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“Havana Rakatan” Sizzles & Rocks!

February 22, 2015

NEW YORK, Feb. 21 – – This afternoon two dear friends from Tel Aviv, my Cuban wife and I had the distinct pleasure of attending a dance performance at New York’s City Center, “Havana Rakatan.” My wife, often times, can be very dubious about “artists” from present day Cuba as so many have been outright duds. But this troupe, part of City Center’s Latin dance festival, proved that the small island in the Caribbean often produces over-the-top brilliant performers and artists, and these musicians and dancers were utterly supreme. So much so that often during the Saturday matinee, the audience gainfully applauded with standing ovations. At the end of the show, the audience screamed and yelled in appreciation almost as though the Beatles or the Rolling Stones has just performed one of their top hits.

This “Havana Rakatan” performance left me constantly tapping my feet and air drumming my hands and fingers on my wife’s hands and arms – I was at the ready to jump up in my seat and start a mambo or a cha cha as the music progressed through a series of fast-paced numbers with brilliant choreography coupled with the brilliant musicians. The dancers, most of which must have had ballet backgrounds (so it seemed by their smooth and seamless movements, leg stretches and ability to fly effortlessly) were gorgeous, both in movement and in dress; again kudos to the costume designers and dressers.

The female vocalist, very reminiscent, of Celia Cruz, was also at the top of her game, and from the program notes, has a very promising career as a singer, composer, arranger and choral director.

By all means if you enjoy Cuban music and heritage and are searching for something to do on a Sunday afternoon or evening, snap up a ticket for Sunday’s last performances at City Center. It’s well worth the time and effort and you’ll come away with a huge smile and tapping hands and feet.

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