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Malpaso Dance Company Seeks to Elevate Cuba’s Contemporary Dance
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Saturday, February 8, 2020
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

There may be no other country better known for its passionate music and dancing than Cuba.

Former slaves began dancing the rumba in the 1890s to familiar rhythms from their homeland across the sea. And Cuban dancers have enthralled the world with their Cuban salsa, danzon, son and guaguanco, a sensual rumba, ever since.

Now, Malposa Dance Company is putting a new twist on Cuban dance. And they will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, at The Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum. Tickets start at $60, available at www.theargyros.org or by calling 208-726-7872.

“We work in very distinct layers, so connected to our roots and our culture. We try to understand where did we come from, how to we bring up to date to the next legacy,” said Fernando Saez, one of the co-founders of the company. “We try to bring Cuban contemporary dance into the 21st century.”

Malposa Dance Company is made up of dancers who graduated from Cuba’s national dance schools for modern and ballet. It was created in 2012 in 2012 by Saez, artistic director Osnel Delgado and dancer Daileidys Carrazana.

Cuba’s first and only independent dance company, it has become a much sought-after company around the world.

“In 2012 we feel that for different reasons to leave the company was coming,” Saez said. “At the same time, we wanted to explore different landscapes, coming from a theater background, after working for so many years in the foundation of Cuba. We wanted to increase the standard of human choreography, to better push the situation in the choreographic field.”

What they set out to do seems to be working.

A reviewer for the Pittsburgh Examiner likened the articulation through their limbs to being “as precise as a puzzle.” Others have used words like “fluid, sexy athleticism,” “a blend of unfussy ballet technique and lushly earth modern dance,” “a non-stop barrage of fluid movement” and “joints like liquid.”

The company has worked with international choreographers, including Trey McIntyre, who ran the Trey McIntyre project in Boise for several years.

Saez said the hope is that collaborating with international choreographers will hone and inspire the work of the company’s own young choreographers.

“A great deal of learning, a great adventure for the dancers,” he said. “Our dancers have very strong technical training, while bringing Cuban expression to the conversation of the company.”

Not only do the dancers have to dance at a very high level but, unlike most American companies, they have to take care of the rest of the activities that make up a dance company, Saez noted. That includes taking care of e-marketing and cleaning the floor every morning.

But it’s worth it, he said, as they strive to create a unique company that approaches contemporary Cuban dance in a unique way.

“Even when we work with guest choreographers, we bring our own culture into the performance,” he said. “We are just trying to find the case of who we are.”

 

 

 

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