2022 SummerFest

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The power of music and dance to bring people together.

On August 28, 2022, we hosted our SummerFest and showcased the movie “The Mamboniks” at the Greenville ONE Center in Downtown Greenville. Attendees of the event enjoyed sharing a Cuban “nosh” with a Mojito, the Iliana Rose Cuban Jazz Band, and learning the Mambo with The Pura Algeria Dance Co. And as a rare treat, SummerFest 2022 attendees schmoozed with our special guest – “Mambo Judie” – one of the original Mamboniks!

A positive story of building bridges between cultures and communities – a vital message for our divisive times. At its heart, the film is about much more: it’s about the power of music and dance to bring people together.

More About the Movie

Cuban dance achieved worldwide popularity in the 1930s and ’40s with the rumba. After World War II Latin bands playing the mambo became wildly popular with performers like Pérez Prado, Machito and his Afro Cubans, Celia Cruz and the New York-born Puerto Rican timbalero Tito Puente.

The great Cuban musicians toured the United States, and Americans went to Havana to enjoy daiquiris and baile at clubs like the famous Tropicana. Director Lex Gillespie takes his camera to Miami Beach, the Catskills and Havana where one of the mamboniks gives a tour of the places in the Cuban capital that he used to frequent back in the day. In New York the epicenter of mambo was the Palladium at 53rd and Broadway. Jews, Blacks and Puerto Ricans mixed happily there in an era when de facto segregation was the rule, even in New York.

“If you knew how to dance, you were accepted,” recalls another mambonik. Latin music was ubiquitous at bar and bat-mitzvahs and weddings and ruled at summer resorts in the Catskills. Latin music “appeals to the Jewish soul” explains one of the mamboniks, and such was its popularity that Jewish performers who played the music even began adopting Latin names. The Mamboniks shows this affinity as it really is: a heartfelt, profound and joyous kinship with another culture.

Thanks so much to our special guests!

Mambo Judie

Tito Puente played at my wedding,” says ‘Mambo Judie,’ with obvious pride. She is one of the Mamboniks, aging but ever upbeat! Meet and schmooze with her or … ask her for a dance! She will be around all evening to help us get into the mood and moves of the 50’s.

The Iliana Rose Cuban Jazz Band

Iliana Rose – Born in Miami and raised by Cuban parents and grandparents, is steeped in Cuban rhythms and culture. Iliana and her 4 piece band will entertain us with an hour of familiar latin rhythms of the 50’s

Event Catering by Uptown Company

Truly one of Greenville’s hidden gems, The Uptown Company will be catering our event this year with a Cuban Nosh and a side of Mojitos.

Pura Alegria Dance Company

Two of the ladies from this fabulous local dance company will join and lead us in a group dance lesson of the Mambo. This is your chance to move your hips to the beat of latin music and become a Mambonik!