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Contemporary Dance in Cuba: Tecnica Cubana…

Contemporary Dance in Cuba: Tecnica Cubana as Revolutionary Movement

by Suki John

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1361,012,855 (3.5)None



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An interesting and informative look at Cuba and Cuban politics and culture as seen through the eyes of a dancer. While this does focus on dance, it is more about the state of affairs in Cuba. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Dec 12, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Very slow read as it is a collection of essays rather than a book to be read straight through. I found myself reading about and essay a week and thinking it over in a more critical means than a typical novel. I actually forwarded it to one of my professors as I think she will love and appreciate the contents since she has Cuba roots and her daughter is in dance. Earned a 3 star rating from me, perhaps my professor will also provide a more personal review after her read.

My rating system is as follows:

5 stars - Excellent, Worth Every Penny, Made It Into My Personal Library!
4 stars - Great book, but not a classic. Passing on for others as a must read & encourage to review.
3 stars - Good overall, generally well written with few errors. Passing on to community library for others to enjoy.
2 stars - Would not recommend based on personal criteria, too many typo's, lack of character development, or simply unreliable story-line for me.
1 star - Difficult to read, hard to finish, or didn't finish. Wouldn't recommend purchasing or reading.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book I review was provided to me by the publisher, media group or the author for free and no financial payments were received, unless specified otherwise. ( )
  anothersheart | Jun 19, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book is a succession of dance theory essays related to how Cuba formed her modern dance style. As a result of the academic theory it reads a little slow. John had the opportunity to travel to Cuba at least four times. The first time was in 1973 as a teenager where she had the chance to work on a school building brigade. Her father had done some scientific research before the revolution so there are some connections that the rest of us do not have to enter the country. It is not an easy trip for Americans or rather North Americans as she calls us in this book to make. It is actually illegal to go to Cuba in most cases. As a result of her contacts and her status as a dancer she had a chance to get to know some of the principal dancers in Cuba.

John goes on to describe the different schools and how they teach their style. Cuba has a ballet, a school of folklore dances, and a new modern dance school where "Tecnica Cubana" was born. Cubans dance from the time they are born. The dancing styles are not seen as overtly sexual like they are seen here in the United States. Because of our Puritan founding we have a tendency to view all dance moves as sexually stimulating which may cause much of the funding problems here for our art institutions. In Cuba this has never been an issue as art, especially dance has been financed by the government since the revolution of 1959. It may also be choices. Cubans when they have gasoline, and everything is rationed, drive American cars from the 1950's or old Soviet cars. There does not seem to to a new car on the Island. Again it is choice. We choose to let business pay for what it wants and as a result dance and other high-brow art forms are often neglected for things people readily buy. Cubans get ration cards and do not have much to buy so tickets to the ballet are cheap. The state pays the salaries and education fees of the dancers and they have a bigger fan base.

John weaves dance history and politics in these essays so the reader learns her own thoughts. She admits herself that she is not an impartial, objective journalist. She sits on a Cuban-American Cultural Board so this book is written more to describe the dances that have been performed throughout the world by Cubans who have had the opportunity to travel. Like most art forms there is much controversy and since it is Cuba people are hungry. Costumes and medicine are hard to get and ironically one needs American dollars to purchase things. For a country that does not like us they sure want our money. Maybe there was just too much politics in this book for me. Yes, it is about dance and the dances performed by Cuban companies, but the politics of post -Soviet Cuba are too written into the story.

Now this could be to showcase that one does not lose his creativity when money and food disappear. I would kind of hope not, but I would expect someone to do something more than dance unless dance truly paid the bills. So many Cubans defect when they get out of Cuba that it is amazing there is anyone left to choreograph new dances, but there are. John tells their stories and that is the reason for this book. ( )
  kekmrs | Apr 1, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Suki John’s Contemporary Dance in Cuba provides an eyewitness account of the development of the Técnica Cubana modern dance movement. She also provides a brief description of ballet in post-Revolutionary Cuba. Essential for anyone interested in the contemporary dance scene in Cuba. ( )
  WaltNoise | Mar 24, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was mainly interested in Suki John's views and experiences in Cuba and the Cuban people in general. I thought she gave some good insights into the lives of Cubans in the last 30 years and their resilience. I have seen Cuban dancers and wondered about their vitality and grace and how could they dance with so much heart. The book explains. I think anyone who is a dancer and loves Latin dance and music would benefit and enjoy reading this book and I will be telling my dance friends to read it.
  marilynsantiago | Mar 5, 2013 |
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