[Read] ➬ Dancing with Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution By Alma Guillermoprieto – Dailytradenews.co.uk

  • Paperback
  • 304 pages
  • Dancing with Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution
  • Alma Guillermoprieto
  • English
  • 04 March 2018
  • 9780375725814

10 thoughts on “Dancing with Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution

  1. says:

    I really enjoyed this book It was given to my sister by her friend in Oakland I ve never read Alma Guillermoprieto before, but apparently she s the Latin American correspondent for the New Yorker, a publication I wish I had the to subscribe to even so now that all their fiction and poetry is subscription only A lot of this book hit close to home for me I loved Alma s younger self narrator her constant self critcism, her dislike of her ignorance about politics and Latin American affairs, her love for art, her low self esteem, her poor choices in men Even the section where she contemplates suicide is charming I guess I liked her narrator because she reminded me a lot of myself, haha This to me isn t a good book just because it s a snapshot of a very specific time and place, or because I learned a lot about Cuba while reading it More than anthing I liked this book because it powerfully captures the feeling of what it s like to be young and confused and enad of art and completely lost in your life I am definitely going to try to track down of her work to read.

  2. says:

    I loved the writing style of the author, captivated by her story She parses the history of Cuba and the revolution in appropriate places to bolster the narrative Exquisite story.More than 3 decades ago, I spent 6 months teaching modern dance in Cuba.vuelve come back Martha Graham brilliant, temperamental, most revered choreographerHer quest for a body language that reflected the deepest inner conflicts and the way she used gesture and movements to stage great myths, centering them on the internal universe of a single woman Medea, Joan of Arc, Eve, all of them ultimately Martha herself in any case brought her admirers and disciples from all the arts.Merce Cunningham elegant, alert and unfailingly courteous avant garde the modest, unassuming way he had one day taken his leave of Martha s company where he had been a principal dancer Without any rhetorical fuss he left behind the obsession with passion and narrative that was characteristic of Martha and her disciples the use of dramaturgy as the connecting thread of choreography and rhythmic music that guided the dancers movements like a tambourine leading a trained bear in a circus Instead he chose to pursue the meandering paths of abstraction, chance and Zen philosophy Yet his avante garde experiments never interfered with the technical perfection and extraordinary refinement of his choreography In his own way, he was a classicist.John Cage s delightful prepared piano Those who left Martha s studio for Merce s were attracted to that Apollonian temperament, which demanded concentration and intensity but rejected drama.We would go off to class in search of the miracle that would fulfill all our desires Look at me say I m beautiful, say I m for you Choose me Let me dance in your company.Graciela Figueroa She was the only woman friend I had who read S ren Kierkegaard and Theodor Adorno, and for years, against all logic, I was convinced that Julio Cort zar had based the character of La Maga in his Hopscotch on her She was from Uruguay, penniless introduced Alma to Twyla TharpElaine went from one brief disaster to another, with length recovery periods in between Graciela lived through a series of agitated experiences that, since she was Graciela, went far beyond the mere problem of male female relations and became philosophical inquiries, repostulations of the very nature of love that always left her drained and bewildered.No one ever asked me then, and I don t know if I myself understood that I had a life that was not only extraordinary but real the kind of life that doesn t happen by accident but is put together only slowly and with effort.My political attitude toward the world I lived in, if I had one at all, was, I believe, a mixture of sincere elements of antiauthoritarianism, anticlericalism, horror of torture, revulsion at social inequality, defense of animals, terror of any type of violence, and distrust of anything related to big business, especially advertising To me, this was the attitude of a revolutionary, as I felt I was in art But my deepest conviction, so deep I would never have been able to articulate it, was perfectly elitist I had no doubt that we artists were the highest form of human life That conviction justified my existence.It had never occurred to me that I had a moral obligation to protest against injustice I d never once imagined that I belonged to a wider community that than of my friends and fellow dancers.zafra Zafra de los Diez Millones, or Ten Million Ton Harvestsugarcane to allow the Revolution to settle its debts to the Soviet Union and generate a surplus Cuba would be able to finance its own development and free itself from what was becoming an alarming dependence on Soviet aid Fidel was to announce this great victory on July 26, 1970, the 17th anniversary of the Revolution 1953 Martha From the vagina, girls Movement is born in the gut In Merce s view, art has to resemble nature and nothing in nature is ever the same So there must be varying approaches to the leg warm upsCelia Cruz There s never been anyone else like CeliaThe rumba and son have a lot to do with whorehouses, the same way jazz was born in the New Orleans brothels And both are music played by blacks In Cuba, among the leaders of the Revolution and the intellectuals, there s just as much racism as there was before among la gente decente because they re all decente, if you want to know the truth.Havana This is a city that never loses its refinement From the slums of Santos Su rez to the crumbling buildings of Old Havana, it s always elegant.The USA They ve got us by the small hairs, said Boris making a precise illustrative gesture with both hands He shared with the majority of his compatriots an inexhaustible lewdness.He was living his life in earnest, and I hadn t found that very often outside the dance world I valued his work as a poet Adrian , and nothing seemed manly to me at that point in my life than his peculiar lack of superficiality, conformism or duplicity.una flor da una flor a flower from a flowerCo o is a common Spanish idiom expression somewhat vulgar primarily used in Spain and the Spanish