Some 200 persons concentrated in a landscape surrounded by two of the capital’s emblematic buildings, the Grand Theater and the Capitol, to dance a “Fuego” sevillana, perhaps one of the works that marked the most the career of the Alicante artist, and with which he triumphed on stages all over the world.
The summons surpassed all expectations since young people and girls wearing flamenco dance clothes didn’t stop arriving to the place, in an “evident” show that “Spain greatly loves Cuba but Cuba also greatly loves Spain,” Eugenia Eiriz, Gades’ widow and director of the Foundation that bears the dancer’s name, affirmed to EFE.
The Foundation is in Havana to participate in the 26th International Ballet Festival with the pedagogic show “Movements; dancing from the toe to the heel” and the workshop “Flamenco as theater language,” which includes an excerpt of “Fuego” (1989), Gades’ show inspired on the film “El amor brujo” by Carlos Saura.
“That excerpt corresponds to a sevillana and it occurred to us to take it out of the classroom environment where we were going to work with professional dancers, ask for the collaboration of the Spanish dance schools that exist in Cuba and that they also work that sevillana.”
Happy over the idea’s acceptance, Gades’ widow highlighted “the joy with which they (those attending) show the imprint of Spain in this country” and the demeanor of the dancers who answered this call, “all of them sieved through history and art and through Cuban culture.”
Donning red carnations and flamenco skirts, the participants demonstrated with the sinuous movements of their arms, with the calculated pulse of their turns and heel stamping, and especially with a lot of magic, that flamenco is an art that’s very much alive on the Caribbean island.
When the dancing finished, the artists took off with applauses to the shout of “viva Spain, viva Cuba and viva Antonio Gades,” although taking advantage that their muscles were still hot there were those who continued dancing a bit more, to the delight of the zone’s neighbors, who don’t enjoy every day a show at the door of their homes.
“We have brought 90 students plus professional dancers from the company,” commented to EFE Cuban dancer and choreographer Irene Rodríguez, the director of the company that bears his name and at present the principal ambassador of Spanish dance on the island.
Antonio Gades “took to the great stages a style like Flamenco, he stylized it, gave it a much bigger, much more universal vocabulary. In Cuba we love Antonio Gades a great deal,” said the artist, who supervised from a balcony the movements of her students.
A love, that of the island for the dancer, that was corresponded, since the artist’s ashes rest in the Sierra Maestra, in Santiago de Cuba, the cradle of the Cuban Revolution, which a while before his death in 2004 conferred on him the most important distinction the country gives: the José Martí Order, for his “unswerving love, friendship and loyalty.”
The members of the company who traveled to Cuba also went to the island’s eastern region to visit the mausoleum of the Frank País Second Eastern Front where Gades’ remains rest.