Our center brings a focal point to Austin for unique, world-class Boricua heritage programs that help draw and retain businesses and residents to our city's vibrant cultural landscape. Our achievement and quality have been validated by repeat support (since 2001) from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Texas Commission on the Arts, City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, NEA Chairman's Award (2007), and Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (since 2011). Since 2018, we have received a multi-year award from Bloomberg Philanthropies that is growing our capacity in Arts Innovation and Management.
We are a community, bonded like Family, under the umbrella of cultural arts and traditions. You must travel to faraway cities like Chicago or New York City to enjoy another cultural center like ours! Through our multipurpose facility in East Austin, we serve the community with 12 weekly performing arts programs, ongoing cultural events, and opportunities to learn Taino heritage. Our cultural center includes indoor and outdoor areas where free, near-monthly cultural events attract tourism and give a resource-limited community opportunity to participate in living traditions. Our programs are open to all who wish to experience the joy of our people. We especially welcome those whose access to cultural programming is limited by economics.
Enjoy our video slideshow below!
Our ProgramsPuerto Rico has a rich heritage based in native Taino, Spanish, and West African roots. Trained by Island Masters, our cultural center is a focal point in the Southwest for Puerto Rico's vibrant culture and traditions. We are the only center on the Mainland with expertise to authentically teach and present the cross-section of Puerto Rico's cultural heritage -- Afro-Boricua (Bomba, Plena), Mountain (Jibaro), Salon (Danza), and Taino music and dance (Areyto). We spiral Puerto Rico's history with cultural arts to offer programs in folkloric music and dance, percussion, community theatre, and Taino heritage. Our programs include both informal performances and mainstage productions that give students of all ages an opportunity to participate -- preschool through professional adults. We provide annual training and performance opportunities with Puerto Rican masters. We bring special workshops to local schools with significant at-risk populations, including K-12 and colleges. Our original bilingual plays based in oral history honor unsung heroes and bring to light forgotten elements of Puerto Rican heritage. Featuring live music, dance and community theatre, our musicals give opportunity for beginners to perform with professional actors, and seasoned professionals a platform to develop multidisciplinary skills.
Our cultural center is a sanctuary for the rapidly growing Puerto Rican community in Central Texas; in the spirit of our welcoming culture, we adopt anyone who wants to join! Our multipurpose facility makes it possible to expand our outreach and grow community through the sharing of well-loved traditions including interactive picnics with live folkloric music and dance; celebrations of relevant holidays (Octavitas with the Reyes Mago); workshops to pass-on childhood games (trompos/tops) and ancestral sports (Taino Batu ballgame), and more!
We share Taino history and heritage passed to us through oral teachings from island elders. Our growing programs based in our indigenous culture teach our community how to honor the Earth; we preserve ancestral traditions such as Taino music and dance, language, craftwork, and more. Special workshops instill the importance of reducing our footprint on the Earth, and living in relationship with Nature for our mutual health.
Our History & AccomplishmentsFounded in 1997 with a single dance class, PRFDance has grown to become a world-class cultural center dedicated to Puerto Rican heritage and traditions. Since 1997, PRFDance has produced artistically acclaimed programming, including our annual Celebrando Salsa & Heritage Festival ($25K/year) featuring performances by Masters of Puerto Rican folklore, handcraft artisans, comida criolla, and dancing for all. Our three-dancer company which debuted in 1998 is now a 20-member, multi-generational company of dancers, musicians, and juniors. Our founding adult-dance class added youth programs in 2001, and today offers 12 weekly classes to students and professionals in folkloric dance and music, community theatre, and indigenous Taino traditions. In 2004 we debuted our first original musical for Community Theatre. Featuring live music and dance, our annual plays share oral history from Island elders who remember an undocumented past. In operation since 2006, our multipurpose facility located in East Austin gives us a platform to experiment and grow unique cultural programming that serves a resource-limited community and attracts cultural tourism.
Today, there are more Puerto Ricans living on the Mainland than the Island. Texas is in the top three States experiencing the fastest growth in Puerto Rican population. In collaboration since 2001 with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, our formal affiliation in 2005 makes us official representatives of our Island's cultural heritage in our community. Our visibility on the world-wide-web has made us an information resource for Puerto Ricans travelling or moving to Central Texas.
We are located in Central Texas where 83% of Puerto Ricans in Texas live [2010 Census]. Thanks to our internet presence, cultural tourism to our events is significant: 40% of our events-audience comes from Texas cities beyond Austin (Dallas to Brownsville), out of state (Oklahoma, Florida), and even Puerto Rico. Active since 1997, our website is Google top-ranked and serves visitors with educational resources. Through Facebook (12,000 subscribers across our director's and business page) we engage a virtual community in daily conversations that entertain, educate and instill cultural pride.
We welcome all who want to be part of a community bonded together by joyful heritage. Through our programs people are discovering the healing power of music and dance. It takes a village to raise a child; we live that proverb by mentoring students and encouraging family-unity through shared performance experiences. We are an oasis where old-world values are alive -- community elders are encouraged to participate, share their wisdom and pass on oral history and traditions as they remember them. Our volunteers develop real-world skills in leadership, teaching, business administration, marketing, and computer-based business applications. Youth develop leadership skills through company apprenticeship and student-teaching. Thanks to Puerto Rico's rainbow of -- Hispanic, Taino, and Afro-Boricua -- ethnic diversity, youth experience personal pride through self-identity.
Music and dance are a very important part of Puerto Rican culture. The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture has named us Puerto Rico's Ambassadors in Texas and the Southwest. We are proud to share our rich traditions with the community, and hand down our heritage to the next generation!
Mission & History - Video!!