Danza Fragmentada: Guantanamo?s brilliant dance company 
 by Victoria Alcalá
 
 
The celebration of a dance company’s 20th anniversary in Havana always makes the news, but the fact that a dance company from Guantanamo, Cuba’s easternmost province, situated almost 1,000 km from the capital, and where there is no tradition of professional dance, should hit the front page makes it a little more newsworthy.

 
 

Danza Fragmentada was created on October 7, 1993 by dancer, teacher and choreographer Ladislao Navarro Tomasen, who has directed the company ever since then. For his graduation exercise at the Higher Institute of the Arts (ISA), Navarro proposed an experimental project that drew from different techniques, styles and manifestations. Initially made up of physically fit young people with a vocation for dance but without any academic training whatsoever, the company also became an educational center for training the young inexperienced dancers in ballet techniques, modern and contemporary dance, folklore elements, acting, self-expression through movement and choreographic composition. Although requiring more work, this gave Navarro great creative freedom to personally mold his dancers. And he still enjoys this freedom, even now that his troupe receives professional dancers trained in art schools.

In addition to the training of the future dancers, Ladislao had to deal with another challenge: finding an audience for the company. So Navarro incorporated regional cultural elements, such as changüí, voodoo and tumba francesa dances into the training, as well as his own concept of movement. His choreographies dealt with the troubles, feelings and longings of human beings and he fostered a type of art that was increasingly interactive. All this was supplemented with intense community work, carried out especially with children, who were seen not only as potential artists, but also as part of future audiences capable of enjoying contemporary, complex dance expressions.

Navarro, who for many years was the company’s sole choreographer, has offered opportunities to young talents from his own company and guests dancers. An example of this was the short season of Danza Fragmentada at Havana’s Mella Theater (October 2013) when the company produced A ras de vuelo and Esquizofrenia by Yoel González. In its endeavor to represent the stress in everyday life, Esquizofrenia, resorts to different resources, which are in line with the open spirit of the company.
Danza Fragmentada: Guantanamo?s brilliant dance company

Further celebrations took place in Guantanamo from October 7th to 13th, 2013. Performances included several premieres and other emblematic pieces from its repertoire, as well as performances by guest companies. We sadly were not there but look forward to seeing the group back in Havana before too long…
November 2013
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Balletomania: The 2006 International Ballet Festival
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