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Though the Miami New Drama-commissioned “Queen of Basel” will have its official world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. next season, you don’t have to wait or travel to discover how playwright Hilary Bettis has reimagined August Strindberg’s controversial 1888 classic “Miss Julie.” With three powerful actors and a small audience sharing the stage space at Miami Beach’s Co..

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IFÉ-ILÉ, en su 18 aniversario, en el Koubek Center

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En la cultura yoruba, y sobre todo en sus manifestaciones caribeñas como la afrocubana, las historias contadas oralmente por generaciones ocupan un lugar esencial. Esas historias, muchas de ellas preservadas ya en la palabra escrita, reciben el nombre de patakíes, y llevan mensajes a la manera de fábulas o metáforas.

La profesora Isabel Castellanos, coautora de los cuatro tomos de “Cultura Afrocubana”, escribe en el prólogo del libro “Cuenta el Caracol”, de la periodista cubana radicada en Miami Elena Iglesias: “Los mitos y leyendas asociados con el oráculo de los caracoles (Dilogún) y con el sistema adivinatorio de Ifá son conocidos en Cuba con el nombre colectivo de patakís, patakíes o appatakís y son numerosísimos. Los fieles los transmitieron de generación en generación, al principio por vía oral y, más adelante, a través de libretas escritas y celosamente guardadas por los mismos santeros”.

Como investigadora de la música y ritmos afrocubanos, la coreógrafa Neri Torres, fundadora y directora del conjunto de danza de Miami IFÉ-ILÉ, ha recurrido a los patakíes para inspirarse al crear su nueva pieza de baile, Ciudad de Orichas, la cual tendrá su estreno durante la celebración no. 18 del Festival Anual de Danza Afrocubana IFÉ-ILÉ, del 11 al 13 de este mes, en el Koubek Center – Miami Dade College.

“En la versión de este patakí,la Tierra era muy desigual, y había un grupo de mercaderes que eran los únicos que controlaban el dinero, y las otras personas padecían porque no tenían acceso a la moneda”, cuenta Torres a Artburst en Miami. “Que es más o menos un reflejo de lo que está pasando ahora”.

Según el relato, prosigue Torres, una de las divinidades de la santería llamada Ochún, al ver que había esa desigualdad tan grande entre las personas, y como su signo es hacer la caridad, les llevó su propio dinero, lo que enfureció a los mercaderes. Ochún dio todo cuanto tenía, y quedó despojada. Pero la diosa de las aguas, Yemayá, vino en su auxilio. Abrió el mar y le otorgó riquezas como pago por su actitud desinteresada.

La desigualdad, la lucha de clases, el ser caritativo y compasivo, todos son temas inmemoriales que tradiciones como éstas pueden reflejar de manera contemporánea y con vigencia actual mediante disciplinas artísticas.

“La moraleja que estoy buscando en la pieza es que sí, creo que sí, hay que hacer un poco de caridad en estos tiempos”, afirma Torres, cuya compañía de danza ganó una prestigiosa subvención de la Knight Foundation en el 2014.

Lo folclórico con lo urbano

Ciudad de Orichas cuenta con siete bailarines y una fusión de ritmos afrocubanos y música house. Para incorporar ese ángulo urbano, Torres colabora con los músicos y productores del género Frank Oba Lords, Katiahashe, DJ Soulistk y N-go Lords, creando lo que ella llama una simbiosis de todo lo que la representa a ella como artista, incluyendo danza moderna, folclor y cabaré.

“La letra de lo que se canta es todo ese lenguaje yoruba y congo que se encuentran en la tradición cubana”, explica Torres, oriunda de La Habana. “Me pareció no sólo interesante subrayar lo que estoy tratando de presentar en mi pieza, sino también atraer y educar a los jóvenes. Porque esta tradición es importante en nuestros días. De dónde salió todo, las raíces. Hay muchos símbolos y hábitos que los muchachos no saben de dónde provienen”.

Honrando a Víctor Cuéllar

Como también mucho de ese público joven puede que desconozca la obra de Víctor Cuéllar, significativo coreógrafo y maestro de danza moderna cubana que fue asesinado en Miami en los años 90, tronchándose así una ilustre carrera que había comenzado en Cuba bajo el pionero Ramiro Guerra.

En honor a Cuéllar, el festival inaugura con un panel gratuito el jueves a las 7 p.m., Danza Moderna Cubana: Homenaje al Coreógrafo Víctor Cuéllar. Entre los participantes figuran el coreógrafo, bailarín e instructor Atanasio Mederos y músicos de IFÉ-ILÉ.

“Yo aprendí mucho con él”, recuerda Torres, quien bailó en el Ballet de Víctor Cuéllar como solista. Torres llegaría a Miami en 1991, y fundaría su propia compañía a mediados de esa década. “Su estilo era muy teatral, y yo tengo mucha influencia de él. Son personas que te inspiran”.

Justo lo que Torres busca con su festival. Inspirar a otros a conocer más acerca de la cultura afrocubana y todas sus ramas.

“Van a educarse acerca de las tradiciones de origen afro”, dice Torres. “Cómo estas tradiciones han permeado la cultura popular contemporánea de mi gente, y cómo es un vehículo para entender a otras culturas. Se trata de promover la tolerancia y el entendimiento”.

Festival IFÉ-ILÉ, edición no. 18, en el Koubek Center (2705 SW 3rd Street, Miami), del jueves 11 al sábado 13 de agosto, 2016.

Boletos para talleres: talleres sencillos $20 cada uno. Pase de un día $105-$120; pase de dos días $210.

Boletos para Ciudad de Orichas: $20 admisión general; $15 for personas de la tercera edad y estudiantes.

Para registrarse, o para más información sobre todas las actividades del Festival, favor llamar al 786-704-8609, o visite www.ife-ile.org

 


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Journalist, arts writer, instructor of English and Spanish

A bilingual journalist and writer for over 20 years, Juan Carlos studied Communications at Fordham University in New York. He holds a Master&rsquo..

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