At some point in the night time stopped, but I would lie if I said when. Maybe it was the sound of the waves of the sea, the drums calling for the rumba, the lights simulating the starry sky ... or all together, mixed with nostalgia. An "excuse me, sir", reminded me that this was the setting of the Kaye Playhouse, at Hunter University in New York, one of the oldest academic centers in this city. Otherwise, he would have stayed in a trance all night.
Travel to the past, wrap yourself in the happiest memories to conquer dreams, always remember where we come from, dress with the joy of Cuba and show that when dancing disappear all barriers are just some fruits of the good and abundant harvest left by the Ballet Contemporary of Camagüey after its debut on the artistic scene of the city that never sleeps.
Guajira, Más allá del mar and Paseando mi alma stopped being mere choreographic pieces to become tickets of travel to the Cuba of the childhood of an emigrant, to the smells and flavors of the Italian island of Sardinia, to the memories that interweave the family anecdotes. Three ballets where each member of the company shined with its own light. Three moments to rave about good art. Three irrefutable proofs that talent is also cultivated in eastern Cuba.
The multi-awarded dancer and choreographer Pedro Ruiz stands as the main architect of this dream, perhaps because for almost two decades he tries to shorten the distance between Cuba and the United States with the language of dance from The Windows Project, founded in 2010. Perseverance achieves everything, he says, and bypassing all the pitfalls involved in enrolling in such an adventure, now inscribes the name of the Contemporary Ballet of Camagüey in New York properties through the festival Cuba here! organized by the Hunter University of New York, which includes also master classes and exchanges with dance students from different New York ballet schools.
That now the local and national media disseminate the show as one of the cultural events of greatest impact in the city is nothing but the result of months of hard work, taking care of the smallest detail. The ten dancers recognize it by remembering the hours of rehearsal and the concerns that worry a choreographic montage marked by preciosity.
Fears? Thousands. Yaylín Ortiz Clavería, director of the company, declared it before the arrival to the Cuban press, by defining the presentation as a complicated challenge due to the dance plaza par excellence that is New York and the risk of carrying traditional elements of the company, the rhythms of the island and the seal of Ruiz, who also serves as the artistic director of the Camagüey group.
Perhaps, from now on, March will be inscribed in the cultural annals of the city as the month in which Camagüey was not so far from New York or as the moment that marks the consecration of the Agramontino guild in American lands. For me, however, it will always be the moment where time stopped and where I understood why the Austrian writer Vicki Baum repeated that there are shortcuts for happiness, and dance is one of them.
Photo: Hunter Collage Social Networks