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Bronx Dance Group Needs Help to Perform at New Orleans Festival

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A dance group from the Bronx is the only New York-based company invited to perform at a New Orleans festival highlighting music and dance of Africa and the Caribbean, but the group still needs some help getting to the Big Easy. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Rhythmic drum beats and vibrant movements characterize the Bombazo Dance Company, a Bronx-based group started by professionally trained dancer Milteri Tucker.

It showcases Bomba, a traditional music of Puerto Rico that blends Spanish, African and Caribbean cultures and focuses on the relationship between dancers, percussionists and singers.

"It's just more of a way for me to broaden my horizons within my craft and what I do as a dancer,"" said Kharis Collins, a member of the Bombazo Dance Company.

Tucker wanted to blend her Puerto Rican culture with a passion for dance and introduce Bomba to New Yorkers in an environment where people of all ages could grow and learn together. Six years later, she has a diverse group of about two dozen who range in age from early 20s to their 70s.

"I feel so honored to be among them, and I feel like one of them," said Elena "Mamarazzi" Marrero, a member of the Bombazo Dance Company. "Sometimes I talk to them like, you know, I'm their age, and I forget, 'I could be your mother.'"

Tucker's long-term goal is to create something like the Alvin Ailey Dance Company in the Bronx.

Bombazo currently conducts classes and workshops and performs all over the city, but in two weeks, the group will get its first opportunity to perform outside of New York.

Bombazo is the only New York dance group invited to perform at the Congo Square Rhythms Festival in New Orleans, but they need some help getting there and have launched a fundraiser on the website GoFundMe.

"The fundraising is actually for the traveling and expenses down in New Orleans," Tucker said. "We're 22 group members traveling, so it's quite a few funds that we have to generate."

The group doesn't have much time, though, to raise the rest of the $20,000 Tucker estimates they'll need. The festival begins on March 22, and the group plans to leave by the 20th.

You can help out by visiting Bombazo's website at bombazodanceco.com and clicking on the link for their fundraising campaign.

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