Dance and Percussion Show

Choreography: René de Cárdenas

Music: Percussion created live with the assistance of Yaroldy Abreu.

Costume Design: Otto Chaviano

Lights Design: René de Cárdenas

Première: December 4/2004, in Havana, Cuba

In three years has accomplished more than 160 presentations of great audience success and very favorable comments from the specialized review, a national tour and five tours through Europe, visiting more than 45 cities in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal.    

Vichy Opera, France.

Festivals of Carpentras and Solliés Pont, France. 

The Oporto's Coliseum, Portugal.

Festival of Oeiras, Portugal.

Lyceum Theater of Salamanca, Spain.

Principal Burgos's Theater, Spain.

Madrid Theater, Spain.

Tivoli Theater, Barcelona, Spain.

Dance Festival of Albacete, Spain.

Latin American Festival of Cádiz, Spain.

Cilea Theater, Reggio Calabria, Italy.

Celebrazione Theater, Bologna, Italy.

Ciak Theater, Milan, Italy.

Nuovo Theater, Verona, Italy.

Among Others...

This premiere has called the attention of the audience due to its freshness and Cuban nature, because of its force and the joy transmitted by its young artists on the set, a “solar” or yard of a building lot.

The inhabitants, verb from this particularly way of life of the Island, who without the intention of telling a story, are reflected in a dozen pictures with joy and spontaneity, are interpreted by young artists specialized in dance, folklore, music. They gather up the daily life sounds from cooking pots, washing troughs, slippers, frying pans and Chinese fans, as the only musical instruments, which are transformed in their hands and their bodies, in order to lively recreate a cha-cha-cha, a hip hop, a trawling conga or a samba. The fusion of these elements with dance is what makes the distinctiveness of Sonlar, which has been applauded and admired by different audiences.    

Rated as an effervescent, elevated, pleasing and colored spectacle, the audience does not get lost in clichés, and it conveys happiness, sensuality and the energy within an impressive scenic expression and mainly of a Cuban nature of universal reading.

It is pertinent to stand out the words of the important critic Roger Salas in the newspaper “El Pais” where he states: 

..."the energy, good dance and rhythmical capacity of all the interpreters, the ones whose ballet formation and control of jocular look solid. The native percussion, in its multiple mixtures with what's Afro-Cuban, is base of Sonlar and it proves that one can create music with a domino chip or with the stick of a broom, everything depends on the one that plays”…

In that way, Sonlar has opened a new window, a new vision of Cuba abroad, offering the possibility to everybody coming to the Island to see it and getting close to it, in order to know its dance and musical fortune.

Cuban and world dance, rhythms, humor, joy … that is Sonlar. Love, loneliness, comradeship, drama; … that is Sonlar. The Cuban show which has been more applauded in Europe during the last years. 

René de Cárdenas, mentor and soul of Sonlar, confirms with his first work, profession, talent and originality that a great deal can be done to turn what's quotidian into Art.


By Puri Caro,  20 minutes, Barcelona, July 2006.

..."the scenario is simple, as a Cuban building lot, but it contributes to the light and colour of the Caribbean"... 


By Tania Cordero BILLBOARD, monthly magazine of the Ministry of Culture, Cuba, March 2005.

Sonlar, the spectacle of René de Cardenas that returned to the dance billboard in February, it announces in its program that is a fusion of percussion and dance, the magic of the day to day life style.


More than an attractive promotional slogan, these precisions delimit, they draw up the contours of the proposal and they make it sincere, trembling.


In a scope in which the companies often prefer to start off of the safe formula of our popular dances and they more or less obtain it with success -, decorated with recent aesthetic searches, Cardinal red it warns that it will insist on them and it is able to prevail with talent and authenticity.


Barking of the life in a lot, the sonorous soul of his dominated, its trays, fans or tanks compose music of the assembly. That so recognized musicality of the Cuban moves here: a passage when walking, the chachareo of the neighbours, the "rising tide" between the partners when playing, everything is music on which they dance technically well dancing equipped.


The spectacle does not want to tell stories, but to give stamps. For that reason the dramatic load that contributes the interpreters not disperses in the traditional conformation of the personages from the argumental point of view; beats in the force of the dance and the atmospheres, sometimes intimate, sometimes aggressive or happy that they construct the executants.


The counterpoint of the young people with its fans, the wealth of sonorous and interpretative shades in the scene of the dance with the brooms, the delay of the water pipe to the entrance of the lot, the frenetic domino game or the tenderness and strong of the pair to the single touch of the keys could be indicated between the most interesting moments of the putting.


