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Canvas of Words ‘Preserving Our Roots’ Interview with Carmen Taveras-Molina

Canvas of Words ‘Preserving Our Roots’ Interview with Carmen Taveras-Molina

Happy Friday all!!!

I hope you had a great week doing what you love!!

So, I’m back to give you this week’s poet that will be gracing the stage at this year’s Canvas of Words-Preserving Our Roots, October 11! Her name is Carmen Taveras-Molina who is heavily involved in the arts by way of dance and writing. Carmen Taveras- Molina carries music in her soul; she expresses it through the rhythmic flows using her body, and creatively through writing and poetry! She shares her passion with the youth because she is aware that our youth need to preserve their history. As we know music is much part of our history and culture, it’s important to our community. She is definitely leaving a legacy. You’ll see.

Carmen Taveras- Molina was ‘introduced to the art of dance in 1998.Taking beginner salsa classes at “La Salsa De Hoy” in Sunset Park, Brooklyn she quickly joined their elite dance team, “The Revelation Dancers” which was directed by Cecilia Williams. Under Cecilia’s tutelage, Carmen was introduced to and mastered Rumba, Jazz, and Hip Hop. In 2003, she joined the world renowned Santo Rico Dance Company, which expanded her mastery and love for Salsa. Carmen had been involved in several regional projects with Santo Rico, as well as international performances in Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, South Korea, and Canada. Carmen served as the Director of the Santo Rico Kids Program for two years, and the “SantoRiquitas”, the program’s all-girls team. In 2011, Carmen took a break from instructional work to pursue a Master’s degree in School Counseling at Brooklyn College. She has since resumed dancing, currently training with Nelson Flores’ Descarga Latina / Ritmo y Sabor. In addition to being a dancer, instructor, and student, Carmen is an endeavoring writer inspired by her Latino culture, mujeres guerreras, and love – in all of its forms.’

Here are my three questions for her. Please enjoy!!

Beauty, Brains and Blogging: Please let us know about yourself, the work you do, your poetry, and what moves you?

Carmen Molina- Taveras: Dominican York born and raised in – PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn – one of the only Dominican deprived NYC boroughs in the 80’s. I am concurrently working as a development coordinator at a school that serves children with autism while finishing up my School Counseling Graduate Degree. When there’s free time I dance (rehearsals, dance classes, social dancing, etc.) – it’s what keeps me sane and balanced.

As far as writing goes, well its been happening in spurts for over a decade. Strangely enough when I write, its usually in Spanish. I find Spanish to be so much more expressive. I’m a novice and have only recently started to share my work. Most of what I’ve written has been reflections of personal relationships, about unrequited love, desire, fear, emotion and my experiences in trying to navigate between the Dominican and American culture.

BBB: Can you tell us a little bit about your connection with Wendy Angulo and what led you to be a part of Canvas of Words – Preserving Our Roots?

C.M.T.: Three words PEGGY ROBLES-ALVARADO! To know her is to alter your life. And when Peggy invites you to be part of an event – no is not an option. No didn’t even cross my mind and I’m glad it didn’t. It’s an incredible opportunity to be part of such an event, particularly one that promotes the preservation and celebration of our roots that feeds our pride for who we are and gives us a platform to share it with others.

BBB: The theme is Preserving Our Roots – is this an important topic as an artist to expand upon? Can you please share with us a snippet of what you will be bringing to Canvas of Words October 11?

C.M.T.: I wish that topics such as these were discussed when I was younger, it would’ve helped with a pseudo identity crisis! As artists I feel as if we hold a responsibility to share our experiences and help others, especially our youth to feel a sense of pride and propel them to continue to learn about and preserve their traditions, their costumbres without a drop of shame.

For me it took quite some time for me to comfortably appreciate and embrace our music. Of course this was during adolescence when all I wanted to do was blend in. Thankfully, I came around and thoroughly appreciate what I once considered NOISE – Salsa, Merengue, Bachata y musica latina.

For Preserving Our Roots, I am working on a piece that speaks of my personal “awakening” – from detesting and rejecting our music to embracing it and allowing it to take me on the best journey of my life as a salsa dancer.

Still in its drafting stage, here is a very short snippet:

Adonde hay percusión – ahi he nacido yo
Conga, tambora y guira
Ha sido mi salvación
Esta alma apócrifa encontró valor
en el “cutun plah” de la conga
con un latente ritmo y fervor

See what I mean!!! Her fluidity in her responses has captured my attention!! And the snippet of her poem… what?! It is true what people say, Spanish is the language that is felt in your core!! And I felt it in that snippet. It is magic. I don’t know about y’all but I am looking forward to seeing her perform on October 11 because she is using poetry to show how music is part of preserving our roots! 😉


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About Andreina Garcia

I am an educator, lover of books, lover of words and anything that stimulates my mind. I am a member of the NYC Latina Writers Group who is currently working on the story of her life.
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