|Cuban National Folk Dance Group to Continue its Performance
2012.05.10 - 09:08:07 / firstname.lastname@example.org / Translated by: JC Caballero
The Conjunto Folclórico Nacional (National Folk Dance group of Cuba) has already turned 50 years of existence, the company, which was created in the beginning of 1962, has had among its main goals to preserve and rescuing the Cuban folk dance and musical roots.
Now fifty years later of having been created the National Folk Dance group, it can be said that each of its members has helped to develop its own style that is applauded and recognized in stages all over the world.
The aforementioned company´s repertoire, which has been increased and influenced by the cultural traditions of the island since the decade of nineteen sixty from the last century until nowadays, has a marked Yoruba, congo and carabalí content.
Maestro Rogelio Martínez Furé, who is and one of its creators, pointed out that the company never tried to make ethnographic performances, on the contrary, the idea was to create a professional and folk dance group without losing the essence of the true folk perspective.
´We wanted to transform that huge source of vital essences that is our people and us given that we are also part of that people into a company that could respect the principles of the performing arts that were in vogue in the sixties by having certainly an open door or chance to learned and assimilate all the good influences that would come later from all latitudes without experiencing chauvinist or xenophobic attitudes.´
According to Furé, ´the National Folk Group has assimilated all that have come to the island from other cultures given that our nation is the result of the cultural influences that came from other continents. Therefore, he recalled, we always equally assumed and understood the ancient, modern, ritual, profane, urban, rural and also experimental cultural influences.´
´Within the company´s repertoire, it was easy to find the use of the chamber music that was inspired in our popular traditions which sometimes served for the artistic construction of certain choreography needed by the National Folk Dance company.’ He added.
´We had never planed to stage a folk performance, on the contrary, we simply planned to carry out performances based on a folk inspiration given the common folk representation as such is done by the population only. Our role was centered on performing arts and this is the reason the company has scriptwriters, choreographers, dress designer and light designers. Therefore, it is like any play, however, it is only different given the fact that we use our autochthones dance and music.´
´There have been innumerable performances carried out by the National Folk Dance group during these fifty years and lots of them have been staged in more than 500 cities from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America where they have always been well-received by their audiences.’ He pointed out.
Rogelio Martínez Furé recalls: ´ Many of our first plays made a huge impact overseas like in the cases of the plays named ´Ciclo Yoruba´ and ´Rumbas y Comparsas´.
´Those plays could be currently regarded as great classic ones of the company which were almost all of them performed in Cuba and overseas to the extent that we have received standing ovations in diverse stages from Japan, Russia, Brazil and the United States. Moreover, we were the first company that showed the rumba as a serious and formal play and with all the dignity and majesty of this genre that constitutes today a national heritage, although the rumba has always been for the Cuban people a deep cultural expression of our identity which has been well-known since the last century within the common and cultural language of Cubans.´ Furé said.
´The National Folk group has always centered its work on the folk dance and Cuban popular music given those two cultural expressions constitute the example of the cultural identity of our island through plays that were created by the Cuban people as a symbol of its cultural resistance.´ Furé explained.
´Since the first halfway of the last century, Fernando Ortiz had already said that the Cuban folk dance and music were going to be internationally recognized as well as the fact that they were going to make a substantial contribution to other cultures of the world in spite of the existence of other Cubans who had tried to eliminate them. Besides, many of the cultural expressions, which are currently assumed as national ones, were first pursued and banned. Now it is common to hear on the Cuban contredanse as the origin of the ball dances, however, just a few people remember the reason, as they are not taught about it at present, therefore, it is necessary to recall that when the first contredanses with a tango rhythm were created by the end of the 18th and 19th centuries, the scriptwriters attacked them and said that it was a Barbarian music that was corrupting our young ladies with vulgar physical movements extracted from the black-skin female and male people who used to walk in our ancient streets.´ Furé highlighted.
Enriched by the folk dance and Cuban music, the National Folk Dance group is turning its 50 years of existence and it will celebrate its anniversary at the Mella Theater that is considered by them as its main venue.
Since May 11th through May 20th, the company will be performing during Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in its usual Theater´s schedule with a play that gathers fragments from the most important plays of the aforementioned company.
This way, the National Folk dance group is turning its 50th anniversary by becoming in the most genuine cultural expression of our folk dance and music roots, and as Furé said himself: ´The National Folk Dance Company continues holding the Oggún deity´s machete and opening the path through that dense bush that is the Cuban culture by defending firmly our cultural identity given the fact that it is our people which will defend the existence of the National Folk dance group.´By Sarahí García Contreras