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Giselle, our Giselle
We think of Giselle a ballet so much ours that we have even looked dancers with little disguise contempt, great dancers from other latitudes who have come here to dance it with all their desire and talent of the world. God forbid us from the arrogance, but it has been this way. We are so used to the grandiloquence of the phrases, we have even said that belongs to our national ballet, although the forests coldness and shadows have little or nothing to do with the sensual nature of these islands, although we havent invented those legends of ghostly maidens crawling off their tombs, resentful and cruel, to make their victims dance until they fall dead.

But Giselle has marked the history of Cuban ballet dance, from those distant days in which corseted European dancers danced to the light of footlights in Tacon Theater crowded of ladies with hand fans and gentlemen with cigars. Until today, in that same theater (with less fans, but equally crowded) when performed, with all the skill of whom knows what its danced, our National Ballet.

We have made of Giselle a presentation work. Alicia Alonso's version is beyond doubt among the best in the last century: it has been danced in Havana and the main theaters of the world, and always leaves a genuine trail of admiration and enchantment. Even the distinguished Ballet of the Opera of Paris (in France, the very cradle of the dance) gave in to its strength and ended up including it in its repertoire.

On top of all this, Alicia herself was one of the great interpreters of its main character, the fragile and cheerful villager who became a spirit because a love deceit. For many critics, the greatest Giselle in the last century. Among the legends of the American Ballet Theater, in New York, appears the night of 1943, when the young Alicia who had not gone through a few solo performances, dared to substitute no other but the unique Alicia Márkova and she danced a mesmerizing Giselle that she left silent with admiration the most reluctant. Ever since Alonso made of the character a legend. She gave it face and wings. Endowing it of a mystifying truth.

Complete promotion of first Cuban dancers she has been followed as a model, to the point, a bit extreme, that there are spectators who evaluate a premiere in the character from its more or less proximity to Alicia's performance. His scene of the madness, in the end of the first act continues to be famous. This particular scene has become that fluctuating spot where the memory acquires the consistency of myth. His adage in the second act is also famous, some say that Alicia danced it as someone who embroiders threads of fog, she herself like a fog, calmed and cold.

But beyond her spellbinding presence on stage, Alicia Alonso has given us a living Giselle; she has placed her, confident, in the hands of her students, in all her public.

The Cuban version of Giselle is patrimony of the national culture. Respecting a legacy of centuries, the deep print that cradles, for example, a slightly slanted figure, the small circles that shape her arms... Alicia always insists in the conservation of a style that in end is the conservation of a testimony. But her Giselle, our Giselle is not in any possible way a museum object. An always renewed breeze revives it, a vocation building bridges to life. Love, people, is still the driving force, no matter what people say. Beauty is still our warmest refuge. Curtains are opened and a spellbinding world wants to engulf us. Lets allow that flow to drag us in, once again. Lets enter.

Source: By: Yuris Nórido, CubaSi

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