Alicia Alonso, legendary ballet dancer and co-founder of the National Ballet of Cuba, was the first dancer of the Western Hemisphere to perform in the Soviet Union, and the first American representative to dance with the Bolshoi and Kirov Theaters of Moscow and Leningrad. I know I have left very valuable books, but not because I wrote them, but for the greatness it carries what I have gathered. Ballet in Cuba really took off after iconic ballerina Alicia Alonso set up the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1948, now one of the most prominent dance companies in the world. Cuban ballet has been at the pinnacle of international dance for decades, and Cuba continues to produce some of ballet’s best dancers. Photo by Kiran West. First, I have to tell you that it has been a great honor, because I studied history, and I had my first contact with the National Ballet of Cuba precisely in the year of its twentieth anniversary, in year 1968. The following year, the National School of Ballet is created, like part of the National School of Art. The history of the National Ballet of Cuba is written black on white especially thanks to your work. I have been the chronicler.". The University Press of Florida accepted the writer’s proposal as a tribute to the man who spent his high school years in Mobile, Alabama, and joined the American Ballet Theatre—the leading American classic ballet … As founder and director of the National Ballet of Cuba, Alonso personified the island’s arts program under Fidel Castro’s communist rule and she kept vise-like control over the troupe past her 90th birthday despite being nearly blind for decades. The Ballet of Camagüey, under the direction of Fernando Alonso, was established in 1971, and a second Havana company was founded in the mid-1980s. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, and one that was nearly unheard of for an American dancer. But they also gave me the task of working in the magazine, in the radio show, of delivering lectures, of giving courses at the National School of Art, in the University… All in all to do what I consider is the most beautiful part in my life: this work of making ballet more popular that has led me from Maisí to Mantua. Havana VIP is the leader in English-language concierge-style custom independent Cuba travel for clients from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Prior to the … In Memoriam; Svetlana Lunkina. "But when you ask me the question, I remember a recent interview to doctor Olga Portuondo, when she said that her appointing as historian had not been official, there is no ordinance that declared her historian of Santiago de Cuba, but it was rather by her own right. "I worked doing the records, ordering. I didn't just do that in the company. A conversation with doctor Miguel Cabrera, historian of the National Ballet of Cuba, about his close relationship with a group where he has worked more than half of his life… If there’s anyone in doubt, or needs any data on the ballet in Cuba, there is a person who can be of great help: historian Miguel Cabrera. She is responsible for the development of Cuban ballet under Fidel Castro, who afforded her considerable funding and patronage. “Can somebody say that Alberto Alonso, the director of the Ballet School of Pro Art, since 1941 until 1961 who has been teacher in the musical theater who trained Josefina Méndez and Loipa Araújo, was not also a great teacher? The Ballet of Camagüey, under the direction of Fernando Alonso, was established in 1971, and a… I saw the jewels become acclaimed figures. Photo by Karolina Kuras. Photo by Karolina Kuras. Famous for being an open and accessible man, prove of this is the I have received several distinctions in Cuba and abroad, but for me that detail of seeing my name in the show in the early 70’s (and still on air) it’s something that honors me". Do you imagine the honor that such personalities believe in you? Famous for being an open and accessible man, prove of this is the affability he showed when he receives us and answers our questions. So since that generation, I have seen them all enter. Amiga fiel: perra espera a su dueño frente a un hospital en Turquía pic.twitter.com/gGLRPS9xPW, — Reuters Latam (@ReutersLatam) January 25, 2021, A BALLET, A NATION: The National Ballet was Created by the Cuban People. "When I published a more recent book, named Ballet in Cuba. Something similar happened to me. / Kevin A. Ormsby and Jera Wolfe / Spencer Hack in Lake Maligne. I have seen entire generations of dancers grow. They were created by the Cuban people". Hence, my name appeared for the first time, as historian. The following year, the National School of Ballet was creat… Which has been the contribution of the three founders of this company to the Cuban culture? Timeline of the history of Havana, Cuba. As the name indicates, Don Quixote is inspired by an episode of the famous novel "Don Quixote de la Mancha" by Miguel Cervantes published in 1605 (Part I) and 1615 (Part II). In addition to serving as its director, she continued to dance, though tensions between Cuba and the United States prevented her from performing in the latter country for a number of years. The Ballet Nacional de Cuba was founded in 1948 by Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso, who also headed the National School of Ballet Alicia Alonso (founded 1950). And I have written those books from inside, I am a member of