MSK Guide opens this Window to allow you peek into the work of artists linked to music.
You will learn about them and what they do in the first person, as our publication will be just the bridge between you and the guests. This time the window opens to the dancer, choreographer, teacher and amateur Cuban musician Maykel Fonts, who at 44 years old conquers international stages.
My name is Maykel Fonts and I define myself as a Cuban who traveled, with my identity and the rumba that identifies us, to fight beyond the Cuban stages. I was part of the Tropicana dance troupe, although I spent very little time in the cabaret, about a year and a half after leaving the institutional school, and I have been in Italy for 21 years.
I am a diehard defender of rumba; one has to give the public what they ask for, what they like the most or, perhaps, what they notice you passionately defend.
For seven years I have been in the staff of teachers in a world-renowned format: Dancing with the Stars, which in Italy is known as Ballando con le stelle. I am the only foreigner and as a Cuban I represent Latin-America, but I also perform all the dances of the European repertoire.
The dancer should constan-
tly learn in order to keep working and I have learned to do so; that has made gain expertise in different disciplines: tango, a little bit of jazz, lindy hop, flamenco..., all those genres I did not know in Cuba and that have made me a more complete dancer.
The previous has also allowed me to incorporate some of those elements into my Cuban dances and create the Maykel Fonts style. I don’t just dance a rumba, a son or a basic salsa; I always try to incorporate features to suit global standards, according to the audience.
If I want to dance rumba with a strong identity I come to my backyard (Havana) and dance it at the Callejón de Hamel, at the Solar de la Cueva del Humo; but my goal outside Cuba is to take rumba to the big sceneries. There are many people who don’t know this kind of dance and I would like to help them discover it and enjoy it.
I want the secret of our salsa to be known, because that genre, which is also cultivated in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia... embraces the guaguancó, for example. There are many people, who dance it, without knowing what they are listening to, and I have devoted myself to defend it all the time. There are some who criticize me saying I don’t dance salsa, I accept the criticism, but I dance my rumba and afro steps wherever I want.
I was born in Plaza de la Revolución municipality, next to the University of Havana. When I was nine years old, my family moved to Old Havana, near the Bodeguita del Medio. There, in the Solar de la Cueva del Humo, where all the rumberos (rumba dancers) used to gather, I met personalities like Juan de Dios, Chavalonga, The Gentleman of Rumba; Miguel Ángel Fariñas and Luis Chacón, from whom I learned the rumba which began to be part of my daily life. Without knowing it, my mother’s decision to move to Old Havana gave me the opportunity to get where I am today and represent my country and my culture.
There are three significant moments in my career. First my role in the film Street Dance 2, which boosted my career and gave me the possibility to be known; the big screen has a lot of power.
The second was Al final de la vida videoclip, with the master Alexander Abreu. Many people said to me: “You are Alexander’s dancer”, and I only took part in one of his videos, but that production traveled a lot in the field of salsa, at congresses, in nightclubs..., and in Cuba it won the Lucas award in the category of choreography video (2012).
Working in that video really promoted my work inside the country; many people didn’t know me since most of the times I have worked abroad. Then people began to know what I do and the connection with artists as important as Alexander Abreu, Maykel Blanco and others.
The third moment has to do with the show Dancing With The Stars; being on Rai, Italy’s most impor-
tant channel scheduled as the first programme during prime time -known as Prima serata. Plus to top this off, being the only black person on Italian television, has been of paramount importance for my career.
I strongly advocate for the son, although I am not one of the main exponents of this discipline. Due to my age and my beginnings in the dancing world, I lack the knowledge of the great casineros (dancers of casino, a couple dance characterized by stimulating creativity from freedom of movement) and of the great soneros (son dancers); I am a more up-to-date person, but I continuously strive to raise the Cuban flag very high, and when it comes to teaching, in my classes I always state that salsa comes from the son.
Cuban music is pretty colorful; this was not known until a few years ago and, currently this knowledge gives Cuban contributions the opportunity to be re-
cognized at the international level. Salsa is not going to change its name, it has a lot of strength, but I believe that its origin is now evident.
Music is one of my passions and, like every dan-cer; I think of it as a way to remain on stage once I no longer be capable of dancing. One would like to keep on playing a maraca, a clave, doing a chorus, enjoying, being part of it... Making music is one of my dreams, although I collaborated with Maykel Blanco on a song a few years ago, apart from other projects that have been talked about and that may be on the horizon.
I hope the pandemic ends so the market opens up and many events that have been put on hold can take place. I would like to do a show with the Muñequitos de Matanzas at the theater level, but that depends on how everything related to the virus develops, which doesn’t even go away even through witchery.
I miss my homeland very much. When I’m in Italy, my mind is here. I try to be connected no matter what, to stick to my traditions and defend them to the utmost; that´s why I have always liked to have some work in Cuba, not to lose the Cuban identity that represents us and makes us shine worldwide, I absolutely need to come to my homeland and receive my dose of Cuban identity which I advise my colleagues not to lose.