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08.09.2016
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Viva Cuba Libre!

Viva Cuba Libre!

by TAoN

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Not to long ago, traveling to Cuba was an exotic fantasy driven by photos and glimpses recalled in movies and docs from five generations before.  Here we are today, fifty years later, US trade embargo lifted, and everyone from the likes of Jay Z and Beyonce, Questlove, Rihanna, Carmelo Anthony, the Rolling Stones, Ludacris, Katy Perry, Usher, Harry Belafonte, Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg are first of many who have made their maiden voyage to the elusive and controversial Caribbean island.

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The Obama’s in La Habana Vieja! photo courtesy AMP Cuba

As with all maiden voyages and intrepid journeys into the unknown, you will need a proper guide to navigate and enhance your experience.  That is where AMP Cuba (Arya Movement  Project) comes in.  Arya Movement Project (AMP Cuba) was launched in 2009 in Los Angeles and has hosted more than 15 delegations to Havana, and invites curious travelers to experience the energy, vitality and culture of Cuba. Now with offices located in New York, the goal is to expand the outreach and spread the word about Cuban cultural excursions that are designed to focus on and explore individual growth through exploration of Cuban art, culture and wellness.

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Erica Bowen and the AMP Cuba family! photo courtesy AMP Cuba

According to AMP Cuba founder and director Erica Bowen, “These aren’t just trips to Cuba.  We’re transporting you to another world.”  Bowen believes in the importance of cultural heritage and the significance of connecting the world with the Afro-Caribbean roots and traditions of Cuba.  As it reads in the mission statement, “Curiosity is at the core of AMP Cuba and we invite travelers from all walks of life to participate.”  Bowen and AMP Cuba manage to do this by implementing healthy, exciting and unique programs including dance, nutrition and history into the experiences that you will cherish and embrace forever.

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Bowen, an American but part Cuban herself, is taking full advantage of the trade and travel embargo lift.  The organization is extremely happy with the success thus far seeing the potential for incredible growth and opportunity in the near future.  While taking time out of her non-stop busy day, Bowen was able to share a curious moment with TAoN.

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TAoN

As a multi-disciplined artist, dancer-choreographer, nutritionist and yoga instructor, what inspired you launch AMP Cuba?

BOWEN

As an entrepreneur and artist I was inspired to create  AMP Cuba due to my love of the arts, wellness, culture and Cuba! We wanted to create opportunities via our trips for foreigners to experience an authentic Cuba and at the same time work with Cuban citizens interested in creating or expanding their small businesses.

TAoN

Can you share some of your dance experience with us?

BOWEN

As an artist I have had the pleasure of working with Maria Torres’ Pasione, Raiz Brazil, Sambarinas, Viver Brazil, Contra- Tiempo Dance, Rennie Harris, Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance, Law and Order (television series), Stephen Koplowitz, Assokere Dance and more.

TAoN
Why the expansion to New York instead of Miami?

New York is the capital of arts and culture in the U.S.. Havana, Cuba is the capital of arts and culture in the Caribbean. So we were able to see how these two cities shared our company theme based on arts, wellness and culture.

TAoN
What should first time visitors expect from a AMP Cuba experience?

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BOWEN

An AMP Cuba session is tailored for those who are young at heart (no matter their age), and enjoy arts and culture. They should like to explore and want to feel as though they are more than just a tourist.  Each session offers a specialized itinerary based on the participants’ arts/cultural theme. During weekdays participants experience workshops from Afro-Cuban dance or percussion, visual arts and more based on their preference. All workshops are taught by noted Cuban artists.  These workshops are balanced out with other workshops and tours including yoga, beach trips and salsa outings with our AMP Cuba assistants.

TAoN
What are you hoping to achieve with this  culturally aware endeavor?

BOWEN

Our goal is to create a real opportunity for participants to meet and interact with Cuba and its people.

TAoN
Do you personally accompany each and every excursion?

BOWEN

One of the AMP Cuba reps, assistants and/or workshop leaders are always involved in the trips.

TAoN
What’s next for the company? Where do you see yourselves in say, 10 years?

BOWEN

The sky is the limit! So there is no limit! Besides our AMP Cuba group and individual sessions, we are hosting the first Africa en Cuba conference in Havana from Sept 1 – 5.  The conference celebrates Afro-Latino culture and includes workshops, lectures and performances. Artists, spiritual leaders and educators from Cuba, Brazil and more will be featured at the conference.

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Additionally, in April 2016 we are opening an AMP Cuba office and wellness boutique in NYC. Our Havana office  and arts space will be opened soon after.

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AMP Cuba Director Erica Bowen – photo courtesy AMP Cuba

 

For more information visit www.ampcuba.com

by ASK

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