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Interview with Yvette Martinez: Bronx, New York

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Interview with Yvette Martinez: Bronx, New York
Additional title: Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image original documentation
Martinez, Yvette (Interviewee)
Webb, Carolyn (Carolyn Jeannette) (Interviewer)
Webb, Carolyn (Carolyn Jeannette) (Project director)
Niang, Mamadou (Videographer)
Mertz Gilmore Foundation (Presenter)
New York Public Library. Dance Division (Presenter)

African Dance Video Archive

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 2015-09-12
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDF 6202
Martinez, Yvette -- Interviews
Dance -- Puerto Rico
Music -- Puerto Rico
Bomba (Dance)
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
Statement of responsibility: conducted by Carolyn Webb ; project director, Carolyn Webb.
Content: Widescreen.
Statement of responsibility: This interview was made possible by the cooperation of the Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library.
Creation/production credits: Videographer, Mamadou Niang.
Performers: Interviewee, Yvette Martinez ; interviewer, Carolyn Webb.
Venue: Videotaped during an interview at the Studio, New York, N.Y., as part of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation funded African Dance Interview Project 2015 September 12.
Funding: This recording was made possible by Mertz Gilmore Foundation.
Funding: African Dance Interview Project funded by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.
Physical Description
Born digital
Extent: 1 video file (51 min.) : sound, color
Carolyn Webb introduces Yvette Martinez as a highly regarded dancer, choreographer, musician, cultural educator, arts administrator, researcher, and artistic director of Retumba!, an Afro Caribbean women's drum and dance ensemble that recently celebrated its 34th anniversary in New York City. Martinez discusses being a member of the Puerto Rican dance company, Baila Boricua; creating her company of all-women, Retumba! originally for a performance celebrating Women's International Day on March 8, 1981. Martinez emphasizes the importance of education with her goal to bring beauty and history to schools through dance and music. She was born and raised in the South Bronx, New York. Her Puerto Rican cultural heritage was instilled by her parents through music and dance. As a child she was motivated to create movement by listening to all sounds and watching the ballet. After her parents separated, her mother could not afford dance classes but she was able to participate in school performances. Her mother took the family to matinee shows at Teatro Puerto Rico on 138th Street (South Bronx) that showed a movie followed by a variety show with a live band. Martinez attended Aguinas High School in the Bronx where she took dance classes and belonged to an after school program called Aspira that focused on embracing cultural awareness. She discusses wanting to become a lab technichian as a child and her interest in research and healing medicine. She attended the Bronx Community College where she studied modern dance, acting, diction, and music; also joined a dance company at Hunter College named, Baila Boricua. She speaks in depth about the history and types of Bomba dance. She cites Roberto Burrell, from Havana, Cuba as an inspiration in her artistic life. She has invited many artists to choreograph for her company including Eddie Torres, Roberto Burrell, Xiomara Rodriguez, Marco, and Edwina Tyler. She studied with Lavinia Williams, and attended the Katherine Dunham Summer Institute. Her production, Journey to the Caribbean, is discussed in detail and some of Martinez's special awards and community recognition are mentioned. She worked as an arts administrator from 1986-1995 with the Arts Connection Program in NYC and speaks about her lifelong ambition to work with children. This interview concludes with Martinez dancing the Bomba, accompanied by Nancy Friedman, an original founding percussionist of Retumba!
Type of Resource
Moving image
RLIN/OCLC: 939531137
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20892447
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 5ee55fb0-c13c-0133-1e5f-60f81dd2b63c
Copyright Notice
© Yvette Martinez
Rights Statement
This item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Item timeline of events

  • 2015: Created
  • 2021: Found by you!
  • 2022

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Yvette Martinez" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2015.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Yvette Martinez" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 25, 2021.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2015). Interview with Yvette Martinez Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Interview with Yvette Martinez, (2015)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=October 25, 2021 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Yvette Martinez