Dance review: Danza Contemporanea de Cuba at Sadler’s Wells

11:37 31 May 2012

Danza Contemporánea de Cuba

Danza Contemporánea de Cuba

Archant

Cuban contemporary dance troupe one of best to hit London in a while, writes Natasha Hotson

Is it me or does contemporary dance have a tendency to take itself too seriously? Navel-gazing angst followed by writhing death seems to be the order of the day and there’s only so much of that most audiences can take.

My theory is that some choreographers have an inferiority complex that ballet is recognised as the purer dance style. But surely subversive art forms are supposed to break away from the more established ones, not try to outdo them.

Refreshingly, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, established in 1959, the year of the Cuban Revolution, successfully satirises the opera Carmen and reverses stereotypes of rose-between-the-teeth Latin dance in George Cespedes’ Mambo 3XX1.

The mixed bill is split into three separate pieces that stand alone and form a coherent whole - testament to the calibre of this innovative and inspirational company.

The first piece, Sombrisa, choreographed by Itzik Galili, is inspired by boxing. The cast of 18 keep their gloves on throughout and somehow look graceful sparring to a drumming composition. Their timing is impeccable – many a corps de ballet would look sloppy in comparison.

Then Kenneth Kvarnstrom’s Carmen?! shakes things up. Set to George Bizet’s original music, seven male dancers play all the parts including a simpering Carmen and her racy sisters. Although the send up does not do the score justice, the entertainment factor compensates.

Finally Mambo 3XX1 showcases the dancers’ technical and artistic range. Initially they mambo as if in an army drill; little by little things loosen up until girls embrace girls and boys boogy with boys. Then the decadence of cabaret seamlessly flows into street dance set against the electronic sounds Cuban duo Nacional Electronica have blended into the rhythms of “King of the Mambo”, Perez Prado.

One of the best contemporary dance shows to hit London for some time.

* Danza Contemporanea de Cuba is at Sadler’s Wells until tomorrow, Friday June 1.

Latest Stories

12:44
American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria (AP Photo/freejamesfoley.org, Nicole Tung, File)

The SAS is closing in on the man known as ‘John’, suspected of being from London, who brutally executed US journalist James Foley.

Read more
Ishak Ayiris is set to study at Eton College.  Photograph by Lucy Ray

A schoolboy who secured top marks in his GCSEs is set to follow in the footsteps of David Cameron and Boris Johnson after winning a scholarship to Eton worth £76,000.

Read more
18:49
The student was caught trying to board a flight at Stansted Airport with eight flares in his luggage (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

A student from north London was caught trying to board a plane at Stansted Airport with eight explosive flares and a terrorist manual.

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

Quizzes

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more
Can you guess the Tube station just from the outside? (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

How well do you know your Tube stations? Can you guess these Underground stops from the pictures taken outside them?

Read more