Although one was surprised sometimes during the mentioned game, for example a simultaneous use of the scenic space that did not limit as much time the action the right of proscenium.


In the same scene the original sound could take advantage of cards of the game for the work towards the bottom.


Sonlar is a diaphanous spectacle, truthful; it shows to the versatility of a group of dancer-musicians and the percussive force of good part of our existence. To René de Cardenas and its equipment it is necessary to applaud them to remember to us that the authentic thing does not need too much adornment so that shines.


By Andres D. Abreu,  Special for Granma the International, March 2005.

 ... Sonlar, it builds of the young Cuban choreographer René de Cardenas (ex- classic dancer) made in collaboration with the National Theatre of Cuba and Folia Productions (Spain).


Its main challenge consisted of facing the great Avellaneda room a project that reunited dancers and Cuban musicians from diverse origin (Free Dance, Ballet ICRT, Tropicana, National school of Dance), young people able to show that they could dance, sing and play the different Cuban rates from a peculiar soundtrack generated in the daily atmosphere of an real-imaginary Cuban lot.


These budgets handled in Sonlar entailed the risk of approaching a cultural space with certain recurrence in our arts and the popular image of the Cuban from a spectacular tendency: to make dance from sounds created by the own dancers. Action that implied references to Stomp -- recognized project arisen in England in the nineties that internationalized a peculiar mix of dance and percussion style.


But with a good advantage of the scenic space and originality in the compositions of many of its pictures (the one of the fans, the pair of love, the single one accompanied by touch of drawer and others), René de Cardenas and its troops were not a copy of the British and, although they used some stereotypes of the Cuban lot, they suitably hefted the traditional thing of the Island, the universal contemporary and a  different way to make music-dance-theatre (perhaps simpler, but equally functional) like surprising with an event artistic respectable, rhythmical and dynamic.


Sonlar was worthy of strong applause in Cuba and perhaps of other many that will receive when begins they Spanish tour. 



Newspaper VAR MATIN, Julio 16th 2005.

Interview to Julio Arozarena, international figure of the dance, ex Maurice Bèjart’s dancer, Zingaro and the National Ballet of Cuba:


... "If you want to have a faithful vision of which she exists in Cuba, its dances, its songs, they must come to see them. They are young incredible "...


... "On the stage the artists is accompanied by instruments of the newspaper. With this show, elevated, rich and colourful, the public will not lose itself in clichés.


Here we found the happiness, the spontaneity, impressive a scenic expression and much heat. That is the real Cuba "....



Weekly magazine VAUCLUSE, August 5th 2005.

... "Between the dance of the slippers with ballets of 15 dancers, the subtle games of lights, everything hammered by brooms, painting boats, barrels or simply the iron tubes of the omnipresent scaffolds in the scenery, the spectacle is integral "...


... “The discovery that but arrived us at the heart was a pair, later a trio of fans, jazz and sevillana.


Surprising with its Hispanics backlightings and their positions on torn and struck sounds, as if the pedal of charlestón happened suddenly to a wood bell. A musical gift, line of vision and oxygenating, something truly new in its style "...


... "All the public has enchanted to him. The launching slips remember "would be said that they danced and they touched for them, always smiling, without worrying about us ", it could be listened to when coming out of the closing of Summer 2005"...


By Julio Bravo ABC, August, 19th 2005.

... "It was only a matter of time that Cuba, a country where the rhythm is almost the national beat, it had its own spectacle of percussion "...


… "Sonlar an impressive Cuban spectacle of percussion and dance, this week arrives at the theatre of Madrid, in order to overflow the capital with Caribbean rhythms.


By Marine Cristina August, 19th 2005.

... "Related with Stomp or Mayumaná, Sonlar has the distinction of its Caribbean origin, with sounds and dances of warmer and sensual tone"...


By Eduardo Lopez, August 19th 2005.

... "To give us a good taste, this week arrives an authenticate Cubans spectacle, Sonlar"...


...  “At first it can looks like a copy of the English spectacle Stomp, the reality is very different, since the heat and the Caribbean passion seize of the spectators doing them participates in the dance like the fans, in where the women improvise and dance to the compass of these; It dominated, in that a wealth of sound in the middle of the game recreates, with the gestures and exclamations of a Cuban while it plays; or the dance of the slippers, dynamic fusion of hip - hop, the jazz or break dance "...



By Roger Salas, El País, August 26th 2005, Madrid.

