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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Danza Contemporanea De Cuba Comes to Philly

A Review by Sojourner Ahebee
Countries, like people, form precise impressions in our minds.  Cuba is an impression still forming in mine.

In 1981, my mother went to China as part of a college winter study project and the following winter she took a course on the cultural and political history of Cuba.  Her, then,  19 year-old boyfriend warned her that he was planning a political career and he couldn’t afford to be associated with people who have a documented habit of expressing interest in Communist countries.  This story was my first introduction to Cuba and I wondered what kind of place could interfere with young love.

A few years ago, I attended a photography exhibition at the International House, here in Philadelphia.  It consisted of photographs taken by Cuban-Americans of their family members in Cuba.  At that time, because of our government’s policy, Cuban-Americans could only visit their families in Cuba once every three years.  This exhibition was a protest against this policy as well as the U.S. government’s 50-year –old trade embargo against Cuba.  This was introduction number 2.

My mother makes my brother and I read newspapers and not online.  We clip articles that interest us and do our own follow-up.  I have a clipping of an article about a woman from West Philly, from my neighborhood, who wanted to be a doctor and went to Cuba, right out of high school, and became one.  The Cuban government has a special program where African-Americans can study medicine in Cuba. Learning about this program was introduction number 3.

Last night I had a physically bold introduction to Cuba in the form of Danza Contemporanea  de Cuba, a  modern dance troupe direct from Cuba.  In fact, last night’s performance was the troupe’s first visit to the United States.  I really felt like I was a part of something monumental.  President Obama has lifted some of the travel restrictions imposed on Cubans and Americans and now there are all of these great cultural exchanges happening.  

Co-presented by the Dance Affiliates and the Kimmel Center, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba gave me so much insight into Cuba as well as delivered an astounding dance performance.  Before, I could never really get a precise mental vision of who makes up Cuba, but last night I received a stunning visual display of the wide-range of ethnicities that comprise Cuba.  I am not a dance critic, but I have been to a lot of dance performances, and I was so happy-this is the word I want to use-to see how Danza Contemporanea de Cuba effortlessly presented same-sex couples dancing together and expressing all that love entails.  Its repertoire was physical, lyrical, magical and conveyed what is relevant and meaningful.

Come out tonight and witness this history-making event. Danza Contemporanea de Cuba is phenomenal. 

Here is a great link to learn more about Danza Contemporanea de Cuba.

Danza Contemporanea de Cuba
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
7:30 P.M.
Merriam Theater

250 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

The Kimmel Center Box Office is open daily from 10am - 6pm. The Call Center is open daily from 9am - 8pm. Call 215-893-1999 to purchase tickets by phone. Call 215-731-3333 for Broadway at the Academy tickets. TTY callers use 215-875-7633.

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