Great Celebration of Cuban Culture Ends in the US (+Photos)

With the last presentation of the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC), a major festival dedicated to the Caribbean nation that combines music, dance, plastic arts, design, theater, and cinema ends today in the US capital.

The classic Giselle, one of the most demanded works within the company's repertoire, will be a luxury closing for Artes de Cuba: from the island to the world, the event inaugurated last May 8 at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, where some 400 artists from the island and other countries came together.

Dancers Viengsay Valdés and Dani Hernández will incarnate this afternoon the leading roles of the pinnacle of Romanticism, which already had four functions since last Thursday with other figures of the company such as Grettel Morejón, Sadaise Arencibia, Patricio Revé, Raúl Abreu, and Rafael Quenedit.

In addition to playing the main roles in this last day, Valdés and Hernández interpreted the central characters last Tuesday, when the BNC began its presentations at the event dedicated to the Caribbean country with the work Don Quixote, which was also staged on Wednesday.

The Opera House of the cultural institution is the space that has hosted each of these staging, which had the special incentive for those present to have the presence of the Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso, director of the BNC and one of the most eminent dance figures worldwide.

Together with this company, which in its different functions has won great cheers from the capital's public, Artes de Cuba had previous days with the presence of two other dance groups: Malpaso, with its contemporary style; and Irene Rodríguez centered on flamenco dancing.

Likewise, the music had a great presence, with proposals ranging from classical works to jazz and popular dance, with the Lyceum Mozartiano from Havana, Yissy and Bandancha, the group Los Van Van, the López-Nussa Family and the Miguel Faílde Orchestra, among others.

The plastic arts also had a great impact, with exhibitions by some of the most prominent creators of the island, including Manuel Mendive, Roberto Fabelo, and Roberto Diago; and talented figures who reside in the North American territory, such as José Parlá and Emilio Pérez.

The group El Público, with Las amargas lágrimas de Petra Von Kant (The bitter tears of Petra Von Kant), and Argos Teatro, which proposed the play 10 millones (10 million), were the exponents of that branch of performing arts at the event, which according to the organizers, more than a festival, constituted a celebration of Cuban culture.

An exhibition on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, the parade of the Art and Fashion project, and an exhibition of posters were also included among the numerous activities of the event.

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Cuban Art Festival Ends in US

Washington, May 20 ( Prensa Latina) The Cuban Art Festival: from the island to the world, will end today in the U.S. capital after two weeks dedicated to show music, dance, theater, plastic arts as well as cinema from the Caribbean country, among other expressions.

The event, which began last May 8 and has had a variety of activities every day since then, will be resumed from May 29 to June 3 when the Cuban National Ballet arrives in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, home of the great event that has brought together some 400 artists.

For today the program includes the second and final presentation of the play Ten Millions by the group Argos Teatro (Argos Theater), a piece written by the director of the company, Carlos Celdrán.

This autobiographical piece describes Celdrán's experience as a Cuban child and adolescent, browses through his relationship with his parents, his links with history and the tumultuous events that shaped his life, said at the Kennedy Center on the proposal which has as stage the Family Theater.

This show, which was awarded by the critics of his country, features performances by Caleb Casas, Daniel Romero, Maridelmis Marín and Waldo Franco, and before arriving in the U.S. capital had already been presented in Florida and New York.

The play received a standing ovation, a great reception, the room was full, we have to see what will happen on Sunday with the show, but it has been an incredible experience to pass the language barrier and reach the people, said Celdrán to Prensa Latina after the performance last night.

On this day there will also be more music, a manifestation that has been the great protagonist of Artes de Cuba and today will be attended by Arturo O'Farrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble.

The Mexican-born New York-based musician has won five Grammy awards, including Best Instrumental Composition in 2016 for his Afro-Latin Jazz Suite, from the album Cuba: The Conversation Continues, which in turn was nominated for Best Jazz Album Ensemble.

Before taking part in this event dedicated to the island in Washington DC, O'Farrill, whose father was Cuban, performed last April at the íAdelante, Cuba! Festival, held in his home city, where he met several artists from the Caribbean nation.

The other activity scheduled for this Sunday will take place on the Millennium Stage with the band Tiempo Libre, whose members live in Florida, and whom the Kennedy Center describes as the modern heir to the rich musical tradition of the Caribbean territory.

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Cubans and North Americans Dance together in Washington

The performances of Cuban artists at the Arts From Cuba Festival, which is taking place at the John F. Kennedy Center, in Washington, have been received with a lot of enthusiasm and joy by the large audience that has filled its installations these days.

