Hot Flamenco in Havana

By Irina Echarry, photos: Caridad

Ecos Flamenco Company – Huella de España Festival

HAVANA TIMES, June 9 – For the Cuban public, it is customary to enjoy the intricate steps and swirls of traditional Spanish dances.  On the island, there exist several groups that enrich this genre, as well as dance schools and companies that are constantly refining the art. At any time of the year, these companies offer performances in various theaters throughout Havana.

On Friday, June 5, as part of the Huella of España (The imprint of Spain) festival, Flamenco took over the Garcia Lorca Theater in Old Havana.  With their long swirling dresses – different tones of red – performed the passionate young lovers of Spanish music, singers and dancers.

The group, the Ecos Flamenco Company, has become a point of reference for Spanish music in Cuba.  Their aesthetics range between traditional flamenco, contemporary dance language and interactions with Cuban rhythms.

Ecos Flamenco Company – Huella de España Festival

With the show “Flamenco Fiesta,” Ecos celebrated its tenth anniversary as a troupe.  Emotions of love, melancholy and joy were translated into movement, song and lyricism derived from euphoria, which compelled the spectators to respond in a similar fashion.

Only Claude, a French national who has lived in Cuba for several years, complained of being unable to hear the heel-clicking steps that characterize the art form, though the rest of the audience swayed in their seats to the rhythms of the cajon (a wooden box percussion instrument) and the melodies of the guitars.

The company Habana Compas appeared on the stage even fresher and more youthful.  Created in 2004, it is made up of twelve dancers who approach contemporary styles based on Spanish dance, fusing its more traditional elements with popular Cuban, Latin and international rhythms in a unique format and with stylish dress.

Habana Compas – Huella de España Festival

Eduardo Cordova’s percussion, the violin of Dolvis Lozano and the Ediberto Diaz’ sax created an atmosphere that was especially attractive to the younger spectators.  The precision and delivery of the group’s dancers characterized the performance.

Lorenis, Sandra, Indira and Regina – students of Spanish dance – were astonished by the display of energy and technique they saw.  For Sandra, the culminating moment was the work “Locura” (Madness), because “It comes from the traditional, but with modern attire and music; however, that doesn’t stop it from being flamenco.”

Flamenco serves as a unifying bridge to express the energy of each dancer, singer and spectator.  We all felt what characterizes this genre: passion, strength and beauty.  Some expressed it with dance and music – others with applause.

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