One Ear Society

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Monica back from Cuba part 1

Poster says "Old Havana, City in Movement 15th International Festival of Dance in the urban landscape"
La Habana, Cuba
I recently made a pilgrimage to the source of Afro-cuban dance to study both the rhythmic patterns of the percussion and the dance itself. La Habana in many ways reminded me of why I dance, for what and for who. "Habana is very much like a rose. It has petals and thorns, so it depends on how you grasp it. But in the end it always grabs you."- A quote from the film The Lost City, well describes the often contradictory beauty and fragrance of the city. Wandering the streets of La Habana I found musicians on street corners, open air Son, Rumba and Salsa bands, dancers on stilts in the streets and walked by more than a few Santeria ceremonies in houses with their doors open. The prominence and accessibility of music and dance within the culture was remarkable to experience. In a city that has much less access to the material things with buildings falling down, rickshaws, horses and buggies, there seemed to be a tremendous compensation in the realm of spirit and art. This is what spoke to me. The way music and dance are truly lived and breathed by the community seemed very organic. It felt natural to experience dance and music as a part of life and as a mode of relating and connecting with ones community. I was struck by the overall artistic integrity of the community and their deep appreciation for music and dance. My journey was to learn more about the Yoruba based dance form that I have been studying since I was 19 years old. I am interested in the earthy power of the Afro-Cuban rhythms that tie communities together, creating a space to express joy, unity, and spirituality.

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