Inspired in a Yoruba sculpture-temple, Santiago’s fifth grade students conceived the drawing above with chalk on blackboard in 1996.



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Dancing with the Saints

Dancing with the Saints
by Miguel F. Santiago
Paperback, 117 pages
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Excerpts from “Dancing with the Saints”

About the Author

Miguel F. Santiago holds a M.A. degree in Choreography and Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.A. degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Drake University, Iowa. In his life, there are two clearly marked professional interests: writing and dance. In 1984, he was awarded first pIace by the Central University of Puerto Rico for his poem “Homage to Poetry.” In 1985, he represented Iowa State University at the American College Dance Festival, receiving a mention of honor. Trained in modern dance and ballet, he performed for Iowa State University Dance Company, Drake University Theater, Des Moines Ballet, UCLA Dance Company, and the prestigious Des Moines Metropolitan Opera. A highlight in his career as a writer, dancer, and choreographer is the critically acclaimed “Dancing with the Saints,” a concert based on a research about Santería. Santiago's sincere interest in movement research took him to Puerto Rico numerous times to collect information about the dance experience in this controversial religion. What the author learns from this investigation becomes the driving force to write this book and to stress the importance of movement at all levels. With this in mind, he presents Santería as is. As a journalist, he objectively presents the uniqueness, nature, and humanity behind Santería, avoiding generality, and guided by a strong sense of fair reporting, thus providing meaning from the historical to the personal events in their full comprehensive richness.

“Miguel Santiago,… presented his master thesis concert, ‘Dancing with the Saints’ which could compete with many of what is being presented to the general public of Los Angeles, with the advantage of simplicity and the absence of pretension. Miguel Santiago put on a Santería spectacle true to certain original rituals, adding dynamic choreography and effective lighting.” [translated from La Opinion, April 22,1991.]

”The highlight of ‘Dancing with the Saints’ was Santiago's performance of “Death.” Clad in a dreary black robe, Santiago's facial expression of rage and terror further punctuated his movements in a dance full of shaking and chaotic jumping and spinning.” [UCLA's Daily Bruin, April 1991].









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