Monday, March 15, 2010

Rakatan takes London by storm

By New Worker correspondent

CUBAN culture is not hard to find in London these days and for the past month Londoners have been trooping to Sadler’s Wells’ Peacock Theatre to see the return of an amazing dance spectacular that covers the entire gamut of Cuban music from the songs and dances of the African slaves to the mambo, rumba and salsa of the 20th century.
Backed by the voice of Geydi Chapman and the massive sound of a seven-piece band, the dancers stride through nearly two hours of sound and light that is authentically Cuban and internationally acclaimed.
Havana Rakatan was devised by Cuban choreographer Nilda Guerra in 2001 after spending a year teaching salsa in London. She brought together some of the best young dancers of Cuba to interpret the island’s cultural history through rhythm and dance and backed it with a band, Turquino, that is rooted in Afro-Caribbean music.
Formed in the early 1980s by students dedicated to traditional Cuban music, Turquino provides powerful backing to dancers who’ve come from the renowned Escuela Nacional de Arte de la Habana.
They’ve now thrilled audiences in Cuba and all over the world, starting from December 2002, when they became the first Cuban troupe to perform at the World Salsa Congress in Zurich. And they’re no strangers to the British public either, having done three successful seasons in London and winning the Five Stars Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006. Catch them next time round!

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