To my mind, Narciso Medina is one of the most important choreographers working today. Based in Havana, trained in the unique genre of técnica cubana, Medina has gone on to incorporate everything from tanztheater to butoh into his unusual body of work. Medina has a theater in Centro Havana which he rebuilt with his own company – a group of excellent dancers which always includes international guest artists.
He also works frequently as a guest choreographer in Europe, Japan and throughout Latin America, where he soaks up new influences while earning some hard currency to finance his work at home. Medina tends toward the surreal and fantastical, providing the viewer with insights into life in the Third World as well as the limitless realm of the imagination.
Medina instinctively situates himself somewhere between the opposing camps of “dance for dance’s sake” and dance with a message. The debate, although as much an ongoing issue in Cuba as it is elsewhere, seems to be of little interest to him. Using an eclectic grab-bag of influences and dramatic devices, he gives himself license to reveal emotion directly or veil it in irony, to pursue a narrative line or eschew storytelling in ...