︎︎︎ Reconstruction of
a Choreographic Script


The backdrop of the project is the uncertain and fragmented space of my family history through the figure of my great aunt, Elfriede Mahler, an American dancer and choreographer. Accused of being a communist during the McCarthy era in the Untitled States, she fled and sought asylum in Cuba immediately following the revolution in 1959. In Cuba she became one of the founding members of the modern dance school in Havana and then relocated to Guantánamo City dedicating the rest of her life to founding and directing the dance company Danza Libre, which merges modern dance with Afro-Cuban dance traditions developed in the region.

Archival negatives of Elfride Mahler in Guantanamo Cuba, 1972.

Reconstruction of a Choreographic Script consists of a series of paper cut out collages and a multi channel video. The script created by Elfriede Mahler was originally outlined in the mid 1960s at the school of modern dance in Havana and developed through the 1990s in Guantanamo. The choreography was broken up into six acts, which told the story of European colonization and American imperialism from the perspective of labor rights in the combined styles of modernist dance, folkloric traditions and soviet inspired socialist realism. This original script no longer exists and instead the present script presented in the exhibition is built on remaining archival fragments, labanotation, oral narratives and gaps in collective memory.

Photos of Ramiro Guerra’s personal archive, Havana 2018.