I MET HER TWO YEARS AGO. I WAS ATTENDING A performance of Showroom and in front of me was an empty seat that she filled a few seconds before the show started. Susana Pous swayed her body gently from side to side, hummed the mu- sic, counted, and inhaled and exhaled along with her dancers.
She was trying to repeat or rectify the steps in each scene. At one point, Susana Pous, was considered as the intruder of a story, the story of the Cuban dance company DanzAbierta, founded by Marianela Boán. A short time before DanzAbierta’s founder left the company, Susana Pous subverted the migration patterns of the Cuban uni- verse. This Barcelona-born dancer arrived in Havana determined to become accustomed to the island’s beat, its concept of time, and to give herself over to dance in a way that she could not do in Spain. And she became part of the group. In 2001, Marianela Boán bid farewell to DanzAbierta and the company began to perish.
The lack of rigor split the group and the dynamic brought by new choreographers did not connect at heart with the company’s potential. At that time, Cuban choreographers were going through a moment of severe sterility, and critics were saying that dance had become stagnant.
Guido Gali, director of DanzAbierta, was trying to revive the company, and as in the past, he kept his work open to the world of dance experimentation. In 2006, Susana Pous found a place as a choreographer with DanzAbierta to debut with the piece Qué se puede esperar cuando se está esperando (What can you expect when you’re expecting). She was carrying her first daughter, Luna, in her womb, and the piece centered on maternity. Later, Pous reappeared on stage with MalSon (2008), a piece that she conceived of in two years.
The piece demonstrated that she was aware of the atypical nature of Cuban society, anchoring her story in a perspective in which two attitudes unavoidably coexist: the foreign one and the Cuban one. With MalSon, the Guido Gali and Susana Pous duo was able to reinvent DanzAbierta, even though the memory of Boán’s cre- ations—nourished with U.S. postmodernism, German dance the- ater, and the unrestrainable Pina Bausch—remain indelible.
Then came the awards, invitations to festivals on different continents, and a time for rethinking the next piece: Showroom, or better said, the hidden side of a reality. In September, DanzAbierta will travel to the United States and present MalSon and Showroom. A U.S. foundation, Copperbridge, will organize a community event in the city of Miami starring this dance company. The trip to a Cuba that exists 145 kilometers from the island itself will renew a much-desired dialogue. Susana Pous knows that anywhere in the world, Cubans are moved to the core by their culture, and MalSon will lead them to a reencounter.
Photo: Alejandro Calzada