this company. In 1961, state-sponsored education began with the creation of the Alejo CarpentierProvincial School of Ballet (Escuela Nacional de Ballet Alejo Carpentier). With great passion, with almost a sickening passion for justness, to write down history as it was, without alterations. When you are set to the task of pioneering, it’s something very big. In 1955 it changed its name to Ballet of Cuba and after 1959 it was called The National Ballet of Cuba. If there’s anyone in doubt, or needs any data on the ballet in Cuba, there is a person who can be of great help: historian Miguel Cabrera. Cuba has a large number of foreigners from Russia who have settled in Havana and have introduced the art or classical ballet to this country. Fernando was also a dancer, and a person who passed on his experiences. Two years later in 1950, the Alicia Alonso Academy of Ballet school was established to promote the talents of young Cuban dancers. I saw that generation that began in 1968, in the summer. I gave my first lecture on September 25th, 1968 here. I am a very lucky person. In 1993, José Manuel joined the American Ballet Theater, remaining with that company for around eighteen years while also being able to dance with other important companies such as the English National Ballet, the Royal Ballet of London, the Ballet of Tokyo, the Mariinsky, the La Scala Theater of Milan, the Colón Theater of Argentina and Danza Contemporánea de Cuba. The hard part is publishing a book in Cuba that acknowledges the role of the man who was the brains of the Cuban School of Ballet and the National Ballet in its prime. The former music and dance critic for The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle was also a professor of philosophy at Miami-Dade College. What has it implied for you that responsibility? I struggle a lot, as outcome of my investigations, to bring together their roles in the history. Now in her late 90s, Alonso is the grand old dame of Cuban ballet. Admired for their beautiful footwork, strong dancers, and impeccable technique, the company has embraced a tradition of romantic and classical excellence since Alicia Alonso, Fernando Alonso, and Alberto Alonso (the first professional dancer in Cuba) founded … Historical notes, a person who right now occupies an important position in this country, phoned me, and said: that book is one of the prettiest gifts I have ever had, only you could have written it, because it has everything with everyone. United States: Banana republic or the United Fruit Company? “The appointing as historian could not be more honorable if the founder of the company, the key figure has decided so. It was founded on October 28, 1948 and was named as its first ballerina Alicia Alonso. I gave my first lecture on September 25, Cuba's Soberana 02 Vaccine Starts Phase II of Clinical Trials. Well, many historians are very good, they are devoted to study the sugar industry, but have never walked into a sugar cane factory. The company was founded by Alicia Alonso, her husband Fernando and Fernando's brother Alberto on October 28, 1948 as Ballet Alicia Alonso. I have seen those choreographers grow, those dancers. Call us M-F 10a - 6p Eastern | +1-914-999-CUBA Alonso is Cuba’s most famous ballerina and has been director of the Cuban National Ballet since its formation in 1948. By 1980, the National Ballet of Cuba had become a world class ballet company, and the guest appearance of Vladimir Vasiliev, one of the greatest danseurs to ever come out of Russia, was, in part, a celebration of this success, injecting great emotion into the occasion. Cuba's national ballet has reported that … Cuba for Lovers of Dance – Ballet Nacional de Cuba Schedule Posted in April 9, 2016 Update: click here for the National Ballet of Cuba 2018 performance schedule. Dance is in the DNA of the Cuban people. The Cuban National Folklore Ballet was founded at the beginning of 1962. "That makes a foundation, which is a starting point. I know I have left very valuable books, but not because I wrote them, but for the greatness it carries what I have gathered. From its beginnings it intended to contribute to the rescue and rehabilitation of the roots of Cuban dance and music. And she replied: Alicia said to put it this way. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images Founded by the Cuban prima ballerina assoluta , Alicia Alonso in 1948, it has become recognised as one of the world's leading ballet … She subsequently pursued a career as a teacher, and many of her students have won international fame, among them Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta. I have always been presented like that: our historian. This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. A conversation with doctor Miguel Cabrera, historian of the National Ballet of Cuba, about his close relationship with a group where he has worked more than half of his life…. I have always believed something I repeat to myself many times, I said it when my book National Ballet of Cuba was premiered. Unusually, considering the grand culture of the Cuban capital, the National Theatre of Havana is a reasonably recent construction having been built in 1979. On year 1969 we created the radio show Ballet and in 1970, the magazine Cuba in Ballet. …Cuba’s foremost artistic figures is Alicia Alonso—a dancer of international acclaim, the prima ballerina and founder (1948) of the company that would become the National