Art can serve as a lens into another viewpoint or another culture. The Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion project aims to do just that by hosting seven Cuban artists as a way to build stronger cultural, artistic and personal connections between the United States and the Caribbean island’s vibrant arts scene. During its free Playhouse Square shows June 2 and 3, Havana’s Malpaso Dance Co. performs pieces created by two North American choreographers. Malpaso co-founder and executive director Fernando Saez describes how this partnership reflects a deeper way to connect cultures.
We are ambassadors for our culture through dance. Collaborations are essential. It is the best possible way we can imagine to fight our own assumptions. It is the best way of challenging the solutions we have accumulated throughout our lives — a very efficient way of expanding our human and creative perspectives.
American dance, modern dance — that’s nothing far [from] where the Cuban modern dance comes from. It’s important to have strong relationships and connections to the Cleveland community so whenever we go back we find and discover new motivations and new poses.
It’s a long relationship between Cuban and American culture. We cannot understand what Cuban is, what the cultural conditions are, if we don’t acknowledge cultural connections and conversations we’ve had. — as told to Arbela Capas