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Cuban heels! dance Strictly Come Dancing meets Casablanca in a new dance show, reports Sarah Crompton.

COMING from the heart and soul of its people, Vamos Cuba! evokes the story of a country taking off on a new journey towards the future.

Set against the crazy chaos of Havana airport - a place of chance encounters, new beginnings and old romances, where reality calls and dreams take flight - it's an exuberant mix of traditional and modern dance styles which together capture the joy and vibrancy of Cuban life.

Touching down in Birmingham from November 1-5, Vamos Cuba! brings together the best of classic and contemporary Latin-American dance styles, from salsa, rumba and cha-chacha to reggaeton. Featuring a live salsa band and a cast of the hottest dancers Cuba has to offer, the show is the latest co-production between Sadler's Wells and the Hippodrome. We spoke with director and choreographer Nilda Guerra to find out more about bringing the spirit of contemporary Cuba to the stage.

What was your inspiration for creating Vamos Cuba!

In Cuba everybody dances, people love to dance and sing or both together - this is the spirit of Cuba and it is what inspired me to create the show. Vamos Cuba! means ''Let's Go Cuba!'' - it evokes the energy of the country but also suggests the moment of change when something is happening in Cuba. It's our time, time for change, time for new beginnings. It's an exciting time, we don't know what the future holds but we're ready for it! It's a call to the Cuban people but also to the rest of the world, to take notice, to invite you to visit and experience the essence of our country and our culture.

Why are people drawn to Cuban dance culture and the cultural history of Cuba? I think the attraction is the good energy and high spirits of the Cuban people. Every child in Cuba learns to dance at a very early age - in fact it's odd to find a Cuban who can't dance! Cuba is a country of music and dance that originated rumba, but also many other rhythms that have permeated the rest of the world such as guaracha and danzon. These rhythms have influenced many other musical styles.

What is the idea behind setting Vamos Cuba! in an airport? One of the dreams that everybody in Cuba has is to travel and discover the world and other cultures. Havana airport is a significant place for Cuban people as it's here that they say goodbye to their loved ones, not knowing if they will return and they'll see them again. Everyone has someone close who's living in another country. It's a tragedy. At the same time tourists and international visitors are wanting to come here to discover Cuba. They are so important to the economy and the life of the country. We've seen recently the Pope, Barack Obama and the Rolling Stones visiting. The influence of other cultures is important to us. Cuba is opening up to the rest of the world and the airport is a metaphor for that.

What are you looking forward to most about bringing the show to Birmingham Hippodrome? I am looking forward to seeing the audiences' reactions - I would like them to feel like they can move their feet, their shoulders, that they can join in the party atmosphere and have fun. That's what it's all about!

?VAMOS Cuba! runs at Birmingham Hippodrome from 1-5 Nov. Call 0844 338 5000 or visit www.

birminghamhippodrome.com

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 27, 2016
Words:571
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