Carnaval celebration returns to the National Hispanic Cultural Center
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Frank Leto is the director of the annual Carnaval performance held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. This is the 19th year of the show.
“This is a very unique show, in that we take the audience to four different Carnaval locations,” Leto said.
Leto said this year’s theme is comunidade – community.
“Carnaval is a celebration of life and one of the things I love about Carnaval is it’s a time for people to give thanks for the things that they have in their life instead of worrying about their bills and what happened in the past or even what’s going to happen in the future, they live for the moment,” Leto said.
The show features music and dancing from several cultures.
“Brazil, where they play samba music, and the dancers wear big elaborate headdresses, Trinidad and Tobago, where they play the steel drums and pan and the calypso is the music – we represent Cuba by performing some music for the orisha and also the carnival music from Cuba, which is called comparsa,” Leto said.
You can’t have Carnaval without the costumes. Leto said many dancers make their own outfits, adding that every region has very unique looks from large, feathered headpieces to more recognizable color schemes like Mardi Gras.
“Each country has their own set of colors, in Brazil they use lots of different colors, but for our performances with New Orleans, we kind of stick with the New Orleans colors,” he said.
Leto said the show takes about six months to pull together, but for him, Carnaval is near to his heart.
“Me and my wife we met during Carnaval in San Francisco. And we fell in love. And Carnaval has been the theme of our whole marriage,” he said.
There are shows scheduled for Friday and Saturday night at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, click here.