Ballet Rakatan

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Cuba, Body and Soul


Artistic Profile

Created by: Nilda Guerra
Director: Nilda Guerra
Choreographer: Nilda Guerra
Number Dancers: 14
Musical Group: Turquino
Musical Director: Rolando Ferrer
Duration: 2 horas
Description: Cuba, Body and Soul



Ballet Rakatán, present “Cuba, Body and Soul”, a symbolic door to another reality, a connection portal with the sacred.

Among Cuban dancing manifestations, folk dances are much more than a harmonious set of forms and movements; they also entail a deep religious content and convey the idiosyncracy and culture of the Cuban people.
Creole folklore emerged from the mix between two main backgrounds: the Spaniards and the Africans.

Each ethnic group left an imprint in what we know today as Cuban folk dances. The Groups original from west Nigeria, known in Cuba as Yoruba or Lucumi, created associations which favored the cults devoted to the so called Rule of Osha or Santeria. Their merriments, ritual in nature, were celebrated to honor deities which combined religious and festive elements. To this day, these are denominated tambor, bembe or toque, and they vary depending on the place and number of musical instruments used. Predominantly, the dances are dedicated to Elegguá, Oggún, Ochosi, Inle, Babalú Ayé, Obatalá, Aggayú Solá, Ibeyis, Changó, Oyá, Yemayá and Ochún. Each deity has its own specific chants, dances and drum beats, according to the personality of the Orisha in question.

The Carabali ethnic group, from southeast Niger, organized secret societies, exclusively for males (Abakua society), these perpetuate to date their customs and habits. In their ceremonies, dancing masked entities are known as iremes, more commonly known as little devils. Their dancing movements are of great beauty and plasticity.

The Congos, of bantu origin, passed on dancing manifestations with religious and secular purposes.
On the other hand, the Arara group, from old Dahomey, settled councils for the adoration of their foddunes, which identified themselves with catholic saints and with orishas from The Rule of Osha.
All of this diversity of African dances are kept valid in the ceremonies and cults of the Rule of Osha, of the Palo Monte, of the Arara, of the Ganga and of the Abakua secret associations, which are still carried out in the few councils alive or at the houses of followers. They are also transmitted from generation to generation.

Drawing from these living sources, Ballet Rakatan, directed by Guerra, offers  the show “Cuba, Body and Soul”, an artistic recreation of this magical-religious universe which still lives on, and which extends its roots and marks the path of thousands of Cubans.