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The cuban young Tania Vergaras At the Ends of the Earth

The telephone rings and to her surprise, the person on the other end is no other than Alicia Alonso, director of the Cuban National Ballet Company (NBC): “I’m calling about the Ibero-American Choreography Contest. We, the jury -- from the NBC, the Fundación Autor and the SGAE -- are gathered here and we decided to call you and congratulate you. The prize is definitely yours.”

“I first thought it was a joke, but then listening to Alicia Alonso on the other end made me consider it an added value to the prize itself – the International Choreography Prize 2008,” Tania confessed in recalling that moment.

What is the title of the work, the subject it deals with and your source of inspiration?

"The title is ‘A los confines de la tierra’ (At the Ends of the Earth) and it is inspired by the music of Luar Na Lubre, a Galician group of traditional music, but with a contemporary air. The story is not linear. It deals with the issue of migration, particularly from Galicia. The idea first emerged when, during this past International Book Fair here in Havana dedicated to Galicia, I learned about the migration of more than 3 million Galician people to the Americas. I learned this and then I got the latest CD by Luar Na Lubre, a highly acclaimed, very popular group in Spain that has received several national prizes there. I felt encouraged to make this work and deal with this issue implicitly.”

How it is conceived?

"It involves five pairs of dancers and lasts around 13 minutes. The entire piece has different musical nuances. The first scene has more lively music. It is like a game between dancers and I use some Galician dances. In the second scene I use three curtains to express that each dancer misses his/her partner. The music is very melancholic. It is visually very attractive, since the dancers are behind the ballerinas, but the men are not seen because of the curtains covering them and the women are all the time avoiding them. They are like floating on the sea. The third scene deals with the relationship between men and women and also their separation. Perhaps the music here sounds more Andalusian –- although the music is Galician, it involves strumming guitars, more passion and finally their separation.”

Don’t you think your work deals with a universal issue, migration and the separation of family?

"I think it is a highly controversial issue in the world today, particularly in Europe. It is a highly topical subject in virtually every country. ‘At the Ends of the Earth’ deals with universal issues: migration, the separation of family and the feeling of being separated from one’s roots which all emigrants suffer in the world today.”

Tania Vergara is in Havana, preparing the world premiere of her work by the National Ballet Company, set for October 1st, during the International Ballet Festival. Happiness and nostalgia, love and the separation of family, reflection –all could be found “At the Ends of the Earth”.


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