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Santeria Dance in Cuba - One Mountain Photo - White House Station, NJ, USA

Every culture has its stories and myths, many of which are expressed in forms of dance. The performance roots vary widely in their vibrance and modern relevance. In some cases they've become simply tourist attractions, folkloric troupes, with little emotional connection to the performers. In some, the relevance and vibrance is very real and current. Cuba's Santeria traditions, where the people, under pressure from the Catholic church, adapted their earth spirits into the pantheon alongside Jesus and the disciples. There are many performance troupes in Cuba, and they range from the children's troupe that has toured the world, a group that I've seen perform twice on a rooftop in Havana, and a troupe in Trinidad that's almost hardened into a folkloric tourist attraction. Here are some photos taken at performances by the three groups mentioned. The most moving - one little girl was in fact quite spooky - was the troupe where all the performers are under age 15.