Although Cuban artists from the island have become a regular part of Miami’s cultural scene, the next couple of days boast a particularly rich array of offerings. Until you can cruise to the island, you can get a full tour of Cuban artistic visions right here over the next few days.
Dance or music, music or dance?
The Copperbridge Foundation (with the help of the Centro Cultural Español) brings back Danzabierta, the Cuban modern dance troupe whose sexy, hyper-theatrical Showroom was a highlight of Copperbridge’s 2014 Copper Fest. On Thursday night only the Havana troupe, headed by Spanish choreographer Susana Pous, performs Malson at Miami Dade County Auditorium in Little Havana. The evening-length Malson is a tribute to the (original, Big) Havana, featuring music by the electrifying fusion musician X Alfonso (who also started Fabrica del Arte, Cuba’s transformative nightclub slash cultural center.) Thursday night only gente – then Danzabierta is off to New York’s Joyce Theater, which is putting up a festival of Cuban dance.
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If you’d rather dance to music than watch dance, head to the North Beach Bandshell on Sunday for Ibeyi, the Cuban twins who’ve gotten a pop boost with their appearance in Beyonce’s Lemonade. Ibeyi (which means twins in Yoruban, the language of Santeria ritual) are Lisa-Kainde and Naomi, the 21-year old daughters of monster Cuban percussionist Miguel "Anga" Diaz, who powered Irakere and the Buena Vista Social Club. Raised in Paris, they blend Afro-Cuban, jazz, soul and world music influences, and sing in English, French and Yoruban — slinky, rootsy, global funk. Ibeyi’s Miami debut comes courtesy of the always visionary Rhythm Foundation. Miami’s own electro-fusion Afrobeta opens.
As we move back towards the long-unimaginable normalization of tourism to Cuba, this is the perfect time to look back at the pre-Embargo days of the U.S. infatuation with the island, with the Wolfsonian FIU exhibit Promising Paradise: Cuban Allure, American Seduction. The show of photos, posters and other promotional imagery that created a fantasy Cuba for Americans — rum and rumba, sex and cigars, nightclubs and mambo, tropical exoticism, illegality and adventure — from Prohibition to the 1950’s. Promising Paradise opens Friday and runs through August 21.
If you go
When: 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday
Where: North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Info: $25 - $30 at rhythmfoundation.com
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Miami Dade County Auditorium, 2901 Flagler St., Miami
Info: $22 at copperbridge.org
What: Promising Paradise: Cuban Allure, American Seduction exhibit
When: May 6 to Aug. 21
Where: Wolfsonian FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Info: wolfsonian.org or 305-531-1001