Cubans and North Americans dance and enjoy together to the beat of “son”, salsa, bolero and other musical genres, sung and performed by outstanding soloists and bands that have performed in the biggest show of its kind in the United States, thus confirmed Alexis Triana, communication director of the Ministry of Culture.

The journalist and cultural promoter is part of the Cuban delegation that is made up of 400 artists from different manifestations, half of them living on the island and the rest settled in other countries and takes part at the event that kicked off on May 8 and will run until next June 3.

In his report from the US capital, Triana invites to see, listen to and feel the joy, with which Cubans and North Americans have welcomed each of the artistic performances of the representatives of the island, via live images, filmed at the John F. Kennedy Center.

The audience's presence is constant, he specifies, to the extent that there’s barely any space for the press. This party reminds me the chorus of a conga from Sancti Spiritus that says “You who told me that Yayabo would not go out anymore, Yayabo is in the street / with its last detail and its unrivalled rhythm / Ah, ah, ah, Yayabo has already left.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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Cuban classical music takes the stage of the Kennedy Center

Washington, May 10 (RHC)—The Havana Lyceum Orchestra directed by the maestro José Antonio Méndez is returning Thursday night to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. to perform as part of the Cuban Art Festival.

The ensemble received a standing ovation during the opening night of the event at the Eisenhower Theater which is running from May 8 through June 6 at the prestigious center for performing arts.

Mendez told Prensa Latina news agency that tonight´s performance will include a repertoire of Cuban classical music, by composers of the twentieth century like Carlos Fariñas, Leo Brower, and Guido Lopez Gavilan

The Cuban conductor said it was an honor and privilege to represent his country in the festival that is bringing together some 400 Cuban artists, based on the island and beyond, covering the music, dance, theater, film and fine arts scenes.                                                                                                                                                        

Other performers tonight include pianist Adonis González and percussionist Mauricio Herrera, based in the American cities of Atlanta and New York, respectively.

Both will join forces in the Millennium Stage to combine the classic keys and Cuban rhythms, announced the Kennedy Center digital page.

Meanwhile, the Cuban Club will feature the presence of saxophonist and percussionist Yosvany Terry and his Afrocuban Sextet, which will combine post-bebop and ceremonial music with rhythms and chants from the island and West Africa.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
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Heading for the Kennedy Center: Reyna and Real, Cuban Hip-Hop

Followers come in waves: Reyna Hernández Sandoval and Yadira Pintado Lazcano, artistically known as La Reyna and La Real, integrate the Cuban delegation to participate in the festival Arts of Cuba.

It’s not actually easy for a woman to make her way in the world of hip-hop. But Reyna Hernández Sandoval and Yadira Pintado Lazcano, La Reyna and La Real are doing it with sheer talent.

The group is officially born in year 2013. Ever since has been winning popularity for their lyrics (of strong social content, stories on the life of many women), and for the singularity of their musical and scenic display.

In an environment where men usually prevail, La Reyna and La Real have made their mark, they are respected and admired... and their music has gone beyond the supposed "nests" of rap.

The most recent sample is their inclusion in the Cuban delegation to participate in the great season Arts of Cuba: from the island to the world which in May will have the famous John F. Kennedy Center for the Scenic Arts, in Washington, United States.

"This is so far the highest point in our career – assures La Reyna – the fact that they thought of us fills us with pride, because that means we are doing things right."

La Real agrees: "Imagine, to sing the United States the place where rap was born. That is like selling ice to an Eskimo. But we will perform a well-identified Cuban hip-hop, with all the grace of Cuban women."

On May 17th, in two shows (7:00 and 9:00 p.m.), the two singers will rap at the Cuban Club, in the gallery of Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Center.

“We will see what we do there – says Reyna -, what I can guarantee is that we are really willing to go and show what we women can do in rap."

La Real affirms that they will do their best: "Nobody doubts it: we are going strong!

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

Bound for the Kennedy Center: One Cinema, One Country

A retrospective of Cuban cinema from the last half century will be offered as part of the programme of the Art of Cuba Festival with venue at the Kennedy Center of Washington.

It’s only six movies, but somehow they summarize almost six decades of cinema in Revolution.

At the Family Theater in the Kennedy Center, located in the U.S. capital will take place a retrospective of Cuban cinema, with films that have rendered prestige to Cuba worldwide.

