Our first task in beginning work on Coming Home was to find a common element that would allow us, in just ten days, to develop a creative process involving a group of American dancers and a Cuban choreographer who had never met. In baseball, a sport born in the U.S. and adopted by Cuba, we found a common meeting ground.
Certainly, baseball’s essence and its intricate rules offer a wide range of associations and even poetic meanings tied to Cuba’s mythical conscience.
Let’s consider one of its basic principles—the winner of the game is the team with the highest numbers of players returning home safely after successfully visiting all bases on a 360-foot journey. It’s hard to ignore the many literary references: Odysseus’ long, astute and determined quest to return to Ithaca; the useless victory of Santiago, Hemingway’s fisherman, as his boat lies on Cojimar beach next to the remains of a big fish; and many more.
But baseball wasn’t enough; we had to establish specific rules for artistic process, so we created analogies for certain situations within the game and intimate moments in the characters’ lives.
Physically demanding, the resulting choreographic phrases are lyrical and vertiginous - solos, duets and group formations evolved from poses and archetypes related to the technique and practice of baseball. Movement acts as a tool to help orient the viewer while embodying the metaphorical substance of the work.
But Coming Home is also a personal adventure. Osnel returns to the sources, not only through a sport that he grew up with, but through encountering an artistic dance tradition that Cuban dance owes so much to.
Osnel didn’t come out empty-handed. The enjoyment of the effort justifies the meaning of this adventure. He is also well aware of what this exchange humbly brings forward—the pressing need to reengage, at various levels and with all its complexities and beauty, in a cultural conversation that has been interrupted.”
Osnel Delgado, this year’s Northrop McKnight International Artist, premieres Coming Home, his first-ever work created for a U.S. company, on Fri, Nov 21.
Coming Home runs Nov 21-29 at the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts. Tickets are available here.
Tues, Nov 18, 6:30 pm
Newspace at the Capri Theater
2027 West Broadway Ave, Minneapolis
Featuring the VoC drummers, Kinyari Al-Ahad, Yonci Jameson, and Taji Maalik Hill
The evening kicks off with an opportunity to socialize with local artists, followed by a movement class with live drumming taught by McKnight International Artist (Cuba) Osnel Delgado. Dinner and a family style discussion on contemporary dance influenced by the African diaspora, facilitated by Tamika French of SWAG and Voice of Culture, will follow.
This event is free and open to the public, supported by the McKnight Artist Fellowship Program.