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Dance Marathon

This was the summer of the Cubans, the Russians, and the Danes.

Sep 5, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 47 • By PIA CATTON
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The company is still heavily influenced by the artistic sensibility of its founder Alicia Alonso, who is 90 years old. Though some of its dancers bring an international style—broader movement, greater flexibility—the company has its signature take on classicism. Arms are often heavy and low. Heads are slightly bowed forward. Poses are delicately placed, with a tilt of the head and elongation of the back. And though the jumps can be vivacious, the style emphasizes stillness—whereas the Danes seem endlessly mobile, always pop, pop, popping. And when the Russians pause, it is in anticipation of the next phrase.

You have to consider the Cubans’ performances with a measure of respect for the company’s unusual situation. Isolated, yet resourceful; devoted, yet continually drained of dancers seeking other stages in other countries. Like Cuba’s politics, such as they are, this company’s future can only be full of change.

Pia Catton writes the arts column, Culture City, for the Wall Street Journal’s Greater New York section.

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