Albuquerque – The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) is proud to present Carnaval Celebration: Carnaval Dance Party to kick off the beginning of the Lenten season. This celebration is a two night event that will be held on Friday, February 20 at 8 pm and Saturday February 21 at 8 pm in the Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts. The NHCC is located at 1701 4th Street SW (Corner of 4th Street and Avenida César Chávez). Tickets are $15, $20, $25 with a $5 NHCC member discount. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, or in person at the NHCC box office. The festivities include artist and musician Frank Leto with is band PANdemonium joined by Pilar Leto and the Odara Dance Ensemble in an astounding production that blends original music with vibrant dance and exquisite costumes that honor the Carnaval traditions of New Orleans, Trinidad, Cuba, and Brazil. Performances include a wide range of talent and experience in order to produce the exotic sights and sounds of Caribbean beats and dance.

Frank Leto is an artist whose lifelong pursuit of musical knowledge has led him to appreciate and draw from a number of cultures and musical genres. Because of his love for rhythms, Leto has travelled throughout the Caribbean and has toured Japan, the Philippines, and Hawaii. While in Cuba, he studied with numerous honorable musicians at the Escuela Nacional de Arte. As a talented instrumentalist, Leto plays Brazilian percussion, Afro-Cuban percussion, and Trinidadian steel drums. With his band PANdemonium, he is featured on vocals, steel drums, and percussion. Leto’s music has won multiple national awards; he has recorded a number of solo CD’s, as well as with his band PANdemonium.

Pilar Leto is the founder and director of the Odara Dance Ensemble who has been performing and teaching dance for over 25 years throughout the United States, Japan, and the Philippines, and most recently in Albuquerque. Through her extensive travels, Pilar was fortunate to study for three consecutive years at the Escuela Nacional de Arte with premier dancers of the Conjunto Folklórico Nacional and Raíces Profundas. Under Pilar’s direction, the Odara Dance Ensemble is a culmination of multi-talented performers, who come from diverse musical and dance backgrounds.

The mission of the National Hispanic Cultural Center is the preservation and promotion of Hispanic arts and humanities at the state, national and international levels. The NHCC is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.