Conjunto Folclórico Nacional

Magic and Mysticism of the National Folk Group

Last modified: January 4, 2023

There is no doubt that it is a group of an elevated technique, equipped with a sharp repertory, with evident samples of consolidated experiences and a lot of very well done choreographies, most of which are trackers of our deepest folk traditions. It cannot be different with this company, because the National Folk Group has been constantly nourishing (and still continues) from young assets; without forgetting the rich legacy of the predecessors, who have given their life and strength to achieve by the diverse paths of the dance, the best results and the most refined contributions…

The National Folk Group was founded in 1962 by the folklorist Rogelio Martínez Furé and the Mexican choreographer Rodolfo Reyes Cortés. With an outstanding force, it interweaves the traditions in a personal style of the Cuban folklore -since the European and African origins with Caribbean elements, or elements coming from other regions- to give us presentations with a great aesthetic richness. At the same time it expresses with chants, rhythms and dances, the contemporary popular creations such as son, mambo, danzón and rumba.

Very relevant figures in the history of the National Folk Group have given experiences and knowledge to the constitution of the national culture; the National Prizes of the Dance Rogelio Martínez Furé, Zenaida Armenteros and Silvina Fabars excel, as well as Mario Micler, the present general director and choreographer, recognized in 2017 with this great award. Relevance have come through the music too; many prestigious instrumentalists and singers have participated and defended the sonorous expressions of the traditional and popular Cuban culture: Lázaro Ros, Jesús Pérez, Teresa Polledo, Alberto Villareal and Ramiro Pedroso Herrera are some of them.

Titles as Cautivos, Palenque, Alafin de Oyó, Rumbas y Comparsas, for only mentioning some, correspond to choreographies performed by the numerous generations who have belonged to this prestigious institution over these almost six decades of work.

More than 80 countries from every continent have received the performances of the group, and the most varied publics have applauded, in various languages, the deepest national art of this prestigious dancing company which develops its seasons in Mella Theater (principal headquarters), and the National Theater of Cuba, among others. Some of the principal prizes gained by the company are the Golden Barrel (Dijon, France 1975), the Silver Collar (Dijón, France 1975) and the Golden Temple (Agrigento, Italy 1988). Among the systematic activities in its artistic and community work we can mention El Patio de la Rumba (Saturdays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm), The International Lab of Folklore “Folkcuba” (January and June) and the Seasons in the different Havanan theaters.

Mysticism, magic, movement, music, color, dance, light, bodies, sensuality, sounds, voices, symbols…They don’t do theater but all is pure and creative dramaturgy. They are not poets, but their shows submerge in oneiric paradises. They are not magicians, but they create magical spaces, hallucinogenic, with their lights and their shadows. And their director/choreographer, Manolo Micler, seems to manage an invisible baton by means of which he situates all the members in climates of great magnetism and beauty that trap the auditorium in all senses.

Toni Piñera
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Journalist for more than 30 years at the Granma newspaper, art and dance critic, professor at the National Academy of Fine Arts San Alejandro, curator of Cuban art exhibitions (former director of the La Acacia gallery, Havana), poet.

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