Tag Archives: Cuba

Secundaria ~ A Beautiful Film About Cuban Ballet and Ballerinas

Secundaria the film

Several weekends ago I had the great joy to attend my friend Lyda’s premier of her most recently completed project, Secundari, a film she co-produced with the film’s creator, director, camerawoman, and editor, Mary Jane Doherty. You may recall the GMG post about Lyda’s documentary Love and Other Anxieties, which played at the Cape Ann Community Cinema this past summer, for which Mary Jane was the cinematographer.

The film’s website provides a convenient synopsis, without revealing the extraordinarily dramatic turn of events captured by Mary Jane ~

“Secundaria quietly follows one high school class on its journey through Cuba’s world famous National Ballet School.  Our teenage dancers love to dance but many of them must dance as their sole way out of poverty and the constraints – visible, and not so visible – that is life in Cuba.

At least, that’s how the movie begins. In their third year, shy and inscrutable Mayara, the class star, takes charge of her destiny by committing an unprecedented act of willfulness.

Cinematic storytelling without a script, staging, or interviews, our gentle stream of a story turns out to have a waterfall hidden around that last bend…”

I, as well as the unknown-to-me women sitting to the left and to the right of me, were all sobbing as the story unfolded–crying tears of  joy and of sorrow. I am hoping Rob will bring this beautifully filmed and heart-felt story to the Cape Ann Community Cinema.

Mary Jane Doherty Secundaria Somerville theatre

Mary Jane and her son Dillon at the Somerville Theatre

Rosebud Diner Somerville ©Kim Smith 2013

Secundaria premiered to a packed house at the Somerville Theatre as part of the Independent Film Festival Boston. We then headed over to the Rosebud Dinner in Davis Square for a super fun after-party.  I loved meeting Mary Jane and was able to speak with her briefly about Secundaria. She didn’t have any part in the dramatic turn of events that took place during the making of the film, and was as shocked by the events as is the first-time viewer. The music for the film, scored by Berklee student Luis Delias, is gorgeous and captures the essence of the Cuban dancer’s lives and loves.

Luis Delias Mary Jane Doherty SecundariaLuis Delias and Mary Jane Doherty

Mary Jane Doherty is the Associate Professor of Film at Boston University. She developed B.U’s Narrative Documentary Program, an approach to non-fiction storytelling that utilizes the building blocks of fiction film.
Mary Jane Doherty Filmmaker location1

Mary Jane on location in Cuba