Johann Serén Castillo

Our artistic and choreographic director was born and nurtured in the folk culture and environment of Intibucá.

Johann Serén Castillo — Artistic and general director of Oro Lenca
Profesor Johann Seren Castillo

Professor Johann Serén, our artistic director and choreographer, was born in Concepción, Intibucá, and since his first year, with his mother from Concepción and his father from Jesús de Otoro, he grew up in the Intibucan culture of La Esperanza. He graduated from the Escuela Normal de Occidente where he excelled as dancer in their dance group. In 2018 Johann earned a degree as a licensed clinical psychologist.

Birth of the Group

Starting in 2001, Johann was part of the folkloric dance group Lentercala in which he trained to become an instructor of dance within taht group. Then at the end of 2007 he become instructor of groups such as the Escuela Aplicación Pedro Nufio, El Instituto Departamental de Occidente, la Escuela Normal de Occidente, El Instituto Héctor Cisneros, and Centro Básico Honduras, Icelaca, among others. This experience was the reason why Professor Francisco Tosta Velásquez gave him the position of as instructor, in 2009, when they began a new dance project, together with a community group of youth and their parents in conjunction with the Municipality of La Esperanza. A project that today is known as Oro Lenca..

Cultural Volunteer Award in the Old Presidential Palace
Profesor Johann Serén Castillo receiving national cultural volunteer award.

Cultural Volunteer of the Year Award 2013

In December 2013, Johann Serén received the 2013 award of National Culture Volunteer from the National Ministry of Cuture, Art and Sports and the Spanish Embassy en recognition of his work in restoring and sharing the traditional folklore of Honduras. The award was presented in a solemn ceremony in the Palacio Presidencial Antiguo.

Today, Johann Serén is not only a renowned instructor at the national level but also internationally known, being a collaborator of the Folkloric dance group Raíces Hondureñas in Maryland. He led the first Intibucá cultural group outside of their Central American borders, when Oro Lenca traveled to Washington DC in September 2012. The group went again in September 2013 and September 2014. The tours were conducted in collaboration with the Embassy of Honduras, The President of the Republic, La Secretaría de Agricultura y Ganadería Honduras (SAG), and the unconditional support of the Raíces Hondureñas group in Maryland and of the parents and families of our dancers.

Ethnographic and folkloric investigation in the villages

Ascendance of Oro Lenca as a Cultural Icon

The group has received recognition and major awards at notable festivals such as The Great Pereke in San Pedro Sula and YUMKAX in La Ceiba, among others. Professor Serén presides over the organizing committee of the folk festival El Grande de Grandes that is now a tradition in La Esperanza. Our instruction is becoming known nationally with support and recognition from educational institutions, the department of Intibucá and national instutions and as a jury of folklore events. In recognition of this and of another native son of the region, the folklorist Rafael Manzanares Aguilar, La Esperanza was declared by executive decree the Capital of Criollo Folklore in Honduras.

In 2011 Oro Lenca began hosting the National Folk Dance Festival, El Grande de Grande, which has grown into a important cultural institution in Honduras. Every year, Oro Lenca now hosts over fifty school and community dance groups and well over a thousand dancers. Because of this experience, Johann and members of Oro Lenca are often called on to organize activities for local, national and international meetings and events in Honduras.

Oro Lenca and Johann Today

Johann works in Intibucá departmental offices in the Casa de Cultura in La Esperanza in cultural affairs and events. He continues to investigate and document dances and costumes of the department of Intibucá to incorporate them into the archives of the National Office of Folklore. In 2013 he added the Creole Costume of the Village of Guajiniquil, Concepción, Intibucá to the national heritage archives in the Office Of Folklore. He subsequently researched and added the Creole Costume from the village of Villa de Camasca, Concepción, Intibucá in 2016. Nearly lost, these costumes existed only in the memories and trunks of the elderly who last wore them. They are now part of the living folkloric heritage of Honduras, emblematic of Oro Lenca and used by many other dance groups in Honduras.

During this period, the group toured internationally in Mexico, Chile, and Nicaragua. They are also recognized by Marca País Honduras, and in this capacity now represent the culture of Honduras at many national and local events. In the coming years, the group plans to continue sharing our love and pride for Honduran folklore internationally.

Johann has received more than 200 awards from different national and international institutions and organizations throughout his artistic career. Today, Mr. Serén Castillo is considered a leading folkloric director of Honduras with national recognition as international, young, enthusiastic and altruistic, a fighter for the rescue and preservation of Honduran roots through folk dance and music.

Folkloric costumes from the Villa de Camasca and the village of Guajiniquil (municipality of Concepción, Intibucá)
Vestuario de Villa de Camasca y Guajiniquil