The extraordinary Danza Contemporánea de Cuba are heading to our theatre soon, so we thought you might like to know a little more about them.
The company were founded in 1959 – as history experts will no doubt already have noticed, this was the same year that saw the Cuban Revolution, which swept the Communist Fidel Castro to power. Dance was important to the Castro regime – in fact the government funded 14 dance schools built throughout the history of the revolution. Danza Contemporánea (then known as Conjunto Nacional de Danza Moderna) was one of the most important.
Whilst the blockade that followed the revolution meant a loss of USA ties, Danza Contemporánea performed at the Festival of Theater of Nations in 1961 at Olympia in Paris, followed that year by a tour to various socialist countries. And even then, the company’s international development did not stop, with visits to Spain, France, Canada, Belgium, almost all of Asia, much of Africa and Latin America from 1961 to the 1990s.
They exploded onto the UK dance scene in 2010, bringing with them their own unique style of dance – described as a blend of “Afro Caribbean rhythms, jazzy American modernism and inflections from European ballet”, which reflects the mixed heritage of Cuba and its people. And the UK fell in love with them. They sold out from Newcastle to Brighton, with The Telegraph saying of them: “Facially and physically, they are as drop-dead gorgeous a clutch of people as you are ever likely to see in any one place at any one time. But, above all, it is the quality of their movement – a seamless and urgent fusion of Afro-Caribbean, Latin and modern-American – that holds the attention like glue.”
They returned to the UK with further acclaim in 2012 and they make their debut at our theatre this spring. The Telegraph ended their review: “Whatever they’re dancing, you’ll find them a very welcome ray of tropical sunshine.” In these dark and cold days of winter, a little sunshine to look forward to is surely what we all need.
Danza Contemporánea de Cuba: Friday 17 & Saturday 18 March. Book here.