On Saturday May 12th will be run probably the most famous of Cuban films of all the times: Memories of Underdevelopment, directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea in year 1968.

This film joins many of the lists of best Latin Americans film creations.

Not by accident: its formal and conceptual values distinguished it since its premiere, since it was run in international theaters.

It was (It’s) an intimate chronicle of the excited first years of the Revolution that presents contradictions and doesn’t avoid common places.

Portrait Of Teresa from Pastor Vega will also be included, filmed in 1979.

It was an overwhelming assertion in a hot debate around those years: women’s full emancipation.

The movie became public phenomenon; the discussions it generates reached several places of the Cuban society.

The actress in the leading role of the film, Daisy Granados, gave a memorable performance.

The first day will close with Lucía, another classic, shot in 1968 by Humberto Solás.

Three episodes of our history are shown with the mastery singularity and aesthetic finesse of Solás.

The main topic is women, exalted as main character of our revolution. They are, in definitive, three stories of three women who became symbols.

On Sunday May 13th other more recent films will be run. Some of them have won awards in the New Latin American Film Festival, an appointment that this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Strawberry and Chocolate, of Tomás Guitérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío, shook prejudices in the early 90’s.

It was a valiant and necessary movie, a landmark in the struggle for the complete acceptance of gays in society.

It is one of the most acclaimed works of Cuban cinema at an international level.

Suite Havana, of Fernando Pérez, is a beautiful, lyrical and deep metaphor on the daily life of a country and its people.

Few times a city has been depicted with such poetry and commitment, filled of suggesting and painful contrasts.

Lastly, Conducta, directed by Ernesto Daranas, another story of our daily life; straightforward, without euphemisms that speaks of the sacrifice of a teacher in difficult times.

A song to love, to friendship, to the usefulness of virtue.

There are missing, of course, other important films in this retrospective; but the North American public will have within their reach a fair and very representative selection. Ideal to approach a country and its circumstances.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

The Failde Orchestra to the Kennedy Center: music from Cuba to the world

The Miguel Failde Typical Orchestra is one of the Cuban bands that make up the delegation that will participate at the Cuban Culture Festival in the United States.

A typical and young orchestra, under the direction of Ethiel Failde, a musician from Matanzas who carries in his blood and heart the musical wealth of this island, is travelling to the Kennedy Center in early May with a big suitcase loaded with traditional Cuban rhythms.                                                          

Why? “Of course, to share music and represent Cuba” What are you taking? “We are going to take our active repertoire, danzon, mambo, cha cha cha”. What does it mean? “A privilege”.

The reasons to feel honored with this opportunity are quite evident: “The only popular music bands that are travelling from Cuba are Los Van Van and the Failde Orchestra”. If you add that the festival kicks off with Omara Portuondo, that immense singer who also has a very special place in the soul of the Miguel Failde Typical Orchestra, then enthusiasm increases.

However, other reasons also encourage these young and talented musicians, who have updated anthological pieces, such as “Almendra”, in a renewing and fresh work, but in a constant dialogue with the roots.

“To able to participate in the inaugural gala is something very important for us and to be able to attend this political juncture between Cuba and United States, to be present at the Kennedy Center, and to represent our country with a large Cuban delegation, a big cultural embassy, is something very great”.

And the fact is that while US President Donald Trump in passing tries to undo, to separate and to break, the arts build and peoples meet through the most universal of languages, which is clearly listened to from Havana to Washington: culture.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

Preparations in full swing for Cuban Art Festival at Kennedy Center

Washington, April 6 (RHC) The John F. Kennedy for the Performing Arts in the U.S capital is looking forward to opening its doors to those who want to embrace the Cuban culture, says Gilda Almeida, director of International Programming of that prestigious institution

In an interview with Prensa Latina news agency, Almeida said that preparations for the “Artes de Cuba” Festival the center will host from May 8 through June 8 are well underway.

“It is a lot of work, but there are many people making great efforts to make sure the festival is a success, and preparations are perfect”, Almeida said.

The artistic delegation, of some 200 members, will include some of the greatest ambassadors of Cuban Culture, including popular and classic musicians, dancers, painters, sculptors and theaters companies

Omara Portuondo, Pablo Milanes, Los Van Van, and the Cuban National Ballet are expected to participate in the Festival.

The Kennedy Center official said that the event is very important for her institution.

Almeida added that the Cuban culture is extraordinary, and that several trips were made to the island to select the participants in the Festival, and she expressed confidence in the excellence of the announced program.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
  • Published in Culture
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