A night of premieres

Danza Contemporanea de Cuba: Snape Maltings; April 18The national dance company of Cuba - Danza Contemporanea de Cuba - performed an exciting, innovative and in parts daring trilogy of dances at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall to a packed house.

Danza Contemporanea de Cuba: Snape Maltings; April 18

The national dance company of Cuba - Danza Contemporanea de Cuba - performed an exciting, innovative and in parts daring trilogy of dances at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall to a packed house.

The programme contained two premiers, the first of which being Folia. With choreography by Jan Linkens, the entire company took part in this captivating performance, all wearing red shorts and tight-fitting tops. Opening with quite tribal-sounding music, the piece segued into a more classical style and sound with cello and music, for which the dancers all donned flowing, full red skirts.

Though mainly fast, there were slower sections where couples came together to portray typical Cuban partner dance, accompanied musically by a variation on traditional Cuban music.


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The final section of Folia seemed inspired by musicals, and was reminiscent of West Side Story. The pace of the dance built to the frenzied climax - though fast-paced, the dancers were technically brilliant, athletic and strong yet graceful. An excellent opening piece.

Part two - La Ecuacion - was choreographed by George Cespedes, one of the company dancers, and was my favourite piece of the night. Simple and yet so effective, four dancers appeared, one by one, to dance within the frame of a cube, lit from above. Once the music kicked in, this was another fast, highly enjoyable piece to watch, as each dancer took it in turn to take the spotlight in the centre of the cube. Though the music was repetitive, its regular claps at the end of each phrase made it really catchy. In fact, the movements so accurately reflected the music it was like the dancers actually became the music. And the idea of being enclosed within a box could easily have represented the restrictive regime those in Cuba have to live by and try to escape from.

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The final piece - Demo_n/crazy (apparently it had to have its name changed when performed in Cuba as the state, which funds the company, didn't approve) was choreographed by DanceEast artist in residence Raphel Bonachela. Focusing on the negative, destructive sides to romantic relationships, both between men and women and men and men, this piece shocked the audience at the outset when three of the female dancers appeared on stage without tops on. Although the dancers were again technically brilliant, I personally found the music highly irritating. Save for the rather incongruous French song half way through, the rest reminded me of a group of violins having a scrap, that or a primary school orchestra. Fortunately, the performances by the Cuban dancers, whose lithe, supple and agile bodies made all the movements seem a breeze, made up for the horrendous music.

Over all a fantastic, innovative night of dance, with these physical gods and goddesses of dance deserving all the accolades that pour their way.

Katy Evans

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