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Cuba's Ballet Rakatan makes U.S. debut at New York City Center, February 18-22

by Michelle Tabnick
February 8, 2015
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
212.247.0430
The acclaimed Cuban dance company Ballet Rakatan will make its U.S. debut at New York City Center, February 18 – 22, presenting "Havana Rakatan," a dazzling mix of salsa, mambo, jazz, bolero, son, cha-cha-cha and rumba, accompanied by the eight-piece Cuban son band Turquino, which will perform live onstage.

"Havana Rakatan" is a high-energy slice of Havana culture that charts the evolution of Cuban music and dance over the country's 500-year history, from the West African rhythms brought by slaves beginning in the mid-16th century, to the jazz, mambo and bolero of the 1940s, the rumba and cha-cha of the 1970s, and the salsa and son of modern-day Havana. Today's son music, a combination of elements of Spanish guitar and song with African rhythms and percussion, is the heart of modern music and dance.

Ballet Rakatan is one of Cuba's most successful cultural exports. The company was founded by dancer-turned-choreographer Nilda Guerra in 2001, when she was just 24. "Havana Rakatan" made its hugely successful debut in 2007 at the Peacock Theatre in London and has since toured all over the world. Nilda Guerra directs a versatile company of dancers, most of whom are graduates of the renowned Escuela Nacional de Arte de la Habana, which combines contemporary dance training with Cuban dance and Latin styles.

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