Caribbean fuck or damnit literally cunt Stillness an absolute quietude, growing out of a harmonious position of the body It was futile It make no sense to seek stillness in the middle of a Revolution.In the same newsreel images of dead Vietnamese, burned alive by napalm, of children fleeing their thatch roof homes in terror I had just discovered was that Evil wasn t something that existed only in that prehistory before I was born I had lived alongside Evil and in willful ignorance of it It existed with my complicity and bloomed because I had allowed it to Very small children were dying while I went on living, effortlessly and painlessly, and I hadn t done so much as raise my voice in protest.I m everyone now, too.Angel Castro was a gruff man without pretensions or refinements The Castros worked hard Angel was a determined poverty stricken Spaniard who first came to the island in the 1890s as a soldier with the Spanish royalist troops A few years later he returned, seeking better fortune than that offered by life as a farmhand in his native Galicia He rented some land in the province of Oriente, at the opposite end of the island from Havana, and began growing sugarcane By renting and then buying, he became rich When Fidel was born, about 300 families, many of them Haitian, lent Don Angel their labor in exchange for a conuco, a plot of land on his ranch on which to grow their own sustenance Nevertheless, the Galician was neither a man of leisure nor an oligarch There were no luxuries on the finca, and the Castros worked hard.Angel married and had 2 kids with a country schoolteacher As time went by, he fell in love with a laundress name Lina Ruz From that love affair, 7 children were born Angela, Ram n, Agustina, Emma, Juana, Fidel and his younger brother, Ra l Fidel was said to have a bad temper.Heir to a certain fortune, educated in the best schools of Santiago and Havana, tall and good looking, the young Fidel was out of control and somewhat eccentric A parvenu a person from usually a low social position who has recently or suddenly become wealthy, powerful, or successful but who is not accepted by other wealthy He participated in a popular insurrection in Colombia, and a failed attempt to overthrow the Dominican dictator Rafael Le nidas Trujillo Fidel transformed his affinity to violence into a fundamental ideological conviction that armed struggle alone can bring about meaningful social change.Carlos It s just that we re still living like consumers of culture here Why do we have to be given everything Why don t we produce it ourselves Right now we should be exercising our right to creativity, maybe writing a play or rehearsing But we re all a bunch of comemierdas who produce less and less who know why Obviously, our inner resources are withering away.Few women had any influence, but Fidel owed those few a great deal Vilma Lucila Esp n was a Cuban revolutionary, feminist and chemical engineer She acted as a messenger when the guerrillas were hiding in the Sierra Maestra Celia S nchez was messenger, intermediary, secretary, organizer, adviser, and wife When Fidel went into exile and traveled to Mexico in May 1955, he returned to Cuba on Dec 2, 1956 aboard the yacht Gramna named after the original owner s grandmother and in the company of Che Guevara Celia rejoined him in the Sierra Maestra Two year later, on 1 Jan 1959, the rebel army under the command of Fidel, occupied the capital city It was the greatest moment of euphoria in the history of the Cuban Revolution.Compa ero, women must always be given what they want compa ero person of equal status I had always tried to apprentice myself to the geniuses I didn t yet know how very easy it would be to find another teacher, so I was interested in keeping this one, for my doubts were multiplying Tupamaros hyperintellectual, improbable, rigorous, crazyan abundance of philosophy and literature students normally swell the ranks of militant movement, but also doctors and engineers.I returned obsessively to my eternal questions Who was I Who could I be Well, it does a lot for me when you make me laugh, and when you re quiet and you listen Roque Dalton was assassinated in El Salvador star crossed and impassioned intellectual that he wasasked the question of revolutionary coherence Is it possible to be an intellectual outside the Revolution I ll diligently apply the whip to myself, if you ll acknowledge some value to my existence or at least, allow me to go on existing But the margins for negotiation were narrow, for the truth is that at the very moment when Roque Dalton and his colleagues were debating the question of whether spilling their blood or sacrificing their calling was the best way of contributing to the Revolution, that same Revolution had already managed to dispense with them almost entirely.Ya Te Aviso I m Warning You

  3. says:

    The Music Hall book group met last night with some discussion of Dancing With Cuba by Alma Guillermoprieto , but most of the meeting was a presentation and question answer session with two remarkable men sharing their experiences of Cuba I am sorry to say I remember Mr Labrie but not his great photographer partner where they have been traveling frequently to chase down and record great music as well as seek out amazing photograph opportunities It was fascinating and allowed us all to engage with the book, which was somewhat disappointing Our moderator thought the author was whiny I wouldn t qualify her as that, just a young, confused 19 year old who lived an unusual few months in Cuba and tried to present her memories of that along with other aspects of a difficult time in her life as she tried her best to figure out what was irresistibly attractive about the Revolution all while understanding that she couldn t completely buy into it Alma G wanted to be a dancer good enough to join one of the great companies of modern dance in NYC Much of the book, including the entire long first chapter, is terribly dense and tedious unless you are well versed and well immersed in the world of dance However, her reflections on these months in 1970 when she accepted a position to teach dance in the ENA in Cuba were worth the effort to read because of how much I gleaned about Cuba, her history leading up to that year, the realities of the Soviet influence and the disasters wrought by embargoes that plunge entire populations into poverty There is a lot of food for thought in the discussions about arts and intellectuals in the reality of a revolution, no matter how those people look upon the revolutionary process I am so ready now to return to some fiction

