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Maricel Godoy, her Passion for Dance

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marisel godoyPhotos: Carlos Rafael
25 years after its creation, the Codanza Company is among the most important contemporary dance groups in Cuba, with great acceptance from the public and critics. Turned into an academy that has trained generations of dancers, the company founded by the dancer, choreographer and teacher Maricel Godoy successfully performed between January and March on European stages with the show Do not stop the music.
Back from the tour of theaters in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, full of dreams and with the same optimism at the beginning, Godoy talks about the company, its projects and also about her two daughters who follow in her footsteps.
For the also nominated for the National Dance Award, this tour has contributed to the professional development of the dancers and, therefore, to Codanza ...
"We already have had contact with the European public; in particular with the Spanish and the Austrian public. Discovering and enjoying other audiences is great, but the impression of going on stage is always the same, wherever you are, anywhere in the world. It has been a great experience for the dancers, as they are young people, between 19 and 22 years old, and the reaction of the public was very positive, emotional. They have grown professionally and are no longer those who left for Europe in December 2017.
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25 years after the foundation of Codanza, do you feel satisfied with what you have achieved?
Not at all. I still have a lot to do yet. There have been times in which I have felt happy for the results achieved, due to the effort of dancers, teachers, regisseur (stage director) and choreographers. They are intense months of work, where energy flows like water from the springs and where the result cannot be other than the purification of art. I have big dreams. I'm still halfway there.
How did you face the challenge of this tour with a renewed cast?
Working tirelessly to achieve what we wanted. After the first five years of having founded Codanza, my professional life became a challenge. Since then, keeping it active has been my greatest virtue. Over the years, I have made a kind of "mastery" in the beginning again. I'm already healed. Today I face the new cast with the same optimism with which I wake up every day. The confidence in themselves and my firm foot mark the way.
How much the style of Codanza does favors or distorts the joining of artists from other types of dance?
It favors, it does not distort. The incorporation, for this tour, of the twins Rubildo and Rubert Donatién Dinza and Roberto Rodríguez Ricardo, dancers of the so-called street dance, has forced the dancers of Codanza to delve into styles such as Breakdance, BBOY, New Style, Shuffle, Shardo and Hip Hop, which make ours a tainted dance. And what is contemporary dance but a mixture of genres, styles and artistic disciplines, where anything goes. The members of the company went through a process of systematic practices to perform these dances. Today, they have more bodily and interpretive tools than before. I'm sure they've grown. The mixture of styles enriches the show and much more to the dancer who plays it.
How does the family of dancers scattered around the world work?
My daughter Lissette attends a choreography scholarship in Washington, while Lisbeth, has joined the Havana dance company Mal Paso and travels systematically to the United States. Thanks to the internet, we are connected all the time, including their father. We all discuss family issues. Distance is not synonymous with forgetting. We are a very functional family, thank God. We love and respect each other.
How do you rate the role of Codanza as an academy?
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Codanza is a company that trains dancers. After the first years, there was an exodus to Havana, mainly for the Contemporary Dance of Cuba. They were the first to praise the work of Codanza as an academy. The dancers of Codanza are coveted by other companies, for the quality in their technical and interpretative training. They are dancers with acute uptake. In this regard, they must have developed concentration attention. With dancers of this quality, progress is made very quickly and the processes, whatever they are, are streamlined and better results are obtained. Companies want dancers like these ones.

For 22 years the company was training in acting, singing and the use of the voice. With these powerful expressive tools, a dancer with a lot of stage weight comes out. Remember that the technique is a means, not an end.
Projects for 2018 ...
We will work on the staging of new works, with a view to the fifth edition of the North Atlantic Dance Contest and Vladimir Malakhov Grand Prix, there are joint projects with the famous Catalan choreographer María Rovira and we are invited to participate in the Dance Season, October in Cienfuegos, and in the event "To dance at the house of the spinning top", sponsored by Danza del Alma, in Santa Clara, on December.
It is said that the "Malakhov" revitalized the company. How much does it have to do with your purposes of turning Holguín into the city of dance?
Since the late '90s I began to dream of turning Holguin into the city of dance. In those moments, with the support of the political, government and cultural authorities of the province, the Codanza Contest was created, with territorial character. Its initial objective was to promote the dance movement and, for this, many actions were carried out.
In the middle of this process Vladimir Malakhov appeared in my life, through his representative Paul Seaquist.
For three years we planned meetings with important European choreographers, which could not materialized, until Seaquist finally decided that Malakhov should arrive in Holguin and thus change the direction of the actions we were trying to carry out. Paul knew of my purposes and joined me from the beginning.
Thus, in December 2013 the star of the world ballet Vladimir Malakhov arrives in Holguin, to stay permanently with us. In that first meeting, it was decided to convert the Codanza Contest into the Codanza North Atlantic Dance Contest and Vladimir Malakhov Grand Prix, both nationally and internationally.
We have had five uninterrupted years of intense work and great results. This contest makes us for 10 days a year into the city of Cuban dance. It has been the most important of the actions that lead us towards that goal.
At the moment, another important and very ambitious action is in the idea: Codanza must have its own headquarters, which will be the palace of the dance of the people of Holguin. I have faith that other dreamers support the project to achieve the goal.
How do you describe the relationship with Malakhov?
Rubén Rodríguez González
Author: Rubén Rodríguez González
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