Danza del Caribe: Itara
An hour of vivid Afro-Caribbean modern dance ritual from Cuba
This article is from 2015.
The umbrella title for this collage of three dances from Cuba’s Danza del Caribe translates from the West African Yoruba language as ‘burning desire.’ The company specialises in a fusion of styles – principally Afro-Caribbean and modern dance – that have the flavour of folk ritual. It helps that the music, primarily vocal and percussive, is played live. Less beneficial is the relatively limited performance area. The dancers, and the dances themselves, deserve more breathing room. Without space to expand, the work can come across a mite sloppy and kitsch, when what’s probably meant to be conveyed is a meaty vibrance.
The opening section is a fertility dance by Caribe’s founder, Eduardo Rivera. The cast’s torsos are notably undulant, and sometimes they puff their cheeks while sporting fierce and arresting expressions. Luz (light), by principal dancer Eduardo Salas Borrero, features movement that is by turns adagio, gymnastic and marked by more than a hint of primitivism. Los Elementos, by Australian-born company member Mina Waks, taps into cultural traditions reflecting the Santeria religion. Here the dancing is carnal in spirit but also carnivalesque and, at the climax, briefly accompanied by flames. Danza del Caribe may not light a blazing fire in your soul, but they’ll keep your attention.
Assembly Roxy, 623 3030, until 31 Aug (not 17, 24), 5pm, £12–£14 (£11–£13).