  4. says:

    I ve enjoyed Guillermoprieto s nonfiction reporting on Latin America in outlets like The New Yorker for many years and was excited to discover this title So I was disappointed the book read like a coming of age memoir, with a 21 year old aspiring modern dancer s angst over self identity, self esteem, and political identity than as a snapshot of Cuba in 1970 There is some of that cultural color, but it s tainted by the author s caveat that she recreated almost all of the recorded anecdotes and conversations from a handful of souvenirs and what little she remembers after over 30 years I would ve welcomed memories of her observations of Cuban life and her interactions with her dance students, her artist friends, and the other international visitors she met than with the gushing descriptions of Fidel Castro s charisma Overall, an enjoyable book, but one that left me wanting for information on that time period in Cuba s history.

  5. says:

    Planning a photo journey to Cuba, I chose in prep, Alma Guillermoprieto s extraordinary memoir, Dancing With Cuba at the recommendation of a friend A dance indeed Written in her native Spanish, then artfully translated into a riveting narrative with uncanny authenticity Guillermoprieto depicts her life as a young artist, her passions and shortcomings as a budding student of Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharp in New York, her true to the Revolution challenges in teaching modern dance in Cuba to students under the near impossible conditions, restrictions and deprivations of their school Nuanced, rich in its research, recollection of dialogue and political context, Dancing With Cuba is a dark, self searching, multi layered memoir, a tale of love and loss, yet ultimately a love letter to Cuba both a pleasure and a challenge to read, but so well worth the effort.

  6. says:

    I would give this a 3.5 Reading about and doing further research about the famous choreographers mentioned was fun and I enjoyed the author s honesty about her lack of knowledge about worldly topics There are nice descriptions of the areas, events and people she knew Writing books obviously is a better pursuit for this author rather than dancing It doesn t seem like she had a lot to offer to the Cuban students She lived among some interesting people and presents that in an interesting, not name dropping way.

  7. says:

    this book is not a novelinfact it is a memoir.its about a girl who is from mexico originally.she is offered to teach dance in Havana or caracus.she then goes to new York city to be with her mother.from there she finds a job to go to ,Havana,cuba to teach music.she accepts the offer.she goes there and teaches dance.it is about the revolution and about fidel castro.the story is all about the revolution In cuba.she then thinks about commiting suicide for some reason.in the end she has an affair with some men and then she goes back to new York city to her mother.

  8. says:

    This is a beautifully written book It is also an interesting attempt by the author to potentially fictionalize memory I read this book while in Cuba and thoroughly enjoyed it I learned something about modern dance and revolutionary Cuba at the same time.

  9. says:

    Draft written in Spanish Translated to English by Esther Allen for publication.

  10. says:

    After reading her work for years in the New Yorker, and hearing her lecture How to Be a Mexican at the New York Public Library, I was interested to read this book about 1970 Cuba Author teaches modern dance for six months in the state run school a woeful experience full of sharp details of the physical poverty in Cuba and the earnest doomed spirit of the modern dance experiment there AG moves from the dance background of late 60s study in New York with Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham, so the book underscores a history of modern dance through the lens of a right time, right place perspective The Cuba experience is woven with failure and sadness but nevertheless fascinating in its recollection of the politics of the time I remember talking to people in college who were off to the Venceremos Brigade to cut cane for the failed ten million ton harvest that marked Castro s first acknowleged wide scale public failure to remain independent of Russia Interestingly, though modern dance was deemed ultimately politically incorrect with its emphasis on individual freedom, the snobbery of elite white Cuba promotes ballet and treats Afro Cuban dance and music as a tolerated stepchild As AG is about my age, the times she recalls have many social and political layers that resonate in my own life Her soul searching and snobbery are laid bare throughout, sometimes to great effect and sometimes irritating The political analysis also gets tedious at times, but the book gives you an insider look at a time and place that make you reflect on the modern day Cuba as it is poised on the precipice of post Castro existence I m passing it on to my kids who have been in Cuba with their Mexican father My son Richard, good Sarah Lawrence grad, also took two years of dance and will appreciate the Cunningham Graham history imbedded in the early part of the book.

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About the Author: Alma Guillermoprieto

Guillermoprieto was born and grew up in Mexico City In her teens, she moved to New York City with her mother where she studied modern dance for several years From 1962 until 1973, she was a professional dancer.Her first book, Samba 1990 , was an account of a season studying at a samba school in Rio de Janeiro.In the mid 1970s, she started her career as a journalist for The Guardian, moving late