Photos courtesy of Todd Jones


Afro-Carribean Dance

¡Retumba! is a multi-ethnic all-female music and dance ensemble founded in March 1981 by Artistic Director Yvette Martinez and Musical Director Nancy Friedman in celebration of Women’s History month. Interweaving traditional rhythms and beautiful ancient melodies with its very own unique interpretation, ¡Retumba! bases its work on the music and dance of Africa and Europe, and its expressions in the Americas and the Caribbean -Puerto Rico, Cuba, and The Dominican Republic. ¡Retumba! emphasizes the particular strengths and sensitivities of diverse women working together in celebration, demonstrating the similarities and links of our shared cultures. ¡Retumba! brings forth the drama and excitement of world culture and traditions into a feast of folkloric music that can be enjoyed by everyone. ¡Retumba! has been working and teaching with ArtsConnection since 2002.

Yvette Martinez

Yvette Martinez is the co-founder and Artistic Director of ¡Retumba! She is a performer, dance instructor, and provides professional development to various arts-in-education organizations. Yvette has facilitated presentations, dance workshops, percussion workshops, and professional development in various ArtsConnection programs such as Dance For Life Program – MetLife, Cultural Interchange. Yvette has performed with ¡Retumba! at many schools throughout the Tri-State area and has been on the roster with ArtsConnection as a Teaching Artist and performer since 2002.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman is the co-founder and Musical Director of ¡Retumba! Born in East Harlem, she studied music theory in California State College in Sonoma and continued at the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in East Harlem. There she studied percussion with Louis Bauzo as well as studied privately with Malabe, Roberto Borrell, John Amira, and Felipe Garcia. Nancy also composes and performs on flute, alto saxophone and guitar. She is a freelance musician and has performed with a variety of groups in the New York area as composer, arranger and percussionist. She has also performed at the Clearwater Music Revival with Dizzy Gillespie and at Carnegie Hall with Peter Seeger. Performer, accompanist and instructor for ArtsConnection programs from 1986 to present, she performs, teaches, and demonstrates different musical forms of the Caribbean to students in New York City’s public schools.