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Danza Contemporánea de Cuba – The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Lucia Cox


Imagine, if you will, a blend of Afro Caribbean rhythms, electronic soundscapes and European Ballet, throw in some nods and hints to the great choreographers of the last century (Bausch, Graham, Cunningham), then throw it into disarray with boundless energy and a company with world class choreographers to boot and you have what is known as a superb event that transcends ideas about contemporary dance.

‘Sombrisa’ is a fine example of what can be done with 23 performers on stage, boxing gloves aloft, fighting the good fight. For 25 minutes, we’re included in a ritual. The soundtrack is a drum beat from a visceral world (Steve Reich’s ‘Drumming Part 1’) and the dancers are surmounting that landscape. Itkik Galili is a profound and respected choreographer who can hunt out that primal energy which morphs, blurs and asks who we are and what we want.

‘Carmen?!’, on the other hand, is an amorous, humorous, knowingly camp crowd pleaser with riffs from the opera and lifts to die for. Accessible but nonetheless delicious and devilish. Kenneth Kvarnström, this time at the helm, ensures that the audience are satiated. With special mention to performer, Alberto González for his eye-gazing, soporific interpretation of Carmen, it’s a super-sweet treat before the finale.

‘Mambo 3XXI’ is the work of George Céspedes and deserves the accolades it’s had (Olivier, TMA and National Dance Awards). Set in an almost Fascistic state, it opens with military-precision moves which quickly fall apart to reveal the elation of life itself. Yelda Leyva has solo pieces that crack and spark and lead to the cumulative ending. How wonderful to see an ensemble piece – its uniform structure so perfectly performed, how more moving it becomes when the dance explodes like a firecracker to reveal human spirit and wonderment.

This was a one-night only performance at The Lowry but if it comes around again, go and rejoice in the exploration of our human spirit. Pure joy.

Reviewed on 9th June 2012

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