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In 2003, Tiffany Madera aka “Hanan,” enraged her Cuban family in Miami by getting on a plane to Havana to participate in an artistic exchange that led to the formation of Cuba’s first Arabic dance troupe; Grupo Aisha Al-Hanan. The troupe founded by hanan was composed of eight women at the University of Havana’s History Department. A live band of musicians shortly followed from Havana’s colorful and diverse music scene. Guided by hanan, Grupo Aisha Al Hanan; quickly gained notoriety around Cuba despite its departure from State- Sanctioned Culture and Art models. A grassroots cultural movement ensued which had a profound impact on many lives across the globe.
For Hanan’s family, her returning to Cuba was like an act of support for the Communist Revolution that drove them from their island to Miami. Havana Habibi begins three years later following Hanan’s visit to Havana for the International Dance Festival and workshops with Grupo Aisha Al-Hanan. We meet the ensemble and see the sacrifices they make to create their art.
Havana Habibi looks at the cross cultural exchange and intermigration between Africa, Cuba, Spain and the USA; what it means to be a Cuban Bellydancer in Revolutionary Cuba as well as the Cuban Diaspora and travels throughout time, geography and space to tell the human story behind Revolution and geo-political Identity through the sensual metaphor of Bellydance.
Jason Bee Alafia joins me to discuss this critically acclaimed documentary film.
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