Liszt Alfonso: Cuban Dance

As “a song sung from Havana” to the universe and an example of “the resilience of a man who lives by fighting his way out of a cage into infinity,” Alfonso Liszt describes another world premiere of the group under his leadership. Havana Phoenix will take to the stage of the majestic Marti Theater in the Cuban capital from 5 to 21 May.

Work is a creative resurrection after the pandemic. What dead end postponed the “choreographic imagination” of the dancers and maitre d’s formed in Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba. Steps, heels, strong steps of pointy boots are heard on the table. Builders’ costumes, castanets and helmets refer us to the life of those who persevere and find, dream and build. There is a street atmosphere of resistance and hope. Colors, sounds make us feel like we’re in front of a mirror, contemplating our timestamps and Cuba’s tenacity.

Dance, like all arts, Liszt admits in an excerpt from the essay, has a transformative power that we sometimes cannot appreciate in all its dimensions. The artist works with his picture, only he, in the solitude of the artist. In the case of dancers, they must rely on themselves for individual learning and preparation, but teamwork is crucial. They need their dance partners, designers, teachers to correct them and give them lessons every day.

Why did you love teaching when you could devote yourself entirely to creating a show?

“It’s an obligation my grandmother taught me at home. She was a teacher of Spanish language and literature. And he told me about Marty’s preaching that every person has the right to get an education and then, for a fee, contribute to the education of others. We have an obligation to pass this knowledge on to everyone who comes after us and, in turn, learn from them.

“We do not intend to study only in Cuba. Everywhere in the world that the company visits, we hold seminars and courses. From high school in the USA to professional dance school in Italy or Canada. When we were in South Africa, in a poor area of ​​Johannesburg, we went to school, and that day was a great celebration of hope for all these children.

— What characteristics define a corporate school from a methodological and technical point of view?

— This is the school of Dance-Fusion. It has a pyramidal structure, and at the base there are professional workshops, in which children from the age of five enter. Everyone is accepted into this group without exception. Then we begin to select those who go to children’s ballet, then to youth ballet and those who make a professional career.

“The teachers of the professional workshops are the company’s own dancers, who become the teachers of these kids in the evenings. And the most interesting thing is that today all members of the company graduated from our school.

“We have created our own teaching methodology. Being a fusion dancer is very difficult because you have to know and master many dance styles in order to use them on stage without seams. They can perform ballet steps, Spanish dance, flamenco, bowling, castanets, Cuban, Afro-Cuban folk dances… and with all that, later on we will delve into teaching fusion. And then all the styles merged into one. We build careers that last seven to eight years because some students move faster and we let them move forward, while others take a little longer and we accompany them until they learn what we need.

How is this school adapting to new contributions that are in line with the development of contemporary dance?

– In Cuba, we have always been up to date thanks to festivals, teachers and choreographers who teach in the Cuban National Ballet, in the Modern Dance of Cuba, in the National Folklore Ensemble … In addition, fortunately, we travel a lot and We constantly receive teachers who come to our headquarters. Two weeks ago, teacher, choreographer, artistic director of Broadway shows Luis Salgado shared his knowledge with us. And all these specialists come with their experience and use many other dance styles from anywhere in the world. It makes us never be left behind.

“And then you will find that modern dance today is on a completely different path than it was 30 years ago, in the time of my dear teacher Ramiro Guerra, but there is much in common with it. And we must develop in step with the times, but without losing the essence.

– For a dancer, physical training is of great importance, and what other training should he have?

The dancer is the mind. Beyond technique – and I always think of Alicia Alonso – you need to understand yourself. Invite a choreographer and comment: this scene is inspired by Avignon ladies and they have to determine that it is a Picasso painting and in a certain context. And if you’re talking about centripetal force, they should know it. I prefer a dancer with such talent. If he manages to combine technology and culture, this is a dream.

Havana Phoenix inspired by the restoration work of the Historic Center led by Eusebio Leal. How do you explain the transition from this inspiring force to the movement and visuals that we appreciate on stage?

“Those of us who had the opportunity and joy to share his dreams with him will recognize the transformative power he embodied. The first time he gave the whole company a tour of Old Havana, we came to the park, which was restored and was dirty and neglected. Immediately he began to collect garbage thrown on the floor and, of course, we all began to help him, because his attitude was contagious and for the better.

At some point, he turned to us and said: what we cannot allow is that laziness wins; beauty must prevail. And we share this idea. Teresita Fernandez also said: give ugly things a little love.

The work of the City Historian’s Office to prevent the collapse of this Havana is enormous. Everything is reflected in one way or another. Havana Phoenix.

The maestra oversees rehearsals before the premiere at the company’s main headquarters, located on Belen Square in the historic center of Havana. Photo: Luisa Maria Lopez-Silvero

– This is a source of inspiration, it is in dance images, in music …

“And in the voice of Leal, who accompanies us and guides us in many moments of the show, in a soundtrack conceived like a movie.

What else does this soundtrack offer us?

– The magic of the city is presented in its sounds, expressing many feelings: the pain of those who are not here today because they left, those who return and recognize their city and who do not. We placed a suitcase on the stage that stays on the stage for a long time, which, discussing among ourselves during the creation process, determined that it should be something old and modern, because in the end it carries a whole story that began a long time ago. when we weren’t Cuba yet, we didn’t even have our own identity.

— Cuba and dancing?

– This explosive mixture of Spain, Africa, Arabs, Asians… in the middle of the Caribbean Sea has shaped us and much more in art. IN Havana Phoenix We are trying to reflect this. The musical selection of the show caresses the ear with all the sounds that characterize us and the dance expressions that identify us. Cuba and dance are the same: Cuba is dancing. All his life he danced. Even those who can’t dance move here.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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