HAVANA TIMES — Susana Pous is a Spanish artist who has been involved with the Cuban stage for many years. “I’ve never felt out of place in Cuba. There are of course cultural differences that I’ve run into, but I have always tried to approach differences with respect.”
HT: What significant professional experiences did you have in Spain, your country of origin?
Susana Pous: I worked as a dancer and assistant director in some of Barcelona’s most importance dance companies, next to such established choreographers as Mercedes Boronat, Maria Rovira, Ramon Oller and Cuban-born Pepe Hevia.
HT: What circumstances led you to move to Cuba?
SP: It was a personal decision, the need for change in my life, the search for new paths. Cuba is a country where the relationship between dance and art in general was attractive to me, where I felt I could learn and contribute. That is how it came to be.
It is also a place where I felt my daughters could grow up in a healthy and safe environment.
HT: Was it a challenge to move to the island, to live in a society so different from Spain’s?
SP: I don’t believe we’re so different in many respects. I have traveled and lived around the world since I was little because of my father’s work, places where the cultural and social differences are more evident, like northern Africa or the Amazonian jungle. I’ve never felt out of place in Cuba. There are of course cultural differences that I’ve run into, but I have always tried to approach differences with respect.
HT: Tell us about Danza Abierta and Marianela Boan.
SP: Marianela Boan founded Danza Abierta 28 years ago. She is one of the most important of Cuban choreographers. I met her in Barcelona more than 20 years ago and, when I arrived in Cuba, she opened the doors of her company to me. A few months later she left the country. We barely managed to work together, but she left a great legacy, a way of staging dance performances and a seal of distinction which the company has tried to maintain.
HT: You are currently responsible for the artistic work in this Cuban company.
SP: Guido Gali has been the company’s general director since Marianela Boan left. I went from being a dancer to a resident choreographer, and have been directing the company’s performances since 2006. I am also part of the managing team.
HT: What stories do you wish to tell through your creative work in Danza Abierta?
SP: I can only say that I can’t cease to be interested in who I am, what I feel, what moves about me and moves me emotionally, my dancers, the people around me. I don’t make up stories, I share them, I search for and set things in motion. I am concerned about what surrounds me, what is close to me. I believe this makes my work more sincere.
HT: What do you believe is missing from Cuban contemporary dance, and what do you think it has too much of?
SP: There are excellent schools and very good dancers in Cuba today. But, why are there nearly no Cuban choreographers on the island? There is no money for productions, no resources. There are no technical or economic conditions for working here. That doesn’t paralyze me, but it makes my job a bit more difficult. I continue giving it my all.
Also see this photo feature on Danza Abierta