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'Kings of Salsa' brings Cuban dance to the Hub

Jacquinn Williams | 10/4/2011, 10:42 p.m.
“Kings of Salsa” performers heat up the dance floor....
“Kings of Salsa” performers heat up the dance floor. Kings of Salsa

Get ready for a hot night with choreographer Roclan Gonzales Chavez’ “Kings of Salsa” show at the Cutler Majestic Theatre Oct. 13-15. Hailed as one of the best choreographers in Cuba, Chavez has been dancing since he was knee high and has been studying dance since he was 15 years old.

Raised in Havana, Chavez learned to incorporate the world around him into his routines.

It’s obvious from the “Kings of Salsa” promo video that American audiences are in for a sizzling treat. The video is a swift-moving, well-orchestrated party with pulsating rhythms, vibrant colors and lots of gyrating hips. The show promises to showcase salsa, mambo, rumba, cha cha, reggae and more.  

The “Kings of Salsa” show is sure to get audiences grooving with a cadre of talented dancers from Cuba’s top dance companies and nine-piece band, Cuba Ashire. Chavez’ dance steps coupled with captivating music will usher in the irresistible flavor of Havana.

On a tour that includes Switzerland, the UK and several U.S. cities, Chavez — who likes relaxing on the beach with friends and is a lover of baseball — takes a minute between shows and jetlag to chat about his love of dance and his love for his people.

How long have you been choreographing and how did you get your start?

For about 20 years now. I started studying choreography properly when I was 15 but I started dancing when I was 3.

In Cuba, is it difficult to make a name for yourself as a choreographer?

Yes! Dance and music are the biggest things there. There is such incredible talent and stiff competition.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?

It’s really all about hard work, studying and learning from other choreographers that came before me in Cuba, like Tomas Morales. I think if I do this, I’ll get results.  We are lucky because in Cuba, the arts are supported, so I had a great education studying dance.

Have you ever wanted to do something else besides dance?

No! Never. It’s my life’s passion.

What inspires you to create new choreography?

Lots of things. I like to see all different styles of dance when I travel. I use life experiences for ideas and draw upon my life in Cuba.

Have you ever had a moment where you felt like: I’ve made it?

Well, it’s great seeing our big shows and going to other countries, but I believe you never stop learning and developing, so no.

Tell me some of your favorite shows you’ve worked on.

“Lady Salsa,” but really it’s the truth, “Kings” is my favorite show.

How did you decide to do Ballet Revolucion?

It was with my friend and producer of the “Kings” show Jon Lee.We work together all the time and he wanted to put together a more classical and contemporary show.

What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had?

We’ve had some crazy tours. A lot of traveling and performing in really small theaters, but once the dancing starts, we always have fun. Plus, working with fellow Cubans is always special for me. We have very little (material things) but we actually have a lot because we know how to have fun with nothing.

Has your choreography been performed in America before?

No! That’s why we’re so excited!

The “Kings of Salsa” show will be at the Cutler Majestic Theatre on 217 Tremont St., Oct. 13-15. For more information call World Music Crash Arts at  617-876-4275.