Ciudadela, patio of neighbours, picaresque of cothin: that is the Cuban lot, a recurrent urban installation that far from disappearing, in the Cuba of today one expands within the dramatic survival that lives the Island: there the flame "cuartería" and is synonymous of marginality.


Sonlar is the dynamic and effervescent spectacle of Cuban dance that appears in the Theatre of Madrid until the 4 of September and that today recreates the classic schemes or of that species of fresh tribune or of the daily thing, metaphor of many things.


The Cuban’s lots were used in Literature like tragicomic scene: from Montenegro to Novás Calvo, Severo Sarduy in De donde son los cantantes. In the theatre, two classic ones: Réquiem by Yarini (C. Felipe, 1960) and Santa Camila de la Havana Vieja (Brene, 1961). Shortly after, the lot arises (1964), ballet of Alberto Alonso, and from there My lot (1965), musical comedy with Sonia Calero Sansano.


The same year, Eduardo Manet films a day in the lot (unforgettable Alicia Bustamante and Roberto Rodriguez).


Thus a subgenus was born of the new Cuban ballet that soon not deigned and now it appears again with Sonlar, conceived by René de Cardenas (that outside soloist of the National Ballet of Cuba), being above on those tracks it recreates with efficiency that tradition, it brings and globalizes with some Brazilian rate and something of hip-hop.


Still lacking structure, dramatic art and wire, its work is serious and of quality: it knows what there is to make with the waists and the feet, of guaracha to guaguancó or conga of drag to the santiaguera.

In Sonlar conducts to that idiosyncrasy are felt in addition, of the machismo to the marginal language ("guapería" and its codes), of estraper it (stock-market black) to santería (that one is afraid, it is sung and one practices), of regusto by the jigging about.


The production is most modest as far as stage scene and clothes, but that is replaced with the energy, the good dance and the rhythmical capacity of all the interpreters, in that one is solid balletistic formation and control of the comic thing.


The Creole percussion, in its multiple mixtures with the afro Cuban, it is the base of Sonlar and test that can be made music with a card of dominated or with the wood of a broom, everything depends on which touches.


There are numbers of forced appointment, as you announce (that happens in graceful pregón-rap) or the slipper dance; the blind of stick or that constant mixture of melodrama and happiness, of desires to live in the hopelessness that illustrates that of which "it is necessary to dream and to sing, to live and to dance while it can, that the others are a story ".


By Victor M. Burell, El Punto de las Artes, September 2005.

Cuba seems to be that he is it everything: paradise and hell, vitality and distresses, necessity and gives. Havana - from always it has had the pull of the prohibited thing, since it seems that him western world always walks between the sinful thing and the restrictive thing.


That is, that the country where the freedom so is watched is the same one in which frees it is born of the premised of the bodies, and of souls in which the Christianity has been mixed of such form that no longer supposes its habitual armour.


Sonlar is a unique exercise of force and youth that approaches us most

popular and native of the Caribbean, without poison it with most habitual of the bordering universe of the night club and. René de Cardenas gathers (in this spectacle of dance, sing and percussion) what it is intuited as shows of the authentic thing, said level but served by an amazing technique with the great Marta Graham the bottom.


Dynamic, untiring, they are, of that Nicholas Guillén was tycoon in the verb, it is entangled us to disinhibit and to cheer to us to us. Any thing serves to make music: the casseroles, the dustbins, the cards of dominated, the brooms, the fans; and the bodies are not reserved, they are sent, as if there were not laws nor choreographies at least, in order to draw up a to the maximum controlled language although it seems uncontrollable.


Really a celebration for the senses that finished in the street, its element, and then the goodbye of the company of the Theatre of Madrid seemed not to want to arrive in the end.


And in the meantime rate the lyric Majesty of Vicente Yauner Perez, which it did a single one that transferred to the musical world would correspond with the ancestry of the very same Debussy.


A day with "Sonlar" and you will seem twenty-four hours younger.


This Cuban spectacle competed, in the scene of the Opera of Vichy, with other many more groupings of most sovereign prestige.


Luis Toledo Sande,  Cubarte,  april 2006.

…”If comparisons were not so hateful, it would bear saying that Sonlar assumes from its levity and rejoicing what Suite Havana by Fernando Pérez, investigates from the intensity of the pathos”…


…”In Sonlar, essential joy is a priority, which takes possession of an audience to whom a chain of extreme poverties is not shown: the rejoicing of human beings is unfolded in front of that audience, and although in scenery they are only seen in the closed space of their inherited habitat, they transmit a pleasant sense which is inexplicable, without the pride and satisfaction of its origin”…


”Cuba's sensuality – and that of the Cubans – is a reality, according to external observers”.


