The Havana Love Letters Team
Choreographer Suki John
Composer Joel Diamond
Designers Roma Flowers, Murell Horton and Brian Clinnin
Choreography and Libretto
Suki John is a passionate advocate for Cuban dance -- as a choreographer, performer, and writer. On the island she has choreographed for Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Compañia Narciso Medina, Danza Espiral, and Danza Contemporánea de Cuba. She has created six original works with Havana Love Letters composer Joel Diamond. In the U.S. and Europe Suki’s work has been performed at the 92nd St. Y, The Culture Project, People’s Yugoslav Theater, Ritmo Flamenco, Adelphi University, New York University, the University of New Mexico. She is Associate Professor in the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University and a Coleman Entrepreneurship Fellow. Suki holds a PhD in Cultural Studies, and has been published in the New York Times, Four Seasons Magazine, Village Voice, Dance Magazine, Pointe, Ballet-tanz International, The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Dance, Caribbean Dance, Dance Research Journal, Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography, and Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. Her acclaimed book, Contemporary Dance in Cuba: TécnicaCubana as Revolutionary Movement, is a personal and scholarly account of Cuban dance.
For more, sukijohn.com
Joel Diamond went on the road as a young pianist with several major rock bands, going on to a brilliant career composing, arranging, producing and performing a vast array of musical genres. Inspired by Cuban music for many years, Joel was nominated for a Grammy Award for his string quartet, Danza Caprichosa, recorded by Orquesta Nova. Collaborating with Suki John he has composed for six works performed by Cuban companies, dances performed across the United States, a ballet for The Cuban National Ballet, and a Cuban-American collaboration that premiered at The Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process. Selected by Variety as one of 20 “Creatives to Watch,” Joel has produced albums for an eclectic selection of artists including Rebecca Pigeon, Livingston Taylor and Sarah K. He composes for theater, dance, popular music and film, and has scored Atlantic Theater’s Kid Shamrock premiere and films including The Believer, The Suicide Club, Heart of the Garden, Anima, The Dogwalker, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Not for Nothing, Love Thing, and David Mamet’s Oleanna.
For more, joeldiamondmusic.com
Brian Clinnin is a Fort Worth-based designer whose recent credits include Misalliance, The Tempest (The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Less Than Kind (Theatre Three), Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet (Trinity Shakespeare Festival), Company and Home (Jubilee Theatre), and Picasso at The Lapin Agile (Circle Theatre). Prior, he worked at Chicago Scenic Studios, creating scenery for projects such as ABC-7 Chicago State Street Studio Set, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Chicago Field Museum, and The Adler Planetarium. He has trained at the University of Illinois, The Art Institute of Chicago, and The University of Kansas, from which he holds a BFA in Illustration and an MFA with honors in Scenography.
For more, clinnin.com
Hailing from St. Louis, Brie Lowry graduated with a BFA in Ballet and a minor in General Business from Texas Christian University. She was trained at Dayton Ballet, Ballet Midwest and COCA (Center of the Creative Arts), attending summer programs across the country.
At TCU’s School for Classical & Contemporary Dance, she has performed works by George Balanchine, Susan Jaffe, Jessica Lang, Terrence Orr, Stephen Mills, and Elizabeth Gillaspy. Brie joined Kentucky Ballet Theatre as a Trainee in 2011 and has risen through the ranks to Company Member status, performing corps, ensemble, soloist and principal roles in many of the most beloved classical ballets and neo-classical/contemporary works.
Brie became KBT's Executive Director in her fourth season with focuses on marketing, fundraising and organizational development. Brie was also a Ballet Mistress at American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensives in 2011 and 2012. She owns and operates a full-service media marketing agency, with a national client base, called On Pointe Media.
Photo by LymanDVM Photography. For more, KYBallet.com
Listening to the album "Irakere" in 1979 changed the course of photographer David Garten's life forever. Based in Waitsfield, Vermont, David, who sometimes writes about himself in the third person, has been traveling to Cuba since 1994. His heart thinks he lives in Havana. Over the years, his camera has been his compass, sextant, periscope, seeing-eye and hearing-ear dog, divining rod and user's manual. And gotten him into - and out of - some amazing places.
His photos have been published in "Cuban Ballet" by Octavio Roca (Gibbs Smith, 2010) and "Contemporary Dance in Cuba - Técnica Cubana as Revolutionary Movement" by Suki John (McFarland, 2012). They have appeared in the New York Times, Village Voice, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Examiner, LA Times, San Jose Mercury News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Toronto Globe and Mail, Miami New Times and Miami Herald, as well as Jazziz, Jazz Times, Keyboard, Latin Beat and Bicycling magazines. They have been featured on CBS Sixty Minutes II and Al Jazeera's Consider This. They can be found on music CD's by Cuban musicians such as Chucho Valdés & Irakere, Los Van Van, Grupo Síntesis, Ibrahim Ferrer, Grupo AfroCuba de Matanzas, Bebo Valdés, Paquito d'Rivera, and César López. Since 2011 David has been the in-house photographer for Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra at Symphony Space in New York. His photos are on the cover of the liner notes for ALJO's 2014 Grammy-winning CD "The Offense of the Drum," and the cover of their new CD, "Cuba: The Conversation Continues."
For more: CubaPhoto.com