Venezuela, with all the danger and corruption we hear about regularly, is a mecca for culture…especially dance. Twice walking around Caracas we (my Couchsurfing host, and I) stumbled into impromptu dance recitals. One in a subway, the other in an underground area of some building on the way back to the parking garage.
The latter was a huge performance, with a stage, chairs, and just a couple lights set up inside the dark recesses of this building. A succession of contemporary dance performers proceeded to showcase their talents for us, and of course, being an ex-ballerina and photographer (as well as my host who is a ballerina) got completely sidetracked for awhile. (Hope her friend who was with us didn’t mind, no idea if she was into it or not. I was too busy taking photos to notice).
(I’m not actually a fan of contemporary dance. To me it’s a bunch of people running around and rolling on the floor. I know its supposed to be all emotional and expressive or something, but it reminds me of acrobatics and ballet but without the talent and jumps and flips. Contemporary dance to me is like ‘almost’ exciting. But, it still takes great photos.)
End Side Note:
The first performance we happened upon was a solo guy , who looked similar to Latin Satan, performing a piece with candles. Not going to lie that I loved how he kept looking directly into my camera (which made him look more creepy, pretty sure he was going to make dolls out of my hair each time he looked at my camera, but also made for some great photos).
Next was my favourite performance. It was a couple doing a flamenco-esque style of dancing. That I am told is actually a traditional Venezuelan style. But it was beautiful, and up beat , and not your typical contemporary dance performance.
Then there was these 2 girls, one in white, one in black. Since I don’t speak Spanish I didn’t understand what the words in the ‘music’ was saying, but was explained later it was to mean one girl was the sun and one was the moon or something and one of each is always looking over us. (which would explain why during the whole performance, one girl was facing the audience and one wasn’t. I figured on my own the dance must be representing some duality thing)
Then there was another performance that was set to more tribal-styled music and must have been telling a story of lovers, like Romeo and Juliette style lovers. It was violent (ish. I think the dance would have come across better with a couple acrobatics thrown in, or more African dance footwork, to really re-enforce the hard pounding of the drum beat, but the guy did do some incredible leaps.) Even with the couple of leaps the man did, I kept waiting for some explosion of action, some catharsis, and I feel that they missed it. But it was still quite moving I guess. And the girl died at the end. Or went into a coma. Or got tired and fell asleep. I’m going with the first though.
The last performance was a solo girl who came out blind folded. She proceeded to dance , blindfolded, for the first half of her piece. Then she ripped (yes ripped) off her blindfold and clothes and revealed the most toned body I have ever seen in my entire life. The rest of her dance was in her underwear and although , did not have any leaps or big acrobatic movements, the control of movements this girl exhibited showed just how talented and physically athletic she was.
Seriously – NO BODY FAT. And the moves she was doing , some were super slow and drawn out in ways that only years of training can accomplish. Besides, if I had that body, I’d be dancing in my underwear too.
It amazed me how a city; that is the murder capital of the world, one of the top 10 most corrupt countries in the world, and a place very few people choose to venture, can have so much free and public art and culture. Venezuela may keep tabs on every single thing you buy, place you go, book you read…but they are highly proud of their art and culture. Its just something you would never expect. And it is quite amazing.