The 1,400 capacity theatre alone was worth the visit with its modernist style interior and design that meant every seat was a good one. Luckily the audience were all directed to sit in the stalls downstairs and the manager allowed us to sit on the first circle where Andy had free reign to move around to photograph the show.
The audience seemed to consist of dance students, young people, friends of the company and Havana’s dance/theatre network. It was all very relaxed as the audience were in no rush to take their seats, there was a lot of socialising going on and after the bell rang for a prolonged third time, eventually the lights going down seemed to be the signal that the show would now begin.
From the start of the show until the end the most striking thing about this incredible company was the physicality of the dancers and the high standard of the direction. The moments where the company performed the choreography in unison were completely flawless and the sections which were solos and small groups displayed such a high level of performance that I was left just wondering what this magical Cuban dance training consisted of.
Matria Etnocentra was a world premiere by renowned Cuban choreographer George Céspedes and is the sixth new piece by the company this year. It was 35 minutes long but that time flies as you are drawn into the dance. This piece is the last part of a trilogy by this choreographer about identity and being Cuban and is inspired by Cuban music.
The opening of Matria Etnocentra consisted of the whole company stood together like an army in t-shirts with a star on the front and moving completely in unison while staying in tight formation. The shapes they made as they moved from one formation to another while maintaining their unison dance was visually stunning. The clever use of costume changes helped develop the piece as it moved from this opening into the main body of the piece and then to the more colourful final section with more weaving patterns and formations.
It must have been good as we have changed our plans to go back again tonight!
We are going to an African dance technique class and rehearsal next week so hopefully more on this company and the contemporary dance scene in Cuba soon……
Photos by Monster Cat Pics