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By Norge Espinosa Mendoza


Return to the DanzAbierta mirror

Marianela Boán returned to meet her spectators again, to discover that her name and the mark of what she founded as DanzAbierta in 1987 survives in the memory of the Cuban public as a symbol of provocation, as a gesture that, when danced, does not elude the importance of discourse, of thought, of the inciting will to greater clarity in the value of the dance itself and its impact on those who applaud it. After several years of searching, experimenting, premieres, questioning, and reconsidering in the United States of America and now in the Dominican Republic, the creator of The Fish in the Tower Swims in the Asphalt, A Cradle, Fastfood, Self-Portrait with a Spiral Staircase and Chorus Perpetuus, among many memorable pieces, returns with one of the choreographies that she has projected in that nearby Caribbean country, after a fleeting step that led her to one of the workshops that, for the training of choreographers, dancers and specialists, have been taking place every two years in the city of Manzanillo. The mere presence of this woman, her energy, and the always challenging quality of what she proposes, have been the major key of the DanzaCubabaila Platform, organized by the National Council of the Performing Arts, as a space for confrontation that, if repeated, I hope to expand its coordinates to other aspects of our dance field, maintaining the same character of encounter and improvement that has characterized its first and successful call.

If anything can be said with certainty about Marianela Boán, it is that she is a woman who follows the pulse of her time. She understands it and recombines it progressively, with the greater intention of discussing it, rather than contemplating it sweetly. From the years of training at the ENA and her subsequent passage through Contemporary Dance of Cuba, she assimilated not only dance traditions, but also theatrical, literary, and pictorial traditions, which made her question the immobility of many conventions. In perfect harmony with the most insightful creators of her time, Boán appeared both in a workshop given by the great Cuban theater artist Vicente Revuelta and supporting the young director Víctor Varela so that eight spectators could arrive in the living room of her own house. , night after night, they attended the ritual that changed the face of national theater in the 80s: The fourth wall. And at the same time, she was one of the dancers in Godot, the piece that Victor himself choreographed, or she danced a work by Gabri Christa, to later incorporate all that sap into her creation. Ramiro Guerra was a kind of compass in those moments, and from the master of modern dance on the Island, he learned the restless art of nonconformity, to imagine his mosaic, in which more and more dancers were breaking limits, and began to sing, to make themselves the music and sounds on which they danced, to dialogue between themselves and the audience, erasing the division between proscenium and lunetario. The trajectory of DanzAbierta, which began in 1987 with "Without Permission", expanded in that several of its members also contributed as choreographers and the talent of José Antonio Hevia was also responsible for such memorable provocations as Desnuda, in 1990.

The nucleus that arrived at the premieres of "The Fish in the Tower Swims in the Asphalt", "The Tree and the Road" and "Chorus Perpetuus", was a solid group of personalities who contributed their biographies and their ideas in exact complicity with the proposals of the leading figure. Maylín, Alexander, Pepito, Grettel, Owen, Manfugás... were mixed and divided again and again, both in those pieces of an entire night and in other fragments such as Antigone, confirming themselves before the spectators as that particular and necessary vibration that it was, in that DanzAbierta panorama. Boán's departure to the United States, in search of new experiences, triggered certain tensions in the team that remained in Cuba, and through shows such as "Drink, smoke, made in Havana", or "The Art of Escape", it was possible to perceive how DanzAbierta was fighting to survive a blow as serious as the absence of the central figure while trying not to lose its essence. We would have to wait for "Malson", created by the Spanish artist based in Cuba Susana Pous for DanzAbierta to curate in health those imbalances and were once again incorporated as a warning signal into the most interesting cultural scenarios in the country. That is the moment in which now, celebrating the 25 years of its foundation, DanzAbierta looks in the mirror of Malson and Showroom, in the eyes of a Marianela Boán who now, in addition to being the mother of that concept, faces it from the role of a spectator who is not at all naive.


A postcard on the back of the Caribbean.

Like a postcard affixed to the back of that Caribbean that wants to announce itself, despite everything, as a paradise populated by living temptations, Caribe Deluxe, the proposal that Marianela Boán brings to Cuba a few days after its premiere in Santo Domingo, is the letter of introduction of this new era of her work. An entire generation that knew about her as a living legend was now able to contemplate and analyze an example of her work, and fortunately, in this piece that essence that Boán came to show as a profile is visible, like a palpable echo of whatever her performance as leader of DanzAbierta was, as a true example of the character that she has been and is in the Cuban scene of these times. The distance, the risk of looking for a place in a space as competitive as North American dance, and the exploration in the dialogue of choreography with new technological means, did not distort the keys of inquiry that were always

hers, and now, in Caribe Deluxe, she confirms herself as a founder capable of reinventing herself in any space, working from a landscape where activating dance according to the perspective that she stars in, has meant starting almost from scratch, to getting closer now with dancers trained in that Boán style that erases classifications, that avoids the emptiness of the simply virtuous, to act as an act that refuses indifference.

