Diablo Regional Arts Association Names Paige Hernandez as First-Ever Artist in Residence

Hernandez will perform her interactive hip hop performance piece Havana Hop for grades 3-5 students at Title 1 elementary schools in Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill. 

By: Mar. 17, 2023
Diablo Regional Arts Association Names Paige Hernandez as First-Ever Artist in Residence
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Diablo Regional Arts Association has named acclaimed performer, director, choreographer, and playwright Paige Hernandez as its first-ever Artist in Residence. An arts educator with nearly two decades of experience, Hernandez will perform her interactive hip hop performance piece Havana Hop for grades 3-5 students at Title 1 elementary schools in Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill. The Lesher will also present Havana Hop at 10am, Thursday, April 20 in a morning performance for families and students at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek. For tickets ($10) and more information, the public may visit lesherartscenter.org or call the box office at (925) 943-7469 (open Wed-Sun, 12-6pm). Lesher will also invite business and civic leaders to meet with Hernandez to hear about her work and discuss the vital community impact of live arts at an invited event on April 20.

As part of her East Bay residency, Hernandez will perform Havana Hop, a bilingual experience for students in grades 3-5 at Title 1 elementary schools in Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill, April 20-21. Written, choreographed, and performed by Hernandez, Havana Hop is a critically acclaimed play in which three generations of lively women tell the story of a girl discovering the fun of her multicultural heritage. Young Yelia dreams of being a star, but her lack of confidence gives her stage fright. With advice from her mother and mentors, Yelia begins a journey to find her roots, visiting her grandmother in Cuba and discovering a salsa flavor to add to her own hip hop style. In this lively performance Hernandez interacts with the audience, who are invited to dance along in the dynamic participation play. To enhance the learning opportunities, Hernandez provides teachers with a study guide for Havana Hop, which includes lessons and activities driven by Common Core Standards for English Language & Arts Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. It also includes a theatre etiquette guide, information on Cuban cuisine and famous performers, and post-show activities. The Lesher Foundation funds this program, guided by its mission to enhance the quality of life for all residents in Contra Costa County, with a focus on supporting Title 1 schools (in which 40%+ of students come from low-income families).

Paige Hernandez is a multidisciplinary artist with some twenty years of experience in arts administration, arts education, creating new works, producing, and performing. Hernandez's approach focuses on hip hop, the cultural movement that exploded in the early 1970s in the Bronx, New York. Beginning as an independent, non-commercial musical and cultural form of expression, hip hop draws upon the dance, poetry, visual art, and social and political legacy of African, African American, Caribbean, and Latino immigrant communities in the United States. Named a "classroom hero" by The Huffington Post, Hernandez has held residencies, workshops, and performances reaching more than 10,000 students from Pre-K through college around the world.

About Paige Hernandez

A Baltimore native, Paige Hernandez is a member of the Actors Equity Association who has performed on stages throughout the country. As a playwright, she has collaborated with Lincoln Center and has been commissioned by several companies including the National New Play Network, the Smithsonian, The Kennedy Center, La Jolla Playhouse, and the Glimmerglass Festival. Hernandez has directed work across the United States and was recently recognized by the Wall Street Journal for her direction of Proof at Everyman Theatre in Maryland, where she is also Associate Artistic Director. An award-winning dancer, Paige's choreography has been seen worldwide including Bahrain, Singapore, India, Jamaica, and Bermuda. She received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, as well as four Helen Hayes nominations for choreography, directing, and performance. Hernandez has been named a "Citizen Artist Fellow" with the Kennedy Center, a "Rising Leader of Color" by Theatre Communications Group, and one of "Six Theatre Workers You Should Know" by American Theatre Magazine. With her company B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT, Hernandez continues to develop and tour original work internationally for multicultural and multigenerational hip hop audiences.

About the Diablo Regional Arts Association

The Diablo Regional Arts Association (DRAA) is the non-profit partner of the Lesher Center for the Arts and acts as the designated curator for its programming and audience outreach. The organization aims to achieve artistic excellence by providing exceptional arts programming through quality live theatre, visual arts, and youth education at the Lesher Center for the Arts, while providing avenues of accessibility for everyone to enjoy the arts.


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