Miami Herald – Copperbridge festival of Cuban culture offers engagement…
The Copperbridge “Cultural Evolution” festival, opening Thursday, promises a weeklong smorgasbord of Cuban culture — with concerts by renowned Afro-Cuban-rock band Sintesis and modern dance troupe Danzabierta, visual art exhibits, film screenings, lectures, panel discussions and workshops.
Cuban cultural advocates in Miami have been presenting artists from the island with the aim of fostering exchange and understanding since the mid-’90s. What is new about the Copperbridge festival — the fledgling organization’s first public event — is the breadth of offerings and the sense of immersion in Cuban culture, and a focus on fostering one-on-one dialogue. The festival is full of free workshops, lectures and discussions.
Geo Darder, the group’s founder and director, is building on increasing travel to and from the island enabled by the loosening of rules for Cubans, who can now legally travel outside the island, and five-year visas available from the U.S. government that enable them to come here for an extended time. MalPaso, the Cuban contemporary dance troupe that Darder presented in Miami in June after its highly successful debut in New York in May, will return for a U.S. tour next spring.
“With five-year visas you can come every weekend,” says Darder, a Miami-born Cuban-American who has been organizing cultural trips to the island since the ’90s and travels to Cuba several times a month. “The next wave will be the youth meeting youth. When people meet Cubans here, they want to go see Cuba there.”