Ana Maria & Joaquin (1999)
Memories of 1st workshop with Joaquin Nieves, Guateque (1999)
"I had the honor of spending several days with Joaquin Nieves and his 23
year old dance company, Guateque Ballet Folklorico de Puerto Rico, on one of my
pilgrimages back to Puerto Rico. I went, secure in my knowledge of
"Seis Chorreao," yearning to learn more of our "bailes de los montañas"
(our mountain dances). What better man to learn them from than this
Director from Corozal, a tiny town in the mountains of Puerto Rico!
Before this trip, I could only imagine the beautiful dances one could dance
to the many styles of Jibaro music. A live performance and a workshop later,
I learned that my imagination was not big enough! What creativity! And the
mountain dances kept on coming!"
Joaquin, my now long time friend
and teacher came to Austin in 2003 to give PRFDance a master workshop
and joined us for a our season-ending performance of
Joaquin and members of Guateque also joined us for our
Celebrando 2007 - 10th Anniversary Maestros Reunion performance.
See our website photo album.]
Guateque Ballet Folklorico de Puerto Rico
Founded in 1976 by its current director and choreographer Joaquin
Nieves Caldero, Guateque is a 40-plus member performing company of dancers
and musicians based in the small moutain town of Corozal. It has presented
itself at different cultural centers, fairs, public squares, schools,
universities and in other private celebrations around the Island under the
auspices of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. It has also been
supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Puerto Rican
Considered as one of the most authentic groups in its expression of the
Puerto Rican folkloric art, Guateque has represented Puerto Rico in
different international folkloric festivals in Central and South America,
the United States and Europe. Guateque de PR has succeded in intergrating
the serious research, the collective work and the creativity in order to
hold performances full of rhythm, art, spice and color.
Puerto Ricans express who they are and the way they feel through music
and song. Guateque Folkloric Ballet of Puerto Rico in its touring around
the Island and abroad has always left in every place a beautiful and
authentic remembrance of the history of Puerto Rico.
Joaquin Nieves Caldero
Founding Director & Choreographer
Joaquin Nieves Caldero was born in Corozal, Puerto Rico. Since his youth
his passion for the arts and dance, led to him becoming a poet as early as
high school. During his years as a student at the University of Puerto
Rico, Joaquin was a member of the group "Retablo Puertoriqueno". It is
here where he solidified his interest in folkloric dance and visualized his
hometown of Corozal becoming a model for Puerto Rican culture.
Inspired by the island's culture and Puerto Rican folklore, in 1976 Joaquin
founded "Guateque Ballet Folklorico de Puerto Rico". In 1984 he founded the
Escuela de Bailes Guateque offering classes in jazz, folkloric music and
dance to middle and high school students.
Joaquin is the artistic director, choreographer, costume designer, and
visionary of Guateque. In his ballets he recreates the past, giving
careful attention not only to the authenticity of the music and dance
steps, but to details ranging from the accuracy of period and regional
costuming. The authenticity of Guateque's presentation of Jibaro music and
dance is a reflection of Nieves' own native mountains roots, as well as his
careful research and interviews with mountain locals who hold the memories
of village customs, traditionals dances, legends, music, and history. From
his efforts has flourished an elegant, nostalgic, and dignified
choreographic composition that reflects a sense of nationalism and historic
legacy, combined with creativity.
As choreographer for Guateque, Joaquin Nieves has created more than 15
ballets composed of 90 traditional dances representative of the traditional
life in Puerto Rico since pre-colonization, on to the Spanish and African
heritage up to the more contemporary dances of plena. Throughout the
twenty-five years of existence, these works by Joaquin have been exhibited
in the Unites States, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Joaquin holds a Bachelor's in Anthropology and a Master's in Counseling
from the University of Puerto Rico. His work has been recognized by the
National Endowment's Folk and Traditional Arts. Nieves' 26 year
contribution to mountain genre of Puerto Rican folklore is unequalled, a
living museum that has preserved this traditional style.
Guateque members performing for Celebrando include Joaquin Nieves Caldero,
Mildred Alvarez, Lucy Ortiz, Damian Morales, Irving Santiago, Eduardo
Maldonado, Luis Pena, Esander Ramos, Carlos Rivera, Omar Maldonado, and
For more information about Guateque contact:
Joaquin Nieves Caldero
Guateque Ballet Folklorico de Puerto Rico,
HC-01 Box 6894, Corozal, PR, 00783,