7 Potencias Cuban Dance Troupe Page 2

Manuel Suarez in costume

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As a direct consequence of these labor push and pull factors, tensions were created between the immigrants and the "nationals", in which the immigrants were discriminated against because they had a strong labor force, were highly mobile, and cheaper to hire than the natives. This same discrimination and rejection caused the immigrants to take refuge in their religious and "magical" cults, which they utilized to shield themselves from the rejection and hostility of a new country with its different culture. In time, the practice of Voodoo spread throughout the Oriente region of Cuba, along with the territorial expansion of its Haitian practitioners. Respect for this religion and the Haitian immigrants grew as the practice was observed to cure disease, and have other beneficial effects.

For all of the foregoing reasons, 7 Potencias has decided to adopt as its mission, the study and artistic portrayal of the inter change of cultures in the Oriente region of Cuba, particularly Guantanamo.

The Company: 7 Potencias

The 7 Potencias Company has developed several works based on a compilation of the Franco-Haitian and Caribbean influences which exist in the Oriente region of Cuba, focusing on the area in and around Guantanamo.

The Company's work of recreating the Franco-Haitian and Caribbean culture in the Guantanamo zone consists of artistic, non-religious, portrayals of the dances, rhythms, and songs engendered by this influence. The performance pieces are based on field investigations conducted in the actual places where these religious ceremonies are practiced by the descendants of the original settlers. One of these sources of information is the town of Honduras, in Guantanamo, the hometown of several of the company's members. These depictions are portrayed with particular heightened respect, authenticity, and engagement.

It is important to emphasize that immigrants from various regions settled in the different regions of Cuba's Oriente province, such as Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Camaguey, and Guantanamo. For this reason, there are differences in the practices - - such as distinctive forms of worshiping the Loas (Voodoo Gods), with differences in the attendant ceremonies. The dances of the 7 Potencias emphasizes the differences in the forms of contemporary worship between Cuba and Haiti.

Creativity is the primary aspect on which 7 Potencias focuses, inasmuch as culture is the creative impetus of mankind.

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