Dominican folk research, musician, dancer and scholar, Leonardo Ivan Dominguez, has worked for more than forty five years as a research an educator of Dominican folk traditions.
Ivan was born in a working class neighborhood in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and raised by his Dominican-Haitian grandmother who imparted to her knowledge of folk religion, music and dance to him as a young boy. In the 1970’s, Ivan traveled to remote regions of the island documenting and learning traditional rural dances as a member of Santo Domingo University’s folkloric dance troupe and the music group “CONVITE”. During this decade, he participated in all of the folklore courses and training developed in the country. “Introduction to the folklore”, imparted by Professor Fradique Lizardo; “Intensive of Anthropology”, imparted by Dr. Hector Diaz Polanco; “Intensive of Ethnomusicology”, imparted by Drs. Luis Felipe Ramon y Rivera and Isabel Aretz; “Folklore and Linguistic”, imparted by Dr. Ralph S. Boggs and Professor Edna Garrido de Boggs; “Cultural Anthropology” imparted by Dr. June Rosenberg; “Field Research Theory and Practice”, imparted by Professor Dagoberto Tejeda.
After moving to United State in 1995, Ivan continued sharing his knowledge of diverse dance and music traditions by teaching Dominican youth in New York, the “Conjunto Folklorico” a dance and music program he directs at Alianza in Washington Heights. Ivan maintains a strong connection with the Island, bringing the “Conjunto Folklorico” members to festivals in the Dominican Republic to witness and experience how culture is danced there. He has been developed a methodology to bring the field to the classroom, using video, audio and participant knowledge to reinvigorate a transnational community.