Yurupari Grupo Folklorico is the result of the join effort of the director and choreographer, Xihomara Zentner (nee Granados), the Colombian born dancer and teacher, Jorge Hurtado and a group of young Latin American men and women living in London, than in 1988 got together to share the mission of preserving, teaching and disseminate the cultural tradition of the dances of Colombia and Latin America.
The name Yurupari was taken from a ritual performed by some tribes of the Amazon forest, which is carry out by dancers and players of flutes and sacred trumpets. The artistic expression of Yurupari Grupo Folklorico synthesizes the being and feeling of the Latin American people. With an original style Yurupari’s folklore shows the diversity of the traditions, showing also the cultural plurality of the continent. With the beauty of movement, music, rhythm and joy Yurupari portrays the true nature and richness of the Latin American people. Yurupari’s aims and commitments are to promote and share the cultural and historical value of Colombian and Latin American folklore, to continue to teach it so that new generations are proud to help preserve this cultural heritage and to share this heritage with the British and the rest of the world.
Director & Choreographer
-Born in Colombia in the town of Aguachica, in the department of Cesar.
-She started learning the traditions of Colombian dances at young age from her mother Maestra Ligia de Granados, Director of Ballet Folklorico Colombiano.
-Also attended folkloric dance lessons with Jacinto Jaramillo, a pioneer on the investigation and teaching of Colombian folklore
-As a Dancer with Ballet Folklorico Colombiano she travelled to many countries in Europe, Eastern Europe including formal USSR for the 1980 Olympics Games, United States, and widely in her own country of Colombia.
-Aged 20 she left Colombia to Paris, where she studied French at the Sorbonne University and film studies in Ecole Supérieur de Cinéastes, Paris.
-While in Paris she joined two well established Latin American dance groups, Karumanta and Con Alegria y Fuego where she expanded her knowledge of Latin American folklore.
-She arrived in the UK in 1986, making the UK and London her home. In 1988 she met Jorge Humberto Hurtado, a Colombian dancer from Cali and they formed a dance partnership lasting until today. They started performing Colombian/Latin American folklore in a variety of festivals and places in London, the UK and abroad including TV appearances, performances and choreographies for theatre plays.
-In 1988 Xihomara and Jorge started teaching young Colombian immigrants what they knew of Colombian folklore and created Yurupari Grupo Folklorico.
-In the same year Xihomara started a “Latin American dance rhythms” class at the Oval House in Kennington, London, which was to become the first salsa class in London.
-In May 1991 She started just Salsa lessons at the Studio and Bar Tiempo, (the first salsa club integrating the Latin and British communities), she also started DJ at Bar Tiempo and continued performing in many others venues until 2001. .
-From 1988 to 2001 Xihomara spend most of her artistic life promoting salsa as part of the cultural heritage of Latin America, while also directing and performing with Yurupari Grupo Folklorico.
-In July 1999 she put together a cultural event on the South Bank Centre for the celebrations of the Colombian culture, with performances by many music and dance groups, workshops for adults and children, many exhibitions including films, arts, crafts and a flower display.
-In 1999 she was given a “Fellowship Award” by the United Kingdom Alliance of Professional Teachers of Dance UKA for her contribution to salsa dance.
-During her years in the Salsa scene, she worked with many Salsa club promoters as a teacher and DJ, including: Bar Tiempo, The Finca, Bar Salsa, Bar Madrid, Down Mexico Way, Turnmills, Bar Lorca and many more.
-She promoted some Latin American Salsa bands, such as Los Van-Van and Irakere from Cuba.
-She put together and/or participated in some of the most exciting Latin American events in the UK: Gran, Gran Fiesta at the South Bank 1989; Carnaval Colombiano at the Round House 1993; Colores de Colombia at the Barbican Centre 1996; This is Colombia at the South Bank Centre 1999; she brought Ballet Folklorico Colombiano to the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2000; and many more smaller festivals in London and UK.
-With Yurupari Grupo Folklorico she choreographed and performed for the opening of the 1998 Lambeth Conference for HRH Prince of Wales and the Archbishop of Canterbury. This performance was televised for the nation on the BBC.
-Xihomara supported many Latin American Cultural Groups with folk classes and choreographies such as; Latin American Grupo de la Tercera Edad, Grupo Raices for children, ESFORAL Saturday School, Friends of Colombia for Social Aid and many more.
-In 2001, after marrying and with 2 small children, Xihomara decided to leave the Salsa scene. She spent the next few years caring for her young family. They moved for a year to Dubai and returned to the UK in 2008.
-On her return Xihomara opened lessons for children and young people on Latin American folklore and she worked with Latin American schools, including ESFORAL, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Tia Maria nursery, in keeping the cultural heritage of Colombia and Latin America alive in the spirit of the young people.
-In May 2010 she was given an award by the Metropolitan Police, for her tireless dedication and support for the Latin American Community in the UK.
-Since 2009 she re-started Yurupari and performed for the British Museum Day of Death for the Aztec exhibition on the same year, the V&A Museum, and 200 years of Indepence Celebrations at Vinopolis
-Yurupari performed in Oslo in 2011 and 2012, sold out 3 nights performances at the Bolivar Hall in November 2012, did workshops and performances for the British Museum, linked with the Pre-Colombian Gold Exhibition Beyond el Dorado and in 2014 put together the new show This is Colombia with Yurupari Grupo Folklorico. In 2014 In 2015 Yurupari Performed a new show This is Colombia at the Toynbee Theatre, most recently they performed at Plaza Latina event in the summer at Elephant and Castle.
-Xihomara continues her involvement with the Latin American community in UK, through her folklore lessons, performing with Yurupari. She is also the Head of Events for a Colombian Charity Friends of Colombia for Social Aid FOCSA, a volunteer for Grupo Semillas, a charity for children in Colombia.
Dance and Folklore
SHOWCASING LATIN AMERICAN DANCE FOLKLORE SINCE 1988