Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jose Marti and Me

OK, so it wasn't the Jose Marti that is considered one of Cuba's biggest political heroes for political independence from Spain, but I did get to meet this Jose Marti, an artist who was very open about welcoming a crowd of photographers into his studio.

Here is some of his work:

Love the manikin hand with one blue fingernail that served as his door handle.  Wish the language issue had not been there.  But with that and the 10 other photographers with me, it was a circus really. 

This was the start of our first morning in Havana.  Marti's studio was on the way to a national consortium of different genres of dance companies all sharing a building for rehearsal and admin space getting government support. We were allowed into a ballet class to shoot, but it had its challenges with the mirrors on two sides and other photographers trying to get that perfect shot.

This woman had one leg of her dance pants cut off with a leg warmer on it.

This woman, 2nd from right, reminded me of a young Judith Jameson who used to dance with the Alvin Ailey Dance Co in NY and later when on to lead the company when Ailey passed.

Talk about technique, this beautiful dancer could have done anything because she also had the most amazing presence.
I even got a chance to hoist a leg onto the ballet bar and was reminded of how I was booted out of a class by the Prima of the Boston Ballet back in the early 70s for improvising during the movement patterns across the floor.  I was so much a big mouth modern dancer back in the day.

Then it was on to a senior "day care" center that is part of a new program in Havana to help seniors cope with loneliness when the rest of the family is working and going to school during the day.  Many of the ladies were using paper to make flowers while most of the men were playing dominoes.

One woman was not into making flowers but was playing with the guys.

After an amazing lunch at the restaurant at the Musee de Beaux Artes, I had a wonderful seafood brochette with (of course) a mojito, we were off to an old theatre in a different part of town to work with members of a contemporary dance company.  More on that in the next post.  Wish I had taken more photos of the museum itself which is a gem and used to be the Spanish Club before the revolution. 
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