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Contemporary Dance and Ballet Performances in Singapore

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Ballet Revolucion will be performed at the Sands Theater at Marina Bay Sands from May 5-6.Photo: Ballet Revolution

With just a few months left until the 2020 global pandemic, I had the good fortune to set foot on the Caribbean island of Cuba — a city trapped in time, filled with neoclassical and baroque buildings displaying ancient and stylish vintage car. But what impresses me the most is the sizzle of the beat. Music and dancing are everywhere – in bars, restaurants, streets, and even back alleys. The uplifting energy is infectious and unlike any other place I’ve been. That’s when I finally understood why the famous author Ernest Hemingway decided to make this city his home.so when i heard high praise ballet revolution Contemporary dance and ballet with a Cuban spirit is coming to Singapore, and I’m curious about the performance. So I chatted with two of the show’s choreographers, Roclan Chavez from Cuba and Aaron James Cash, an Australian multi-hyphenate actor/singer/choreographer living in Los Angeles.

The Revolutionary Ballet was specially selected from a variety of performances in the West End to perform for Queen Elizabeth’s 60th Royal Variety Show in 2012. After touring Europe and Australia, now is Singapore’s chance to witness a fiery dance performance that puts Afro-Cuban roots without losing the essence of ballet.

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What is Ballet Revolution? Why use the word “revolution”?

Rockland Chavez: We are a fusion of modern dance and ballet. “Revolution” expresses the dance technique when two different genres come together.

You’re both based in different regions and time zones; Aaron Cash is based in Los Angeles and Roclan Gonzalez is based in Havana, Cuba. What were the technical difficulties in developing such a revolutionary show? What is the cooperation process like?

Rockland Chavez: The most important responsibility on my part is to preserve the Cuban spirit, Cuban technique and our Afro-Cuban heritage without losing ballet technique.

Aaron Cash: The process is simpler than you might think. I went to Cuba for eight weeks, and we shared our time tradeoffs. But of course, the most challenging part was being away from my family for so long.

How is Ballet Revolucion different from other ballet performances? What can viewers expect?

Rockland Chavez: We showed two completely different technologies in one show. Audiences will enjoy a variety of dancers who can dance perfectly in a variety of styles. As diverse as the performances are, audiences will feel the beautiful energy and passion inside each dancer.

Aaron Cash: This is a commercial dance show with a Cuban perspective. All the different styles reflect our incredibly diverse and talented body of dancers. Some are stronger on the classical side, some are stronger on the modern side. We create many different flavors, so there is something for everyone.

Two ballet dancers in black with their legs splayed in mid-air.

While in Singapore for just two nights, don’t miss this amazing fusion of classical ballet and modern dance.Photo: Ballet Revolution

The dance performance is a fusion of two cultures: American and Cuban. What are the cultural similarities and differences between the two? Have you ever had a culture shock moment while working together?

Rockland Chavez: There’s never a moment of culture shock here. Dance is the language of the body. We show all our emotions through our bodies. It’s a lingua franca.

Aaron Cash: Dance is a lingua franca other than Spanish, and unlike English, we all understand it. This is something more inspiring. Cubans have an inspiring work ethic and a thrill to work with. That’s the most important gift I’ve had working on this show.

Can you share with us the behind-the-scenes preparations?

Rockland Chavez: Prep is always a pleasure, mostly because I’ve known the dancers since they went to school. Together we are like family. This helps the process.

Aaron Cash: We usually exchange ideas with each other about new choreography. It’s very much a collaboration.

How hard was it to get the right performers together?

Aaron Cash: At first, it was difficult because we were an unknown, but as time went on and our reputation grew, there are now many Cuban dancers who want to work with us.

Got a behind-the-scenes anecdote or exciting fact to share?

Rockland Chavez: Everyday feels like being at home, like playing with my siblings.

Aaron Cash: In 2012 we were invited to perform for the Queen Elizabeth 60th Royal Variety Show. We were chosen from so many shows on the West End, which was special.

The acclaimed dance performance was staged in Singapore in 2012. So what will be different at the show at the Marina Bay Sands Theater in May 2023?

Rockland Chavez: It will be the same show with the same energy, passion and love. But 90% new cast members.

Aaron Cash: We have mostly new dancers — young dancers with a different creative talent than the other dancers we’ve had over the years. So, combined with the new choreography, it’s like a new show.

Any star moments to watch out for?

Rockland Chavez: All the moments in the show are booms! ! ! !

Aaron Cash: Concierto De Arunjuez, the chair dance remains the company’s most iconic work.

What was it like performing in Europe and Australia? What is the difference?

Rockland Chavez: The audience reaction was the same everywhere. This makes us very happy and satisfied.

Aaron Cash: Either Europe or Australia. At the end of the show, the audience always stood up, cheered, clapped, and loved what they had just seen.

Singapore audiences are known to be a calm and polite bunch. Can the ballet revolution arouse the latent enthusiasm of the local audience?

Rockland Chavez: I believe “Dance” will work its magic.

Aaron Cash: no doubt. Cubans are the embodiment of pure passion. Their energy and love of dance is contagious.

What else would you like to share with your Yahoo audience?

Rockland Chavez: I hope that the audience will come to enjoy the performance and feel the great love and sincerity of the dancers.

Aaron Cash: This show is all about it. If you want to have a good time as a family, this show is for you. There is something for everyone. Cubans are special.

A group of dancers jumping on the stage.

Ballet Revolucion was handpicked to perform at the Queen’s Jubilee 2012. Photo: Ballet Revolucion

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(From left) Choreographers Roclan Chavez and Aaron Cash.Photo: Ballet Revolution

(From left) Choreographers Roclan Chavez and Aaron Cash.Photo: Ballet Revolution

Who is Rockland Chavez?

Born in Cuba, Roclan Gonzalez Chavez studied at the prestigious Escuela Nacionales the Arte in Havana, graduating with honors in Modern and Folk Dance in 1996. He is the only one of his peers to receive a postgraduate scholarship to study choreography. Since then he has worked extensively throughout Latin America and has studied the region’s many styles, from Brazilian samba and contemporary ballet to Argentine tango.

Who is Aaron Cash?

Originally from Brisbane, Aaron Cash is a talented performer and one of the original ‘Tap Dogs’. A versatile performer, singer and choreographer, he enjoys an impressive 10-year touring relationship as Cher’s principal dancer. He has starred in such films as Titanic and Hook, Benjamin Button and The Curious Case of Bolt. His television credits include Scrubs, Nip/Tuck and the series debut of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, among others.

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