Fringe preview: Danza del Caribe – Itara
Sensuality and Afro-Caribbean rhythms from Cuban modern dance troupe
This article is from 2015.
Dancer-choreographer Mina Waks hails from an arts-oriented Australian family. Eight years ago, while touring Cuba, she met her future husband, Eduardo Salas, who just happened to be a key member of Danza del Caribe. Waks is now the company’s sole non-Cuban.
Caribe, says Waks, is her adopted country’s only throwback modern dance troupe. ‘Cuba is modernising and, in dance, moving towards a more European contemporary style,’ she says. ‘We keep abreast of changing times, but what makes this company unique – and what we hope audiences will love – is the Afro-Caribbean mix. This isn’t salsa, it’s raw and street, with an ingrained sexuality oozing from the dancers’ pores.’
The company is based in Santiago de Cuba – the country’s second-largest city and, according to Waks, distinct from Havana. ‘It’s simpler, less developed,’ she says. ‘It’s also much more in tune with its African roots and Caribbean neighbours, Haiti and Jamaica.’ Dances by her and Salas will feature in Caribe’s mixed bill, entitled Itara, along with a signature piece by its late founder, Eduardo Rivera. The programme, says Waks, is a potent blend capable of transporting viewers to ‘a place where the borders between the elements, gods and humans become blurred.’
Assembly Roxy, 623 3030, 8–31 Aug (not 12, 17, 24), 5pm, £12–£14 (£11–£13). Previews 5–7 Aug, £10.