”In Sonlar, it works organically at the service of arts. Sensuality and music consummate themselves in the bodies and in their movements.”…


…”The triangle that for folk music the distinctive African inheritance among Brazil, the United States and Cuba has been marked, Sonlar reminds it in hints – not always equally perceptible, but from the good assimilation of – samba, rap and break dance. Of course, in the Spanish scenario, it proves to be especially appropriate to remember the nutrients received by Cuban music from the flamenco treasure, whose explicit breakthrough in recent years in Cuba, would give us material for a treatise on cultural sociology. In the first of the two times that this columnist enjoyed the spectacle, one of its best moments was represented by the flamenco dancer Curro, who was invited to share the scene with two of the Cuban interpreters. Standing in front of the profusion of virtuosity and of fire lived by the trio in connection with the drumbeats – characteristic of the rumba of both places – it was difficult not to remember, without getting into comparisons, the prodigious Ad líbitum created by Sergio Vitier for Alicia Alonso and Antonio Gades”…


…”But it was not neither tragedy nor evil caricature what Sonlar lavished in the Theater of Madrid, but a vital, profound, legitimate, only explicable joy in a town that consciously assumes its destiny, with its challenges and its risks. Such was the joy in which the spectacle maintained the audience charmed and happy in that way during the performance of the group on the stage and when, at the end of the show, the artists were coming down to the stalls, they made many people dance. The merrymaking of the closing day ended up in the hall, and powerful Cuban voices of the artistic group made explicit their pride of belonging to that part of the Caribbean, and to live there. The environment inside the magnificent facility of Madrid denied the freezing temperature that there was out-of-doors”...


…”Thanks, Sonlar, for not being necessary to idealize you, in order to vibrate with you”…


The Castles Festival, By Culture, July 21st.

..."Yesterday, on July 21st, the Puy-Pinós amphitheater, in  Alcañiz, lived a magic working day of Caribbean heat at the beat of Sonlar's rhythms and music, the spectacle of dance and percussion was directed and created by René de Cárdenas“...


...”One more night, the Alcañizan stage was filled up almost to its completion as it has been habitual in this 2006 season of the Castles Festival. About 800 people vibrated with the warmth and force of Sonlar, show that brings the spectator  closer to the spirit of the Cuban building lots (solares), one of the signs of identity of urban life in the Caribbean island”...


The First Festival of The Nights of the Chestnut Grove, Editorial Staff, 07/26/2006.

... ”The First Festival of The Nights of the Chestnut Grove, organized for the Council Seat of Culture of the City Council of Bejar, closed down yesterday its first edition with the poster "There Are No More Seats", for its last performance”...


...”The persons in charge of closing the cycle were the "SonLar" Cubans, who with their spectacle of dance and percussion, made more than 1200 people vibrate at the Bullring of the Chestnut Grove”...

THE PRIEGO FESTIVAL VIBRATES WITH RHYTHM AND DANCE OF THE SONLAR CUBANS: Shaking cocktail in which dance and percussion are fused

By Rafael Cobo, August 4TH, 2006.



...”The frantic rhythm of the Cumbia dance, the Cuban son or the conga, interpreted with saucepans, frying pans, brooms, Chinese fans, garbage cans or domino chips, and a wide variety of choreographies, comprising languages such as the neoclassic, contemporary, Afro-Cuban or break dance, were the support of Sonlar.  Cocktail of dance and percussion that served last Wednesday as the re-initiation of the programming of the International Festival of Music, Theater and Dance in Priego"...


... ”Together with the cast of dancers, it is pertinent to describe the work accomplished by the director of the spectacle, the famous Cuban dancer and choreographer René de Cárdenas, who for this show counted on the musical counseling of the percussionist Yaroldy Abreu”...


El Norte, Valladolid.

...“René de Cárdenas, main dancer of the National Ballet of Cuba, is the artistic soul of this great company that gathers almost two dozens of very multifaceted artists, able to do everything, even singing. René's hand, than in addition to, is the author of the original idea and the choreography, is in charge of the artistic direction, and it is noticeable in the good putting together of the different musical acts”…


...”Besides, he has been able to add contributions from other sister music genres as the Brazilian rhythms and more modern ones as the drumbeats, break dance“...


...”Duos, trios, sets of complex choreographies. And pompous exhibitions, a lot of technical pompous exhibitions of an amazing rapport”...


...”The audience, who once again filled to overflow the San Benito's patio, had a good time and applauded with eagerness another great school of Cuban choreographers who succeed out of their land”...


