Cuban Carousel

Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga

24/04/2009 - 24/04/2009

Opera House, Wellington

25/04/2009 - 25/04/2009

Production Details



Exotic dance show a journey through Cuban history

Take a dash of Latin rhythms, mix with a passionate splash of Cuban history and ignite with some of the hottest dancers this side of Havana and you have a new show that’s sure to be a tempting cocktail of all things Cuban.

Cuban Carousel recounts the historical journey of Cuba. Conveyed through music and dance it incorporates a blend of contemporary dance and Afro Latin. Featuring six world-class Cuban dancers and a New Zealand chorus of hand-picked contemporary dancers, the show – created in New Zealand – is an exhilarating ride through the dance forms that personify Cuba. From the first inhabitants of Cuba through to modern day, the show is described as a magical carousel of fantasy and Cuban rhythms.

Choreographers and principal dancers, Isbert Ramos (Vivio) and Greydis Montero are Cuban nationals who rose to the top of their careers in Cuba before touring internationally and eventually settling in New Zealand seven years ago. Highly respected amongst their peers around the globe, their talent has been acknowledged time and again with both dancers winning 1st prizes in modern and contemporary dance. They have invited another four eminent Cuban dancers who fly in from all corners of the globe in early April to begin full time rehearsals for Cuban Carousel.

"This show is definitely the pinnacle of our career" says Greydis. While they have choreographed successful international shows before such as Lady Salsa, this show she says "is a tribute to all our teachers and mentors in Cuba but also to New Zealanders for the opportunities we have had since living here – it’s our way of saying thanks." The show promises to be an elaborate theatre show with twelve costume changes depicting the first inhabitants of Cuba through to modern day.

After touring New Zealand, the couple plan to tour the show internationally. The show has an eleven date tour and is on for one night only in the locations listed below. Further show details and dancers bios are available at www.cubancarousel.com

National Tour Dates

Hamilton 20th April
Southwell School Performing Arts Centre
Tickets from Ticketek

Wanganui: 21st April
Royal Wanganui Opera House
Tickets from Ticket Direct

New Plymouth: 23rd April
TSB Showcase
Tickets from Ticketek

Tauranga: 24th April
Baycourt Theatre
Tickets from Ticket Direct

Wellington: 25th April
Opera House
Tickets from Ticketek

Blenheim: 26th April
Marlborough Civic Theatre
Tickets from Ticket Direct

Rotorua: 29th April
Civic Theatre
Tickets from Ticketmaster

Napier: 30th April
Municipal Theatre
Tickets from Ticket Direct

Auckland: 1st May
Skycity Theatre
Tickets from Ticketek

Christchurch: 2nd May
James Hay Theatre
Tickets from Ticketek

Dunedin: 3rd May
Mayfair Theatre
Tickets from Ticketek




History made accessible through energetic dance and music

Review by Vanessa Byrnes 25th Apr 2009

The press release for this energetic show calls it an "Exotic dance show a journey through Cuban history." It’s a feast of energy and talent rarely seen on the NZ stage in this manner.

Cuban Carousel uses 11 playful dancers (7 women and 4 men) to take the audience on a journey through Cuban history, music and dance. Featuring 6 world-class Cuban dancers and a NZ chorus of contemporary dancers, the show – created in New Zealand – is an ambitious and spirited work. It principally uses strongly choreographed routines to explore a moment in time, a flavour, or an aspect of Latin American history.

Choreographers and principal dancers, Vivio Ramos and Greydis Montero, are Cuban nationals who rose to the top of their careers in Cuba before touring internationally and eventually settling in New Zealand 7 years ago. They are the real stars of the show and it’s clear they have the professional goods to tour this show with the energy it demands. These guys are the real McCoy.

The titular Carousel is a fairground carousel from childhood memory recounted by a female character who bookends the show. But on another level it’s perhaps a metaphor for the old carousel of life that, with its infinite variety, knocks and colours, never stops turning. This point would be well worth teasing out more in future re-workings of the show in order to really tie up the through-line of the piece. Connections or segues between sections are the weak point, and the narrative could be strengthened as the show develops.

The costumes are fantastic; every new dance has a new set of designs and colours. Without a set, these 12 costume changes become the landscape for our imaginations to join hands with the very Cuban world presented on stage. Not much is spoken on stage, and when it is, it’s in Hispanic. The voiceovers are in heavily accented English. It’s the bodies that speak. So we really are transported to another world and time and the costumes help enormously.

Cuba’s history is a chequered one of colonisation, slavery, military rule and the fight to remain free. Yet the penultimate sensation this show reveals is that Cuban culture is proudly kept alive through dance and music. A blend of contemporary dance and Afro Latin, the salsa, mambo, cha cha cha and rumba tell us more about Cuban life than history books could. It’s a tradition that we are fortunate to see in NZ and it was well received in Tauranga on a cold Friday evening.

A few children were at the show and it was great to see them invited up on stage to dance at the end of the piece. This is an accessible, energetic, and well devised show that will grow further as it tours the country. If dance is your thing, or if you want a shot of energy this April, you would be well advised to see Cuban Carousel.

After touring New Zealand [click on the title above for dates and venues], Vivio Ramos and Greydis Montero plan to tour the show internationally. Further show details and dancers’ bios are available at www.cubancarousel.com 
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