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Arts correspondent Pauline McLean
"Danzabierta are one of three Cuban performers"
 real 56k

Monday, 7 August, 2000, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Dancers pay the price of fame
Danzabierta
It is the first time the group has been in Europe
Cuban dance band Danzabierta has had to do more than most to guarantee a turn on the Edinburgh festival stage.

The colourful and energetic group of men and women performers has been forced to borrow thousands - including a loan from the government in Cuba.

The communist regime was happy to hand over the money on condition that it is repaid within 72 hours of Danzabierta's return.

Festival fringe logo
Thousands perform in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The dancers' European premiere on Saturday and Sunday at the Gateway Theatre was followed on Monday by an impromptu display for bemused shoppers.

Danzabierta's Alejandro Aguilar said: "Because of our situation we are far away from home and we come from an island which is isolated. It is important we are here and we have contact with everyone else."

The Edinburgh Festival's official online site says the group displays a "visual feast of dance" and "unravels the essence of what it is to be Cuban through traditional tales, song and humour".

The dancers' raunchy adult stage act can been seen each night up until 15 August.

Three Cuban acts

Danzabierta is just one of three Cuban bands which are taking part in the Festival Fringe this year.

They feature in the increasingly cosmopolitan event which started in 1947 as post-war initiative to reunite Europe through culture.

At the Fringe alone, there will be 1,350 companies and individuals giving nearly 17,000 performances in 177 venues throughout the city.

And 275 new works are set to be premiered - a record for the art festival's history.

Edinburgh was awash with colour and sound on Sunday when the festival season was officially opened.

It was launched at the Dynamic Earth Centre and was followed by a cavalcade down Princes Street by some of the thousands of performers.

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