Cuban Rumberas: Alicia Parlá


In the dazzling world of Cuban rumberas, where hips sway like the waves of the Caribbean and hearts beat to the pulsating rhythm of rumba, there existed a brief yet intense career that still shines in the annals of dance history. Alicia Parlá, a name not as well-known as Ninón Sevilla, Amalia Aguilar, or Blanquita Amaro, left an indelible mark on the dance floors of the 1930s. Her story, brought to life in the play ‘Queen of Rumba,’ is a captivating journey through time.

Alicia Parla’s story unfolds in the context of an era when the world was captivated by the charms of Cuban rumba. Her career, spanning only from 1930 to 1934, reached remarkable heights, earning her the title of “Queen of Rumba” in the eyes of some members of the press. However, like any enigmatic figure from the past, her true legacy remains shrouded in mystery, with scant photographic evidence and narratives that may lean toward the storyteller’s choice.

One of the most recent versions of Alicia Parla’s story comes from Josefina López, the writer and producer of ‘Queen of Rumba.’ You may remember her from the Hollywood movie “Real Women Have Curves.” López’s interpretation of Alicia Parla’s career invites the audience to delve into the complexities of this Cuban dancer’s life.

However, the main attraction of ‘Queen of Rumba,’ currently playing at Casa 0101 until October 22nd, is actress Paloma Morales. Paloma, like Alicia Parlá, hails from Cuba and is a passionate advocate for rumba. Her infectious love for Cuban rhythms is reflected in her daily life, as seen on her social media. Like Parla and many others, she fled Cuba when Fidel Castro was in power. Paloma also found a new home in the United States while keeping her Cuban heritage alive.

Of course, ‘Queen of Rumba’ has more to offer than just Paloma’s performance. The entire cast, including Angel Juarez, Kenia Romero, Mauricio Marte, Lolita Lozcano, Adam Jacobo, Peter Laboy, Vivian Marie Lamolli, Sammy Montero, Maricella Ibarra, Victoria Tamez, and Melvin Ward, handpicked by Edward Padilla and directed by Corky Dominguez, has dedicated countless hours to their roles, promising an entertaining theatrical experience.

Immerse yourself in the world of Alicia Parla, the Queen of Rumba, and let her story and the pulsating rhythms of Cuban rumba transport you to a bygone era where passion and dance reigned supreme.

Jackie Torres is an actress, writer, director, producer, and film, television, radio, and theater professor based in Hollywood, California. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Radio, Film, and Television from the University of Maryland in College Park and a Master's degree in Public Communications from the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras.

Jackie Torres
Author Jackie Torres

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