Homage to Sylvia del Villard Next Week at Centro

Please join us next Wednesday, June 10th, for Puerto Afrika: A Homage to Sylvia Del Villard. Centro is very pleased to be co-hosting this event with Fundación Paso Negro and the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. The program is a tribute to Sylvia del Villard with three musical groups, poets, and dancers recreating the piece she was working on before her death—musical and dance piece set to the words of poet Luis Palés Matos.

Sylvia del Villard (February 28, 1928 – February 28, 1990) was an actress, dancer, choreographer and Afro-Puerto Rican activist.

Among the theater productions in which Del Villard participated in Puerto Rico and abroad are: La Muerte (Death), La Tempestad (The Storm) and Let My People Go. She danced as a ballerina in the following American productions: Valley Without Echo, Witches of Salem, The Boyfriend, The Crucible and Kwamina. In Puerto Rico she joined the Afro-Boricua Ballet. With the ballet she participated in the following Afro-Puerto Rican productions, Palesiana y Aquelarre and Palesianisima.

In 1968, she founded the Afro-Boricua El Coqui Theater, which was recognized by the Panamerican Association of the New World Festival as the most important authority of Black Puerto Rican culture. The Theater group was given a contract which permitted them to present their act in other countries and in various universities in the United States.

Del Villard's favorite poet was Luis Palés Matos. In 1970, she established a theater/school in San Juan and named it after him. She moved back to New York where she founded a new theater group which she named Sininke. In 1981, she became the first and only director of the office of the Afro-Puerto Rican affairs of the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture. She was known to be an outspoken activist who fought for the equal rights of the Black Puerto Rican artist.

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