The members of Danza Contemporanea run through an intense hour-long Afro-Cuban dance drill. We saw this early in our shooting and were really blown away. You'll see an amazing excerpt of this in the film.
The house drummers for Danza Contemporanea. These guys are always on hand to accompany the dancers with their high octane, traditional playing. They had a lot to tell us about the connections between Cuban dance, religion and folklore.
There's a lot going on in the streets of Havana, especially at night. Here, a crowd gathers for a concert.
Our cameras always drew attention. Cubans aren't shy, and everywhere we went people were eager to pose.
The Havana skyline. A fisherman takes a break from the bustle of the city.
A side street in a quiet section of Havana. What you see in the movies isn't an exaggeration; the 1950s cars are everywhere.
Future members of Danza Contemporanea?
Everywhere you look in Havana, someone is jury-rigging something. As Pedro puts it, the Cubans are great at making something from nothing.
Pedro outside the house where he was born, hugging his godfather Eduardo. They hadn't seen each other in 30 years so it was an emotional reunion.
Yaday Ponce preparing for her role in Horizons. Yaday represents the Afro-Cuban goddess Yemaya, and she's definitely well suited to the role of goddess.
Yosmell Calderon and Heidy Batista practice their duet. As Heidy put it in one of our interviews (in English): “We have the chemistry together.”
Osnel Delgado taking a break between rehearsals. The dancers practice for 6 – 8 hours everyday, and there's very little resting.
Yaday at one of the final rehearsals for Horizons. Practice sessions were getting very intense by this point.
Pedro coaches Heidy and Yosmell just after a dress rehearsal. Heidy told us she found Pedro's complex choreography difficult to master, so she was really nervous about getting it right. (As you'll see in the performance, she did!)
Danza Contemporanea performing Horizons at Havana's Mella Theater. Along with their grace and musicality, the dancers are incredible athletes.
Yaday dominating the stage as the goddess Yemaya.
Check out the height these two dancers achieve, and how in sync they are.
One of many moments in Horizons that exude sheer exuberance.
Here's how Osnel described this part of the dance in our interview: “Sometimes it's like flying. You go on the stage from one point to another, and you take your way like the winds. If people see that I fly, that's good.”
Photographs by Alex Lowther; Captions by Julie Cohen