By Belén Ginart,   El País, July 5th, 2006.

..."any object is good to create music"... 


..."the happiness that is generated there, because Cubans are able to make a party with a can and a stick "... 


A.T.,   Dijous, July 13th, 2006.

..."one, who has been able to watch Sonlar, can assure that it is a very refreshing show"... 


..."the protagonists, who sing, dance to the rhythm of debris, Chinese fans, and domino chips"... 


..."authentic rhythm and colour cocktail"... 


AVUI, July 2nd, 2006.

... "An invasion of Cuban rhythms at Tivoli"... 


... "They perform acrobatics and create all kinds of rhythms so that the spectator feels like in Cuba"... 


By Montse G. Otzet.

... "It takes shaking rhythms out of any object that falls in their hands or their feet"... 


... "They show an extreme musicality with the waddle of the bodies and the movement of the feet"... 


... "It is able to elevate to the maximum the environmental temperature of the Theatre"...


By Martha Sarabia,  February 6th, 2007.

There are not doubts that the key of the success of this work rests on the fact that the audience understands and accepts the humanity that exists in this world of the building lots, so prejudiced in our society. 


This success is achieved from the originality of creating music, as in the primitive times, with the instruments of daily work, which wraps us in a rhythmic atmosphere that, in that moment, it is that of the building lot, composed by pans, cooking pots, washing troughs, brooms, hammers and Chinese fans; but that they are universalized when we recognize that those instruments and those sounds are present also in the life of all people. 


This company comprises young people with a lot of talent who not alone, they master the dance and the dramaturgic techniques, but also, they perform with skill, the music that springs from the daily utensils, transformed into percussion instruments. 


…"this project directed by René de Cárdenas, who has been able to win the hearts of all those who spend, next to him, one day at the Solar"… 


By Pepe Murrieta, February 2007.

The show genuinely reflects, without artifices, the charm to the nude of our most sensual and musical cultural identity that seen from theatre´s seats, without the risks present in the natural scenario, is able to dazzle to the most refined tastes at any place of the world. 


These black, mulatto and white people of Sonlar, in a fusion of gestures, phrases and short dialogues, they boast of their rhythmical expressiveness at their natural environment, as fish in the water; without the structure of the choreography truncating the spontaneity and the brushstrokes of their native manners. Each dancer-interpreter, without sex distinction, becomes a percussionist... some astonishing ones, and the most contagious rhythm is the main character among four men who play with domino chips, or among girls who seem to be unaware to the primitive conditions in which the laundry of clothes is carry out, with sounding washing troughs.


By Solliés Pont,  VAR MATIN, July 2005.

.."a spectacle on Cuba without references to the tobacco, nor to the beach, nor to Compay Segundo. To the aim we have been able to perceive the entrails of the great island, the life that beats behind the walls of the lots (communitarian houses).


Sonlar is the life in these houses made music, or rather rate "...... "Se can put all the confidence in the choreographer René de Cardenas so that us of the desire to take off in one hour towards Havana"...


... "Changing because the space for an exit and our postcards of white sands and beaches by the shouts of travelling salesmen and to Good Social Vista Club by the "controversy", that sung verbal confrontation. Let us take Cuba in most intimate from its day to day 


By Muriel Ledoux HIM DAUPHINÉ, August 1st.

..."the girls are vibrant, the boys athletics and aerial "...


..."on the scene of the Theatre in Plein Air there was a celebration that counts a story. A little piece of life as if we were there.


A day in a popular district of Havana "... ... “Actors, singers and dancers”.


They interpret a country and they present a culture. The dances are the reflection of a mix race "...


... "Classic dance, modern, African, Cuban, all under the passion of the Dance and the movement "...


... "El public conquered has saluted of foot to the dancers and the choreographer René de Cardenas.


The closing of the 13th edition has become in the shared joy and the passion. VIVA CUBA!!!!!!.......


By Marta Memory, The DAY/ Valladolid, September 10th.

... "Thousand of people they go every night to San Benito to enjoy Sonlar.

It demonstrates that in the island any moment it is good to enjoy the life and to do of you are somewhat special times. The rate and the good mode do not decay in all the evening "...


... "It’s a different spectacle, it had not seen anything thus "...


By Ricardo Suárez THE NORTH/ CASTILE, September 9th.

... to "Sonlar it got energetic and delightful to put  to the night. Twelve young artists you will multidiscipline marched past by the unexpected scene and a full one of solar life of Havana "...


... "The choreographies of René de Cardenas moved more of a foot"...