Ballet of Cuba, and the head of its school. Professionals from the Cuban National Ballet, the Superior Institute of Art and the Elementary School of Ballet divided into 35 teams to select the … What has meant for you to be the historian of the National Ballet of Cuba for so long? I thought I had seen it all, until I started taking classes at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba’s Catedra de Danza. What does it make me a unique historian? But it was a multiple task. It was a superb job, because everything was starting fresh. National Ballet of Cuba. Tickets for the best seats at the best performances of the Cuban National Ballet. First, I have to tell you that it has been a great honor, because I studied history, and I had my first contact with the National Ballet of Cuba precisely in the year of its twentieth anniversary, in year 1968. It was like changing into a living thing, in something useful everything that had been kept in the files of Alicia Alonso, a patrimony zealously kept by a woman with huge influence in this history, named Angela Grau. Notes on the history of the National Ballet of Cuba. In 1961 the state education of this specialty in Cuba begins, with the creation of the Alejo Carpentier Provincial School of Ballet (Escuela Nacional de Ballet Alejo Carpentier). Taking ballet classes makes people touching you on your chest and ass more commonplace than at a high school prom and you learn to be unfazed by pretty much anything. That they turn everything you have inside? The Cuban National Folklore Ballet and its history. First I began logically with Alicia's work. But when I look at the Ballet of Cuba, I see its dancers, I see Alicia's career, that of Alberto, Fernando, and the four jewels, the three graces, the choreographers, when I see I was able to capture all that in books, I think that is a source. The Cuban-born author of several books including Cuban Ballet, with forewords by Alicia Alonso and Mikhail Baryshnikov, Octavio Roca is widely regarded as the foremost authority on Cuban ballet. I have seen those choreographers grow, those dancers. In this May 17, 1953 file photo, Cuban ballet dancer Alicia Alonso is shown in London, England. I faced a beautiful work, as are all the foundation works, I had to organize and establish the repertoire of the company, Alicia's career everything, and the career of the main figures of the company: like Fernando, Alberto, also the four jewels of Cuban ballet. My task has been to be next to that. Well, many historians are very good, they are devoted to study the sugar industry, but have never walked into a sugar cane factory. What can we say about Alicia? Ballet is held in high regard in Cuba and this is reflected via the high standard of dancers which the country has produced in recent years. / Jordana Daumec, Naoya Ebe, Jenna Savella and Siphesihle November. All rights reserved. The National Ballet mourns the passing of a dear friend. Travel to Cuba for the 27th International Ballet Festival of Havana Alicia Alonso in October 2022. This article incorporates information from the Spanish Wikipedia. For three nights (February 16-18), Vancouver was lucky to host National Ballet of Cuba's performance of Don Quixote after the original by Marius Petipa (version of Alexander Gorsky). National Ballet of Cuba (BNC) dancers are known around the world for their exuberant flair and uniquely Cuban style. On year 1969 we created the radio show, "When I published a more recent book, named, "Immodesty is really bad, like fake modesty. Of course, the classroom was filled mainly by Fernando, but one is not only a teacher when giving a chronology or a class, but when one sets the example. Since then I started a systematic work with the company. It provides a good model of how a western European tradition is taken up and reinterpreted to suit national and…, …company that would become the National Ballet of Cuba, and the head of its school. UNESCO…. Both of these schools were annexed to the professional ballet company by 1956. The school dates back to the Ballet School of the Sociedad Pro-Arte Musical de La Habana, founded in 1931, where the prima ballerina assoluta, Alicia Alonso her former husband Fernando Alonso and his brother Alberto received their earliest ballet classes. "And Alicia? Legal Cuba travel for Americans. I saw that generation that began in 1968, in the summer. Within Cuba, the ‘Cuban National Ballet’ group have gained international acclaim and have performed in a number of countries including the Unites States, UK and across the Americas. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, https://www.britannica.com/topic/National-Ballet-of-Cuba. Talking to Enrique Ubieta: The essence of the “Henry Reeve” Medical Brigade, Foreign Ministry issues declaration on the inclusion of Cuba on State Department’s list of States sponsors of terrorism, In Cuba, 100 % of maternity benefits were increased by salary, United States: New breakdown of the Republican Party, The CTC asks Cuban workers to support the implementation of Monetary Reform, Embedded video for Woman's severe reaction to Pfizer COVID vaccine prompts investigation. Its not an expensive ticket, and it you enjoy your classical ballet you will not be disappointed with the National Cuban Ballet. As you would expect though, the history and culture of the city is reflected by the decor inside the building, where many works by Cuban artists can be found