Founded in 2002, this Contemporary Ballet fuses a classical style with contemporary dance and a mixture of different elements. The result is a stylised product that lacks the rawness of contemporary dance, but is not classical ballet either. In March, the ballet performs “Guajira”.
Fidel Alejandro Manzanares
The Contemporary Ballet’s special performance at the ¡Cuba Aquí! festival organised by Hunter College in New York “represents a great challenge”, says the company’s director Yaylín Ortíz.
Programmed at the Kaye Playhouse for March, the invitation is a result of a cultural, artistic and educational project that has already been running for five years thanks to The Windows Project, led by Cuban-American Pedro Ruiz”, said the choreographer.
Also a teacher at the Dance Department at Hunter College, he “fell in love with the city of Camagüey, as well as the dance and characteristics of our group, which will be performing its works “Guajira”, “Más allá del mar”, and “Paseando mi alma”, stated Ortíz in an exclusive with Prensa Latina.
“New York is the place of dance par excellence, and this time we aim to show the elements that resemble Ruiz’s choreographic aesthetics, without forgetting traditional elements and Cuban rhythms such as rumba and danzón, among others,” he said.
The former dancer made it clear that nothing is improvised; in fact, five years of fruitful exchange have gone into the dance leading up to the festival. “Teachers, dances and choreographers have all been in Cuba, and we have taken full advantage of this”, he says.
Ortíz explains that “Guajira” reflects the memory of Ruiz’s childhood in the fields of Cuba, and “Más allá del mar” is inspired by life in Sardinia, Italy.
From a musical perspective, he has been at the head of the Contemporary Ballet of Camagüey for four years. “Paseando”, he says, is a jewel “because it shows an eclectic, globalised, open Cuba, one that is permeated by universal culture.”
Talking about the specific aspects of “Guajira”, the director of the Antillean company explains that “it has to be watched from the perspective of Ruiz, starting from his adolescence in the United States and seeing Cuba from the view point of migration, which is a panorama we respect”.
The ¡Cuba Aqui! festival was supposed to be held in 2017, but diplomatic tensions between Cuba and the United States led to it being postponed until 2019.
Asidefrom the performances held in the U.S., “the agreements with the chair of dance at Hunter College have facilitated masters in the specialty promoted by the institution. In addition, we share a stage in Cuba and exchanges of technical classes”, explains Ortíz.
Since the performance at Fire Island Dance Festival in 2016, with “Abrazo perdurable”, the Contemporary Ballet has not stepped foot on U.S. soil. On that occasion, it became the first Cuban company to perform at the New York event. (PL)
(Translated by Lucy Daghorn)