Grace under fire

The hands move as they do in Spain, the hips move as they do in Africa and the shoulders sway as in Cuba.

It is a style of dance pulled together by Liszt Alfonso to great success these past 17 years.

On April 20 and 21, she brings this “sensual mix of fire and spice” to the Yukon Arts Centre.

“We mix in classical ballet, too,” says Alfonso over the phone from Montréal where the Liszt Alfonso Danza Cuba stopped for a presentation of its Fuerza y Compás (roughly translated: Strong Rhythm). “And we use music from flamenco, music from Cuba and just a lot of fusion.

“Audiences stand up and scream and clap,” she says. “They are crazy for the show.

“In some places, they clap with the rhythm. It’s a very interesting experience for us,” she says, noting that is not the usual reaction. But, at the very least, she says audiences move in their seats along with the 20 women dancers.

Twenty dancers … all in Whitehorse at the same time.

“At the end of the show, everybody is very tired,” Alfonso laughs, acknowledging that Whitehorse clubs will be safe. “It’s shower and bed and rest for the next day.”

But they will get out to see the sights as much as they can. They have been looking forward to visiting the Yukon and are not worried about the colder clime.

“It will be very interesting for us, Whitehorse is exciting and different … but we have coats.”

She pauses for a moment, searching for the right words in English, and then, “Oh, we are so lucky!”

Alfonso is famous in Havana, Cuba, where the dance company is based. But Cuba does not have a fixation on celebrity like Canada or the United States.

“I get a lot of respect and a lot of love, but no screams.”

The company was well-received in Toronto, too, having a run of Vida! at the Royal Alex Theatre.

Before closing last June, it received rave reviews from Toronto critics.

Fuerza y Compás shows at the Yukon Arts Centre April 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the YAC Box Office or Arts Underground.

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