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Darios Barbershop with owner Ruben Dario Corona & apprentice Oliver Corona

Ruben Dario Corona & Oliver Trinidad Corona

Dominican barbering Baltimore, Maryland
2018 - 2019 Folklife Apprenticeship Award recipient
Photo Credit: Edwin Remsberg Photographs
Darios Barbershop with owner Ruben Dario Corona & apprentice Oliver Corona

On the tradition of Dominican barberia, Ruben “Dario” Corona says, “All Dominicans, if they’re not baseball players, they’re barbers.” Cutting hair is universal; in the Dominican Republic, the practice has been elevated to an art. Dominican barbers are known for original haircuts, renowned for using blades to create custom designs.

Dario is the proprietor of Dario’s Barbershop in Southeast Baltimore. He started barbering on a whim, cutting a friend’s hair using the scissors he had on hand for creating particular plumage on his gamecocks. This, he says, is a very Dominican way to enter the trade. He eventually learned to cut hair more formally and opened his own business. In 2003, after opening his own shop and teaching his brother how to barber, he left his home for this U.S. He eventually settled in Baltimore, where he saw a need for his advanced skill in the Dominican community. In addition to providing some of the sharpest fades and designs, he has taught the craft to half a dozen barbers, now including his nephew, Oliver. At least four other shops have been opened as a direct result of his teaching.

During their apprenticeship, Dario is working with Oliver on fades, finishing with scissors, using different scissors to thin hair, learning to “read” people to pick haircuts, the 16 passes used to shave with a blade, designing and shaping with a blade, hygiene, and, finally, customer relations. Both barbers will be at the festival providing attendees haircuts, so they can look sharp as they enjoy some of the finest traditional artists from across the country.

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