The 20th International Ballet Festival comes to an end
During the past 10 days, this cultural event has crowded the Havana theaters, accompanied by a loyal audience that, in spite of the humid and rainy November, has attended the Festival.
Agnes Letestu and Jose Martinez, from the Paris Opera House performed at the Havana's Garcia Lorca Grand Theater: Non, je ne regrette rien, a creation of Ivan Ferrier, with music of the French singer Edith Piaff.
Letestu, according to the critics, possesses a certain alchemy that makes her mix with the character she performs. Martinez, on the other hand, stands out by his technical precision, and a physique that could play a classical or a modern dancing.
Both made a duet aimed at satisfying an audience accustomed to receive the best at each Ballet Festival, carefully organized by the Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso, who continues her artistic career now as President of the event.
The program also included the Grand pas de quatre -a traditional Ballet within the International Repertoire-, and the performance of the great Julio Bocca, that re-appeared at the stage, after 39 years of dancing, and on the verge of retiring, outstanding by 4 magnificent performances here.
"I've always been respected in Cuba" -declared Julio to the Juventud Rebelde journal. He forgot to mention -maybe, by modesty- the unanimous admiration of the Cuban people, that he reciprocates now with generosity.
Patrick de Bana performed with Ana Badia while Ana Laguna danced the music of O Sole Mio, sung by Luciano Pavarotti. Ana danced with Rudolf Nereyev La Senorita Julia, when he traveled to Sweeden in 1981.
As regards to Jose Manuel Carreño -a genuine follower of the method and style of the Cuban Ballet School founded by Alicia, Fernando and Alberto Alonso, and Main Dancer at the American Ballet Theater- performed a solo (Ave Maria), an exceptional piece according to the critics.
Considered one of the most prestigious dancers of the world, Carreño comes from a family Ballet dancers, that started with his uncles Lazaro and Alvaro and then continued with him and the young Joel.
Either Jose Manuel or Carlos Acosta -another figure from the Cuban National Ballet, a guest at the London Royal Ballet- traveled frequently to the Island to interact with the Cuban people and get near to their roots: a vital feedback for these two figures so closed to their origins.
As Alicia Alonso promised, the Festival had a debut each night, to which she contributed with three choreographies: Desnuda luz de amor, specially conceived for the Italian Carla Fracci; Cuadros de una exposicion and Mozart divertimento.
The Ballet Festival, that was extended this year to the central provinces of Matanzas and Cienfuegos, welcomed dancers and Ballet companies from 23 countries, among these the Russians Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova, and the Flemish Ballet company Farriquito y Familia, that made a magnificent performance.
There were also some experimental premieres like Good Night, Mozart, created by the German choreographer and dancer Patrick de Bana, where Classical, Flemish and Arab music mix up , a mestizaje of two cultures that go hand-by-hand in spite of the long distance.
Meanwhile, the Cuban Ivan Tenorio proposed Teseo and the Minotaur, a version of the popular Greek myth, re-interpreted by its author as the triumph of civilization over barbarity.
For more than 40 years of history, the Havana's International Ballet Festival will fill another page of events and milestones, lavished with aesthetic experiences.
'Till 2004, during the 19th Festival's celebration, we boasted out of the 882 debuts, 208 of them be world records and 614 domestic ones. By that time, the Festivals used to be attended by 57 nations from the five Continents: a whole world in a small Island, a "verde caiman" -a green Cayman- of 110 922 square kilometers of surface.