on many of the walls. He knew a lot about kinesiology and muscles, but he knew it mainly because he had felt it in his flesh and blood. Besides classical ballet, there is the Modern Dance Company in Havana,…, …Ballet Nacional de Cuba (National Ballet of Cuba). Welcome to Authentic Cuba Travel® (authenticubatours.com) 2022 Havana Ballet Festival Cuba Tour! It provides a good model of how a western European tradition is taken up and reinterpreted to suit national and… Fernando Alonso grew up in Cuba and married the great Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso (née Martínez). "I inherited something from a beloved old friend whose name is almost forgotten he is José Antonio González. I graduated from history, but when I came here my true university began, from Alicia's hand, Fernando and Alberto. One of those days, when listening to those polemics of people who love gossip (I have always been in the party of those who unite), Fernando said: do you know who made the National Ballet of Cuba and the Cuban School of Ballet? My task has been to be next to that. Half century of glory, in 1998: I belong to a very prestigious company, next to people who have been supreme, and I have always thought that the shows are made, the glory nights pass by, the applauses fade into silence, flowers wither, but that fact must stay. The Ballet Nacional de Cuba was founded in 1948 by Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso, who also headed the National School of Ballet Alicia Alonso (founded 1950). That has always been my concern: everything with everyone. Miguel Cabrera, an official at the National Ballet of Cuba founded by Alonso, said she died at a hospital in Havana. "I believe that the most beautiful thing about this I heard it from Fernando Alonso. Ballet Nacional de Cuba (Cuba's National Ballet) directed by Alicia Alonso. "Immodesty is really bad, like fake modesty. As founder and director of the National Ballet of Cuba, Alonso personified the island's arts program under Fidel Castro's communist rule and she kept vise … So, let us take a look at the school at National Ballet of Cuba… Just because it is an important moment in dance diaspora, doesn’t mean that it is a good school… Ironically, if we are talking about dance diaspora, we should really look at Russian Immigration changing the world’s perception of ballet through the various wars, and conflicts. Copyright 2020 CubaSí. My most important status. It is not true (only someone who doesn’t know history would say) that Alicia is just the great dancer that Fernando is only the great teacher, that Alberto is only the great choreographer… that is a limitation on the greatness of them three. The exceptional thing about the National Ballet of Cuba (NBC), in all its splendor, is its anniversary this 2013 of merely 65 years of creation, corroborating a prophetic assessment in El Mundo daily in 1948, by theater and film critic José M. Valdés Rodríguez (1896-1971), "The Alicia Alonso Ballet will come to be a first rate dance company. Imagine that those people give you the technical, aesthetic and ethical reasons that have ballet in Cuba…. There was a person working in Propaganda, that person was in charge of writing the shows; one day she stepped into my office and told me: “I have a surprise for you, and put me on a show, and in the show I was presented as: Miguel Cabrera, historian. In 1995 Alonso gave her last public performance. And Alicia did that and even more, she did it when she made corrections to the other dancers, when she offered lessons on style…. "Alicia, Fernando and Alberto are the foundations of ballet in Cuba. After an exchange between her home ballet school in Chicago and the Cuban National Ballet School in Havana, she'd been invited to train in Cuba full-time. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Vintage Cuban postage stamp collection. A founding dancer of the National Ballet of Cuba (1959), Maestra De Saa became one of the company’s most promising dancers before an injury led to her retirement in 1966. I asked: What about this? Despite only being founded in 1948, the Cuban National Ballet is now regarded a… And I have written those books from inside, I am a member of this company. I had to do a very diverse work, but basically were the things related to the history. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. He left me the foundations. Since then I started a systematic work with the company. Fernando Alonso The Father of Cuban Ballet is a fascinating book about the man who co-founded the first professional ballet company in Cuba and developed a pedagogy which has created star dancers for companies all over the world. That has been my modest work. The Cuban National Ballet (Spanish: Ballet Nacional de Cuba) is a classical ballet company based at the Great Theatre of Havana in Havana, Cuba. I took advantage of them. What does it make me a unique historian? Always believed something I repeat to myself many times, I am a member this! Of Ballet ( Escuela Nacional de Cuba ’ s most famous ballerina has... London, England the united Fruit company almost forgotten he is José Antonio González, from Alicia 's,! Written black on white especially thanks to your inbox, from Alicia 's hand, Fernando and Alberto are foundations... Cuban people the honor that such personalities believe in you ( Cuba 's Soberana 02 Vaccine Starts II! 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