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By Mahee Anton

The curtain will rise and the music will inevitably invade the theaters as well as the souls of those who will be there. Unique days are predicted, with highly expected performances, matchless opportunities that will make you feel almost like "touching" the stars... This is how the 20th Festival de Ballet de La Habana (Havana Ballet Festival), just about to start, will be.

Presided by the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso, the Ballet had its genesis and is considered one of the first and most prestigious of the world dance. This time, the Festival will be held from October 28 to November 6 in many Cuban cities. Thus, the audience may be able to attend performances at the Gran Teatro de La Habana (GTH), Sala García Lorca, its usual seat. The Opening and Closure Galas will be held there, as well as other performances of especial significance. Also the Teatro Nacional, at its Avellaneda Hall, will stage two classics: Giselle (October 29, 31, November 1st and 2nd) and Swan Lake (4, 5 y 6). The spacious and always dazzling Plaza de la Catedral will this time be the stage for Don Quixote (Monday 30 and Thursday 2nd), while the Teatro Mella will host the invited foreign companies. The Festival will also travel to other cities in our country: Matanzas (Sauto and Cardenas theaters), Cienfuegos (Tomás Terry) and Guira de Melena (Mirta Plá Hall).

Ten world and seven national premieres are expected to be staged this season, most of them by the Ballet Nacional de Cuba (Cuban National Ballet, BNC). Among them are three by Alicia Alonso: Mozart Divertimento (GTH, opening performance), devoted to the 250 anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Desnuda Luz del Amor (GTH, Tuesday 31), a piece specially created for the Italian ballerina Carla Fracci; and Pictures of an Exhibition (GTH, Friday 3), inspired in the Russian composer Modest Mussorgskis piano suite. Renowned Cuban painters - Zaida del Río, Ileana Mulet, Alicia Leal, Roberto Fabelo, Nelson Domínguez, Cosme Proenza, Arturo Montoto, Ángel Ramírez, William Hernández, Gólgota and Alfredo Sosabravo - contributed their work for it: Painter Ricardo Reymena was in charge of the general design of this ballet.

Other choreographers will also have world presentations in the GTH: the Cuban Ivan Tenorio (Theseus and the Minotaur, Wednesday 1st) and Eduardo Blanco (Danzas de Mozart, Wednesday 1st.) from BNC; Gonzalo Glaguera, art director and main choreographer from the Magdeburg Ballet in Germany (Johannes Brahms Second Symphony, Sunday 29), and Pedro Consuegra from the Marseille Ballet, France (Rosebud, Tuesday 31st.)

Among the foreign creators who have prepared works especially for this occasion are the Canadian Jean Grand Maître (Alone, Sunday 5) and the Americans Igal Perry and James Kelly, who will present a collective creation. For the first time Potato (29) and Memory, by Mats Ek (31); Delibes Suite, by José Martínez (3); Non, je ne regrette rien, by Iván Favier (4); and Good night...Amadeus, by Patrick de Bana (5), will be offered in Cuba, all of them in the García Lorca Theater.

This 20th Festival will be a new demonstration of the enormous prestige of the Cuban Ballet School, led since its foundation by Alicia Alonso. It will allow for the enjoyment of magnificent performances by Carla Fracci, Maximiliano Guerra, Julio Bocca, Ángel Corella, Alicia Amatriain, Joaquín de Luz, Leticia Giuliani, Simona Noja, Agnès Letestu, José Martínez, Ana Laguna, Mats Ek, who will share the stage with the Cubans José Manuel Carreño, Carlos Acosta, Viengsay Valdés, Bárbara García, Anette Delgado, Hayna Gutiérrez, Yolanda Correa, Sadaise Arencibia, Joel Carreño, Rómel Frómeta, Víctor Gilí, Miguelángel Blanco, Elier Bourzac and Javier Torres, as well as the BNC corps de ballet.

Thus, when the curtains of the theater fall on the evening of Monday 6th, we will be able to say that the Havana Ballet Festival was an unforgettable experience that made us feel very close to the stars.



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