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Isabel Bustos: Andalusian passion & Araucanian spirit

Isabel Bustos: Andalusian passion & Araucanian spirit

Her troupe is about to begin rehearsing, so we have the singular chance to witness the calm and steady manner in which she guides her dancers, supervises the use of lights, and even makes adjustments to the costumes. She creates a demanding yet relaxed climate. The “old” dancers, as those who have been with the company longer are called (although they are all very young) coach the newcomers to the Retazos technique -a form of dance created by Isabel to achieve her personal artistic goals. Everyone speaks of this technique in different ways, perhaps because it still lacks theoretical consolidation (which Isabel announces will have soon) or perhaps because its essence lies precisely in change, constant search. Everyone agrees on one thing, though, and that is that the most difficult thing upon joining Retazos is to unlearn what they have been taught previously in dance academies.

Isabel tells us that her intention is to form a new kind of dancer who will not only display technical virtuosity or be an instrument in the hands of an almighty choreographer, but a thinking and feeling artist constantly learning and expanding, not only physically and technically but intellectually and emotionally. “We must always seek honesty in a dancer,” says Isabel. “We need to question always the meaning of what we do, what we are, and what we can put forward. I believe that this is a constant feature in Retazos. And we move from the particular to the universal. And that does not change. Our productions are different, but in the end, the questioning remains,” reveals Isabel.

Isabel seems to have an inexhaustible source of creativity hidden inside of her. At the door of her sanctuary, she invites us to return and reminds us that life is not a uniform whole. “We are made of bits and pieces of emotions, feelings, experiences.” We gladly accept the invitation of this woman whose philosophy of search, experimentation and uninterrupted and fruitful work have earned her the 2012 National Dance Award for her unique work in the area of dance theater and community arts. For 25 years, the charisma and drive of this intelligent and graceful woman, a “Chilean-Ecuadorian-Cuban” as she describes herself, has enriched the lives of the many people who have come into contact with her.

Teatro Carolina
Amargura No. 61 e/ San Ignacio y Mercaderes, Habana Vieja, La Habana,
Tel. +(53) 7 860 4341
www.danzateatroretazos.cu April 2014 This article formed part of the April 2014 issue of What’s On Havana The definitive monthly travel & culture guide to Havana Download our current issue of What’s On Havana, your definitive travel, culture and entertainment guide for all things happening in Havana, Cuba’s bustling and enigmatic capital city. We include features from around Cuba written by the best international travel writers covering Cuba. Our monthly online digital magazine is also available in Spanish and French.


What’s On Havana What’s On La Habana What’s On La Havane April, 2014
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