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Between us

I would like to share with you my journey as an Afro-Puerto Rican woman, artist, educator, folklorist, and member of a complex beautiful, diverse city. I was born in New York City and raised crossing a cultural bridge between New York and Puerto Rico.  Growing up I faced the challenges of construing a dual identity to fit the systems that wanted to define me. I also developed a dual language that allowed me to be creative in the way I communicated.  As a child, I was not aware of how those transcultural and at times confusing experiences were necessary to prepare me to embrace my calling. I love learning, and teaching, and believe in services that are rooted in relationships and trust.  I was blessed to have great role models who inspired me to value creativity and have a fluid perspective to become resilient. They taught me that it is not about the goal but how we shape the journey that makes one successful. I am a certified educator with an MFA in Dance and a BA in Language Arts and dedicated twenty years of my life to teaching in public schools in urban communities in Puerto Rico. I developed my artistry in dance, focusing on Afro-Puerto Rican (Bomba) dance since 1998. I founded and directed Nandí, the first female Afro-Puerto Rican music ensemble in Puerto Rico, which spearheaded a women’s drummer’s movement from 2006 to the present. I have collaborated as an artistic director in cultural projects in the US, and I am an artivist. I love creating safe, inclusive, joy-based learning spaces where people can heal, connect, and express themselves authentically. I founded Paso Negro,  a cultural project in San Juan, Puerto Rico to develop Afro-Puerto Rican cultural and educational activities since 2008.  In 2014 I embarked on a different journey and directed after-school programs, designed multidisciplinary, anti-racist curriculums, and art projects focused on supporting under-resourced communities in The Bronx. I continue crossing this beautiful bridge to collaborate with Puerto Ricans on the island while continuing working with NYC-based artists, and organizations as a Creatives Rebuild New York grantee. O Team contributes to the development of different communities by providing access to the arts, creating a social justice experience that will inspire members to have a voice, and giving them the visibility that instills a sense of self-advocacy and representation through information, connection, and the arts.  I collaborate with a team of agents of change. I am living a dream that enabled me to continue creating collaborative artistic bridges and educational projects for future generations. I named my dream O Team, and share this dream with you!  Let's work together and be about it, let's plan together and gift others with an experience that reaffirms our identity and makes us connect with others as humans.

Oxil Febles

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