The Dance Center is thrilled to present the premiere Chicago appearance of Cuba’s groundbreaking contemporary dance troupe, Malpaso Dance Company. Founded in 2012, Malpaso’s story is one of vision, talent, luck, and perseverance. When now-resident choreographer Osnel Delgado decided, with his colleagues Daileidys Carrazana and Fernando Saéz, to launch a dance company in Havana, they were advised it would be “un malpaso” – a misstep. With the artistic cussedness that drives creative people to do what cannot be done, the trio proceeded anyway and appropriated the warning as a moniker for their new company.

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Malpaso dancers in “Despedida.” Photo: David Garten

Since then, Malpaso has emerged as an exciting new international repertory dance ensemble, presenting work by cutting edge choreographers including Delgado, Ron K. Brown, Trey McIntyre, and Aszure Barton. The company has made a commitment to collaboration in their approach to commissioning, bringing together contemporary visual artists, composers, choreographers and dancers for the creation of new work in the tradition of the Ballets Russes or the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Saéz observes, “Collaborations are the best way of transcending your own assumptions.”

 

Carrying forward such an ambitious commitment to new work is particularly challenging in Cuba, where resources are sparse. Malpaso has benefitted, therefore, from touring opportunities and production support from North American backers and commissioners such as Joyce Theater Productions in New York City, and Dance Cleveland.

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Malpaso dancers in “24 Hours and a Dog.” Photo: Robert Leon

On this tour alone, they are performing in venues at Duke University, Austin, TX, Atlanta and Philadelphia, and at Brooklyn Academy of Music. This “infrastructure collaboration” is an important feature of international cultural exchange and is critical to our ability to conduct dialogue between artists and audiences in cross-cultural settings.

 

On stage, we will see a recent work by Delgado, 24 Hours and A Dog, as well as Malpaso’s
2016 commission by Barton, one of North America’s most original living female choreographers, Indomitable Waltz. The dancers featured in both works are trained intensively in Cuban contemporary dance practice, which draws on contraction-and-release, Afro-Cuban movement, and exceptional Cuban ballet training. The style and “attack” of these dancers will likely yank us all to our feet at the curtain calls.

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Malpaso dancers in “Indomitable Waltz.” Photo: Judy Ondrey

Anything but a misstep, Malpaso brings us tonight into the excitement of what dance can give – exceptional and highly skilled performers, gifted and provocative choreographers and collaborators, and journeys into new creative worlds. We welcome them to the Windy City!

– Bonnie Brooks
Director and Lead Curator,
Dance Presenting Series


MalpasoPlayMalpaso Dance Company of Havana • Featuring Indomitable Waltz by Aszure Barton
March 9, 10 and 11, 2017 • 7:30 p.m. Buy tickets

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