“I Would Like To…Dance a Complete Ballet in Cuba...”
- Submitted by: lena campos
- 10 / 27 / 2012
Cuban Ballet continues obtaining triumphs in the world: Xiomara Reyes represents us in New York.
This artist, born and trained on the Island, tells us in this exclusive interview with Cubanow about many of her international achievements. She also shares her most intense nostalgias of her 20 years away from her country:
A Cuban who has succeeded in becoming a ballerina of the American Ballet Theatre of New York... What do you feel when you hear this commentary?
How many years have you been away from Cuba?
You graduated on the Island from the Cuban Ballet School...
I graduated in 1990 as part of a group of pupils of Loipa Araujo, one of the jewels of Cuban ballet.
But there were other important international experiences before you became a renowned ballet figure in the United States...
I was dancing with the Royal Ballet of Flanders before coming to the United States. There I had the opportunity of expanding my repertoire, both classical and modern, and of experiencing another culture not only from the point of view of ballet but of life in general. Every experience of this kind enriches you doubly, as a person and as an artist. The fact that I had the opportunity of dancing in other countries and becoming acquainted with other cultures, of exchanging with other artists, sharing experiences with them, has enabled me to realize how similar we human beings are, no matter where we come from.
After you graduated, what were your first professional appearances in Cuba?
Once graduated, my first appearances were with the Cuban National Ballet, as I became part of its corps de ballet where I had the luck to become familiar with a large part of the classical and contemporary repertoires, of participating in performances with dancers I had admired all my life. At the same time, and already for several years, I had belonged to the Joven Guardia de Cuba (Young Guard of Cuba), directed by Laura Alonso. The Centro Pro-Danza was an institution that greatly helped that entire generation of young dancers to face important roles, which has been of immense value for the rest of my career.
Your most intense memories of the Island...
All my years of study with so many exceptional persons. My passion for dance, the sun, the sea. And now my return to Cuba two years ago, the warmth of the people, their pride for what I have achieved. The opportunity to share that success with the Cuban public. The reaction of my colleagues of the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), not just to the beauty of Cuba but also their respect for the Cuban public, which is very knowledgeable about ballet. My nieces, who were small girls when I left and who are now beautiful, talented women. My sister, who has done a great job with them.
How did you enter the company which has the highest recognition in the world of ballet?
By plane... (Laughs) The truth is that I have been one of the few persons who have joined the ABT thanks to a video film. They needed a soloist and I had sent my video; they liked it and invited me to work for a month. At the end of the month I danced in Miami with them, and it was then that they proposed to me to officially become part of the American Ballet.
What did coming back to Cuba after so many years to dance in a Ballet Festival mean to you?
Incredible! The nerves, the madness, and that ending with a bouquet of flowers in my arms, feeling so much love in each cell of your body for that public who saw your first steps on stage and now shares with you the return. It is incredible the thankfulness you feel at that moment, and I know it is something I will never forget.
If you were to mention names of figures of dance in Cuba who have left a positive trace in your education and career, who would you think of?
Of course Alicia, Fernando and Alberto Alonso; their names are evident, because without them we would not have had the Cuban Ballet School.
Laura Alonso, who always inspired me with her passion for dance since I was small.
Loipa Araujo, with whom we had the incredible luck of graduating, and who stressed to us that a dancer without general culture is a limited person. Ofelia González, who with her dancing and acting inspired me to dream of those roles I saw her interpreting; Silvia Rodríguez, Gloria Marín, Karemia Moreno... the truth is that it is unfair to mention some and not others, because there were many people who, in one way or another, planted their small seed in my soul as a young dancer.
Would you like to dance again in Cuba?
There are no words to try to explain the mixture of emotions that returning to the Island to dance again causes in me. The nerves, the joy... And I would go on repeating these words ‘till the end of the page. I would like to have the possibility of dancing a complete ballet in Cuba; that is where I always feel I have the best possibility of showing the artist I am now, and – to be honest – that is also what I most enjoy.