Ballet RevoluciÃ³n [Source: Arts Centre Melbourne]
There's been a lot of news about Cuban dance companies on tour lately and I've been remiss in covering that news. However, Ballet RevoluciÃ³n's upcoming world tour, premiering in Australia, is a great place to start:
"Ballet RevoluciÃ³n premieres its world tour in Australia in July 2011. An explosive fusion of Ballet, Contemporary dance and modern hip-hop from Cuba…featuring a live All Star Cuban Band playing hits from Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Santana, Ricky Martin, Chris Brown, Beyonce and many more."
"Ballet RevoluciÃ³n is Ballet unleashed as only the Cubans know how. Passion and ferocity are fundamental to Cuban dancers. They don't just dance with the music, they dance inside it. This dynamism in Cuban dance inspired Producers Mark Brady and Jon Lee to create an exciting new dance event straight out of Havana and bring it to the world."
"A unique opportunity to see some of the world's most talented classical and contemporary dancers from the elite companies in Cuba perform way beyond their normal repertoires, demonstrating their phenomenal versatility, combining styles as diverse as classical ballet and hip hop. Ballet RevoluciÃ³n is a powerful blend of styles and genres set against Cuban classics, modern Latin American and R&B hits."
You can find out more on Ballet RevoluciÃ³n's website but there's a missing backstory in all the coverage I've seen and the site doesn't clear up some confusion. These are all professional dancers associated with major Cuban companies who either moonlight with Ballet RevoluciÃ³n or are now focused on that project fulltime.
However, the choreographers are Roclan Gonzalez Chavez, a major Cuban choreographer who has created shows that toured worldwide, and Aaron Cash, known for his role in the original Tap Dogs. So, is this a regular company, a special touring show, a collab between Cuban and Australian producers? I'm assuming, given the passing mention of producers Mark Brady and Jon Lee, that this show was created by business interests outside of Cuba working with Cubans to create a touring show rather than a permanent company.
Very interesting but also a reminder that the US embargo of Cuba has not only helped impoverish that tiny country but also impoverished American cultural life. I bet this wouldn't be a mystery at all if Americans had not been kept in the dark for so long. Dance was never meant to be caged!