CriticalDance Forum

Ballet Rakatan - Havana Rakatan
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Author:  David [ Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:19 am ]
Post subject:  Ballet Rakatan - Havana Rakatan

Here is a link to a review from last year's visit to London:

Having just had a quick browse of a few videos on YouTube, it seems difficult to disagree with the press release when it talks of this "being a show that's guaranteed to get heads nodding and feet tapping."

Have to admit that I wouldn't normally go see this, but I am quite looking forward to it.

Birmingham Hippodrome, 1-3 May including a Saturday matinee.

Author:  David [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:22 am ]
Post subject: 

A little more about the show. And note the bit about a post show salsa party with the company dancers after the show on the first night.

The Hippodrome press release reads...

From the sultry rumba to the slick footwork of the cha-cha-cha, 14 dancers perform a captivating and colourful display of Cuba’s many vibrant dance forms. Choreographer Nilda Guerra and her company present a stunning slice of life Havana-style, with all the passion and exuberance of a country famous for its rich music and dance heritage.

Havana Rakatan demonstrates the wide range of Cuba’s music and dance which stems from a fusion of Spanish culture and African spiritual beliefs. In this dazzling production, flamenco, yoruba and Afro-Haitian rhythms as well as jazz, mambo and bolero, give way to the modern forms of salsa which originated in the early twentieth century salon dances.

The authentic dance is matched by the music, and taking their name from Cuba’s highest peak, Turquino specialise in traditional Cuban dance music called son. After performing all over the world and becoming a household name at home, this eight-piece band bring their infectious sound to the Hippodrome stage. With its roots in Afro-Cuban music, son is the foundation of modern salsa and combines instruments such as the tres, guitar, trumpet, bongo, güiro and vocals, as well as being considered the first musical genre to use drums played with bare hands.

Also returning along with Turquino is sensational 23 year-old lead vocalist Geydi Chapman. Born into a household of engineers and aspiring artists, she left behind her childhood desire to become a ballerina to focus on a musical career. She proved herself a great new talent with stellar performances at Cuban festivals since 2005 before her debut in the UK in 2007, which received wide critical acclaim.

Founded in 2001 by former dancer Nilda Guerra, Ballet Rakatan is regarded as one of the most talented and versatile groups of dancers to emerge from Cuba in many years. Most of the dancers are graduates of the renowned Escuela Nacional de Arte de la Habana, combining contemporary dance training with every aspect of Cuban dance and Latin styles. Between 2003 and 2006, Ballet Rakatan toured extensively in Switzerland and Italy and made their debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2006.


Following the performance on Thursday 1 May the audience is invited to carry on with the Salsa party by heading to Birmingham Hippodrome foyers where members of the company of Havana Rakatan will be dancing to the Salsa beat provided by Mauricio Reyes from Birmingham based LatinMotion. This is a rare chance for Salsa lovers to learn from some of the best Salsa dancers in Cuba.

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