The Caribbean, in this piece, are the bodies of these dancers. Mixed race, seductive, perfect/imperfect bodies that with their energy and presence, supported by few elements of clothing, aim to captivate us and at the same time, alert us to what this seemingly paradisiacal environment hides. For the choreographer, the Caribbean is a map of dangers and ideas that know how to disguise themselves in a crust that is as false as it is luminous. The play begins in the vicinity of the theater, with the performers dialoguing with the audience, warning them about robberies, chasing suspected thieves who are among themselves, while flirting in some way, underhanded or blatant, with those spectators who are already part of the theater. of the show, in a game that reminded me of the prologue of The Fish in the Tower... when the dancers who at that time were DanzAbierta entered the Mella offering exchanges as surreal as that time: malanga for a

dress: phrase that became famous. Caribe Deluxe exists in an uninterrupted sequence with those productions, with the tone and irony of those pieces in which the pleasure of dance did not hide the bitterness of a present that she knew how to rise above mere chronicle.

Throughout Caribe..., these dancers will narrate/show/decompose acts of seduction and violence. They will reclaim bachata as a “national anthem”, singing one of the most famous and dancing to its beats, to achieve a minute of calm among the fake commercials that sell sarongs with a magical effect on women who wear them (especially foreign ones) if They go out with them to the beaches on this side of the world. The sarongs themselves, the only pieces that, through an intense range of colors, become recurring elements in the choreography, will have that purpose, but they will become objects that, more than dressing, reveal the intentions of those who wear them: with them they will tie themselves The performers will be linked to each other, and those two women and those four men who are Caribe Deluxe (Erick Roque, Rafael Morla, Evelyn Tejeda, Dayme del Toro, Anubis Arias, Yojanel Bruno Colón), will float above them, " islands

“floating”, pieces and floating bodies of a Caribbean that reinvents itself even though it is threatened. The work, which has live music by Fabrizio Guzmán, intelligently alternates, from its dramaturgical structuring, those moments of violent dynamics, with other calm ones. The performance that could be seen in Havana, in a packed Raquel Revuelta hall, was insufficient for all those who wanted to witness the show, and although it was not exempt from the inevitable setbacks of any debut, it demonstrated that the power of the Boán is still intact, capable to move to these other bodies, in which sensuality, contempt, and defiance are mixed from the own blood will of who they are, they survive and discuss the proposal.

This is the third chapter of Boán's Dominican stage, preceded by other endeavors in which the ProDanCo project has been ensuring everything that the choreographer demands of its members. Incorporating Caribbean and techno sounds, dances, and local rhythms processed together with languages of entire dance modernity, privileging communication and the readjustment of ideas over contemplative meekness, she has been able to look at the country in which she found a possibility of returning to these latitudes, to take on problems that are in no way limited to that landscape. Cuba is also part of that false Caribbean, and the differences are only of degrees because, under the same intensity of color, we can repeat those questions. Time and time again, Marianela deconstructed.

He creates these kidnappings, attempted robberies, assaults, and hugs not to repeat the metaphor in useless variants, but

to enhance it as a warning signal. The Caribbean, I repeat, are those bodies. As fragile, beautiful, run-down, or transgressive, consciously or not, as those who occupy the public space can be.

Fortunately, Marianela Boán has returned to Cuba. When she comes and offers workshops, she meets teachers like Ramiro Guerra, with whom she was her colleague in Danza Contemporánea de Cuba and DanzAbierta. May she find viewers willing to understand her not as a museum piece, but as a creator who can still provoke them in a way that is not reduced to what we discuss and applaud about dance. That she is capable, as demonstrated by this show that hopefully returning to the Island in a season and is accompanied by some of those who preceded her, of explaining with transparency the role and commitment that this woman thinks for herself and for the art that she masters. A greater luck will be that Cuba allows him to make that bridge more solid, favoring his talent as a link that will benefit Cuban dance and culture, in that effort that is not always well attended to, which is to maintain contact with figures of undoubted importance and who, based wherever they are, continue to think of Cuba and Cubans, as characters in this same story without appealing to false acts of distancing or belonging.

Marianela Boán has not returned to Cuba so that we can meet her again, but to meet again, in the memory of her passing and in the applause of those of us who have wanted not to forget her. It is time for the National Dance Award to be in her hands, as it is in those of Carlos Acosta, who, from many other stages around the world, is the sure pride of Cubans. For now, the biggest prize will be to see her return, and not give up on that idea. She is the owner of a world of trees, roads, fish, bodies, cradles, islands, and poetry that avoids the lyrical poses, she knows that crossing the sea is not forbidden to her. Much less this Caribbean sea, populated by corals and beasts hidden by foam. With a dance step, she has been able to tell us how she has never known how to tell us how she has never stopped being among us.

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