as festivals, to perform and to lead workshops in Colombian Caribbean dances. Often they recreate carnivals, including masks, flags, and costumes, which are made by Dence who has a certificate in fashion design from Washington University.

Surprisingly, dance was not Dence's first passion. She fell in love with chemistry while she was still in high school. She received a degree in pharmaceutical sciences at Universidad del Atlantico in Barranquilla, Colombia. She earned her master's in organic chemistry in Florida State University where her thesis advisor eventually became her third love—and her husband, Joseph.

They eventually moved to St. Louis where both work at Washington University, she in pharmacology and radiology, especially using positron emission tomography (PET); and he in gynecology and obstetrics.

The Grupo Atlantico production is sponsored by CMU's Cultural Affairs Committee, Student Government Association, and financially sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.


Posted March 31, 2014