This project will tell a story, primarily through photos but also text, about what life is like for Cuban dancers living and working outside Cuba. All photos will be made in a 35 mm DSLR. For exhibition they will be printed on Tyvek, 40” on the long side.
Over eight years, I photographed dancers from Compania Codanza (Holguin, Cuba) in rehearsals and performances. This proposal includes photos of five of the dancers (two photos each) who left Holguin and are living somewhere else in the world, including the US, Turkey, China and Spain. I have stayed in touch with these dancers since photographing them. I propose visiting them in their new worlds, photographing them there (especially their dance activity), and interviewing them.
I will then tell this story using the words and images of the dancers themselves. The products will be exhibitions in Cuba and the USA and a book that juxtaposes photos of the dancers in Cuba and in their current locations and explores why they left, how they left and their lives now. The grant will be used to cover some travel costs to visit, photograph and interview the dancers.
In a book (2019) called Havana Youth, Ariana Hernandez-Reguant says that “This is a youth with hopes.” As part of this project, I met a dancer who left her company, along with four others, after their tour in the USA. She told me, “I stayed here [in the USA] because in Cuba there comes a time when everything seems to stagnate. And well, much that one works and strives [for, it] is never enough to lead a decent life with the basics that anyone needs to live!” Because I have their Holguin photos and they are friends I am in touch with, I am in a unique position to explore why young Cuban dancers leave, how they leave, and what their life is like in their new place, the Cuban dance diaspora.