The Ballet Folkórico Cutumba is one of Cuba's oldest and most highly respected folkloric dance companies. Cutumba's progenitor, the Grupo Folkórico del Oriente, was founded in the year of the Revolution, 1959, and embodied the new mission of culture in the new Cuba: to preserve and celebrate the people's culture. Since Cutumba is based in the provincial capital city of Santiago de Cuba, its repertoire specializes in traditions unique to the Oriente, or eastern half of the island.
Laurence Salzmann's photographs of the Ballet Folkórico Cutumba, Imagining Cutumba, give a unique, highly individual window into life in late-Socialist Cuba. His rich, smoky images are fantasies of light and movement that do not immediately locate themselves on an imagined, sunny Caribbean island that is already the tantalizing subject of so many American fantasies. Salzmann beckons us to a fresh encounter with Cuban culture, one whose mystique is refracted through his lens and his imagination. These photographs are also ethnographic, although not in the usual way and not on the surface.
"The contagious mysteries of Cuban dance and Cuban rhythms are visually and viserally rendered in the photographs of Laurence Salzman. costumed ephemeral collections strike intriguing compositional form; stories told on fabric journey blissfully, and spirited bodies repeat ancient patterns."
- Yvonne Daniel, author Rumba
A Catalog of the exhibit
Imagining Cutumba a catalog prepared for an exhibit at Williams Center for the Arts Lafayette College, Easton Pennsylvania, 2002. 16 page catalog (8"x8") with 12 offset reproductions in color and black and white.
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Imagining Cutumba shown during El Festival Cubano in Philadelphia is now available as a traveling show. Includes 12 photographic banners made by Vutek, Inc (4x6 feet), 16 photographic prints size 10"x10" (framed and matted 17"x17"). A 24 minute video comes with the show.