After the 1959 Cuban Revolution, new professional opportunities opened up for dancers of African descent. As Fidel Castro desegregated public parks and beaches, Cuban choreographers founded new companies with racially diverse casts. This presentation examines how Afro-Cuban dancers embraced these opportunities and shaped their outcomes, arguing that even though black dancers faced considerable obstacles like racial prejudice and deflated wages, they made important strides in creating innovative dance art and a new category of revolutionary work.
Elizabeth Schwall is a Visiting Lecturer of Latin American History at UC Berkeley and a Fellow at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University. She previously held a Mellon Dance Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University and has taught at Stanford University.