The 7 Potencias Company was founded in Havana, Cuba on September 13, 1999. Its individual members have worked with each other for many years as members of other dance companies, and prior to that, as students at the various dance schools. This high degree of cumulative professional experience, and the investigative work which has gone into the development of the company's own artistic work, has gained 7 Potencias quick acceptance and support by the Cuban public. In November 2002, 7 Potencias won first place in the Wemilere Festival in Guanabacoa, Cuba. The Wemilere Festival is one of the most prestigious festivals for professional Afro-Cuban musicians and dancers.
For a better understanding of the cultural work of the 7 Potencias Company, we should examine a bit of Cuban history from the late 18 th century to just before 1930, or right around the time of the worldwide financial crisis of 1929. During this period of time, there was a sustained period of expansion of the sugar industry which in time came to define this region of the world. This was powered in a large part by a major infusion of capital.
This growth of the sugar industry accelerated after the 1791- 1804 Haitian Revolt, which gave rise to a mass immigration to Cuba of a type of individual with a culture quite distinctive from that of the previous decades. The availability of labor was not necessarily adequate to keep up with the increased demands caused by the rapid growth of the industry set off by the tremendous infusion of capital. The resultant increase in African and slave labor became a major industry in the 19 th century and directly caused a closer link between the markets of the European, African, and American worlds - - particularly that of the Caribbean zone, centered in Cuba. The modern economic markets as we recognize them today, had their inception in the sugar and slave trades.
As a result of the Haitian revolution, a sizeable immigration of French colonists and their domestic and field slaves, and Spanish landowners from the Spanish side of Santo Domingo, also accompanied by their domestic and field slaves, settled in the ports of Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba. The western region of Cuba did not suffer as large a labor deficit and so did not attract these newer refugees from the Haitian revolution. The direct effect of these labor factors is what gave rise to the distinctive cul tural and population flavorings of the eastern area of Cuba.