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  • 10 / 25 / 2006

20th International Ballet Festival
By Martha María Sánchez

20th edition of Havanas International Ballet Festival joins renowned figures of the world and to this small Caribbean island, the event comes to be the Dance Olympics running from October 28 through Nov 6 that will welcome among many other celebrities Carla Fracci and Julio Bocca.

This biannual cultural gathering also bring the regular dancers body pains, hysterias and too much pressure during rehearsals, not to speak of the show time moment of facing challenges and many surprises of all sort.

But unavoidably as time passes bye there will soon come the 20th Ballet Festival edition, which has not stopped from moving on since its inauguration in 1960. To Cubans the great challenge event seen as a Dance Olympics (Oct. 28 - Nov 6) is in fact quite a party!.

"Ive seen marathon running from one theatre hall to the other - says top dancer Joel Carreño. Its the 10-day-ballet rush for both dancers and the public. As for me what I like most is the possibility to rob elbows with international figures, watching them dancing and being able to exchange with them all and learn from other companies, thats amazing!".

The Festivals best credit is the coming-together of personalities of the five continents under a common language; dance. More than 50 nations answered to Havanas call. Over 200 choreographies will premier staged by Alvin Ailey, Karole Armitage, James Kelly, Suki John and Yurico among many others like French Maurice Béjart and Roland Petit together with Argentinean Rodolfo Lastra and Ana María Stekelman, Spanish María Rovira and Nacho Duato, Chilean Hilda Riveros and Italian Luca Veggetti.

For each edition brings novelties you should not miss. This year, the participation of Julio Bocca is current craze since he said hell dance The Swam Lake for the last time, a sort of farewell to dancing announced for the coming year 2007. Italian diva Carla Fracci will dance Desnuda luz del amor: BNC director Alicia Alonso's choreography. Also classical and modern works by Mats Ek, Brian McDonald, George Balanchine, José Limón, Jerome Robbins, Mikhail Fokine, James Kelly, Jean Grand Maitre and Ana María Stekelman are scheduled.

Topping the list of international dancers are also Maximiliano Guerra, Alicia Amatriain, Joaquín de Luz, Leticia Giuliani, José Martínez, Simona Noja, Agnes Letestu, Ana Laguna and Mats Ek, while José Manuel and Joel Carreño, Carlos Acosta, Viengsay Valdés, Anette Delgado, Romel Frómeta, Hayna Gutiérrez, Víctor Gilí, Bárbara García, Sadaise Arencibia and Miguel Ángel Blanco backed by soloist dancers and the BNC corp de ballet will be present.

"Dance, I think, is the dancers major incentive, much more in the case of a young dancer. Young people are always anxious of dancing. As for me Im thirsty of going onstage to dance over and over again. And I think its important we are given the opportunity to go out on stage ", says Yolanda Correa, now ranked one step away from becoming one more BNC's notable figure. On the other hand, Hayna Gutiérrez, who does hold that title believes " the public makes the dancer, apart from effort and constant work ingredients.

At full speed

Long-held wishes of dancing! BNC has long been resting following its latest tour of Brazil, then Cuba and then London, Egypt and Spain. On its return this month, rehearsals will soon get started for lots of emotions and work are part of its existence.

" Cuban dancers are never satisfied with only two dazzling turns for they love taking their chances showing virtuosism - commented Maina Gielgud, Houston Ballets affiliate director in the last festival, to whom performing is not a problem at all because its part of the dancers routine, hence risk, danger and competition are not scary ".

At Havanas ballet venue choreographers James Kelly, Jean Grand Maitre, Gonzalo Galguera, Eduardo Blanco and George Céspedes began mounting their works for juvenile graduates; the most recent dancer generation!!!

Festivals are necessary artistic spaces that largely encourage choreographic creation, so depressed in Cuba lately. The call for the Ibero-American Contest of Choreography since 1998, whose awarded piece has the right to debut in the early days of the event, enables to increase Cuban ballets reputable repertoire. This year Spanish Gregorio Montero Morell won the contest, therefore his ballet El día de la creación with mssic by Joaquín Sabina and Vinicius de Moraes will world premier on October 29.


While Latin-American dancers continue harvesting successes in international scenarios, the discipline increasingly receives snubs in most of the regional countries. " In Brazil many talents are lost because they dont have the chance to come to school", explained Leticia Oliveira, leader of Houston Ballet. Julio Bocca himself denounces in every interview he gives the terrible situation Argentina undergoes facing talents that emigrate to foreign companies, if they really can, while others definitely give up dancing. Tamara Rojo, also an untiring "defendant " of developing dance and ballet and a notable critic in Spain says the situation of classic ballet is " shameful". Cuba is not an exception in this regard for not few dancers have emigrated although its not a blemish on Cubas Ballet Company and Schools reputations largely recognized worldwide.

Source: CubaSi

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