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The contradiction of the modern Cuban nation : the institutionalization of a national hybrid identity, danza moderna, and spaces of blackness in revolutionary performance spheres

  • Author(s): DiGirolamo, Elizabeth Morgan
  • et al.
Abstract

The international fascination with Cuban popular culture and arts coupled with my curiosity about how the modern Cuban state institutionalized performance arts for the purpose of streamlining national culture inspired my research on Cuba. My work examines the social significance, artistic form, and state management of the cultural arts after the Cuban revolution in 1959 when revolutionary leaders, seeking to redefine the Cuban nation as a representation of its people, emphasized the expression of national culture through the arts as an educational tool for the masses. My study of Cuban cultural arts and their role in this national reconstruction project focuses on danza moderna, the Cuban modern dance technique, cultural aesthetic, and art form that emanated from revolutionary culture and its political platform. My investigation of danza moderna and the political climate that surrounded its inception examines the ways in which Cuba's diverse culture and population was fundamental to its development into a national performance art that explores the hybrid identity of a modern independent nation with a complex history. My analysis presents a critical view of the state managed artistic production and national aesthetic. This critique brings attention to the severe contradiction between Cuban revolutionary rhetoric and social practice since many social biases based on race and culture linger in Cuban society. Although the Cuban revolutionary aesthetic focuses on the celebration of Afro-Cuban culture and expression as a means to promote that which had long been marginalized, dominant social ideologies and negative racial attitudes remain historically embedded in the nation's social structures and culture

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