Alicia Alonso Willing to Strengthen Ballet in Latin America

Havana, Apr 6 (Prensa Latina) Cuban prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso said thar today it is a priority to increase the presence of the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC) in Latin American countries and show the skills of the region in ballet.

Alonso just returned from a tour across Costa Rica and El Salvador, where the BNC performed under her direction and was given the Doctor Honoris Causa degrees at the universities named after the two countries.

Presidents Luis Guillermo Solis, from Costa Rica, and Salvador Sanchez Ceren, from El Salvador, attended the BNC performances starred by Viengsay Valdes, Grettel Morejon, Sadaise Arencibia, Anette Delgado, Dani Hernandez, Rafael Quenedit, Patricio Reve and Raul Abreu, amid others.

During a press conference at the BNC headquarters in Havana, Alonso appreciated all the expressions of gratitude given to her and the BNC, which in her view moved the audience in the two countries with works like the second act of Giselle and a piece of the classic Don Quixote.

The BNC will perform at Mella Theater in Havana city next Saturday and Sunday, during La Huella de España Festival, an event chaired by Alonso.

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Alicia Alonso to Receive Honorary Degree in Costa Rica

San Jose, Mar 22 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso received here today the Doctor Honoris Causa degree from the University of Costa Rica (UCR), for her important work and legacy to the world classical dance.

The University Council of the UCR, the highest entity of that high educational center, agreed on Thursday, March 16th, to grant the honorary degree to the famous 96-year-old dancer, who danced until the age of 70. She founded and directed the Cuban National Ballet, one of the most prestigious companies in the world.

At the proposal of the Faculty of Fine Arts, the University Council stated that Alicia Alonso's contribution to Cuban and world dance has allowed us to rethink this art from its cultural importance and its influence in the construction of the Latin American identity. This has generated an extraordinary impact and unique contributions that have been widely recognized worldwide.

The famous Cuban dancer also 'boosted and inspired the Cuban Ballet School, which is characterized by a new style and a new methodology within the classical dance. Thanks to her extraordinary pedagogical work, several generations of excellent dancers have arisen'.

Alicia arrived in San Jose on Monday, March 20th, and will be here until Sunday, March 26th, along with fifty members of the Cuban company. They will perform at the 'Melico Salazar' Popular Theater in San Jose on March 25th and 26th (double show).

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Cuban Baillarina Marta Garcia Dies in Spain

Famous Cuban Baillarina Marta García, 68, died today in a hospital from lung cancer, according to sources close to the artist.

García was born on Feb.7, 1949 in Guanabacoa, Havana and her long career made her one of the main pillars of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba (BNC) company.

With less than 5 years old the Best Artist Award given by a popular TV program at that time, when she sang, acted and danced.

In 1956 she starts in the Academia de Ballet Alicia Alonso located at then called Teatro Radiocentro (today renamed Yara).

Ten years later she perfoms her first presentation in Las Amigas de Gisselle;and Danza Española and Mazurca from the El lago de los cisnes.

With thel BNC she travels the world and performed all the main roles of the great classic ballet repertoire like La fille mar gardée, Giselle and El lago de los cisnes, Don Quijote y La bayadera.

Less than two years ago she published her memoirs in Spain.

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Legendary Cuban Ballerina Alicia Alonso Turns 96

Havana, Dec 21 (Prensa Latina) The most renowned Cuban artist worldwide, Alicia Alonso, turns 96 today with the strong will to give her country a lastign legacy through the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC).

Alonso devoted her life to dance, first to form herself as a respectable ballerina, then to the creation of her own personal style, and then to perpetuate the ballet deeply within the Cuban culture.

Together with brothers Fernando and Alberto Alonso she founded the first professional ballet company in Cuba, 60 years ago, when that art was scarcely understood in Latin societies.

Despite the social, political and health situations that she suffered, the decision and courage of this woman made her persist in raising her status as a dancer.

Alonso supported the social revolution that began in Cuba in 1959, and raised above prejudices and ideologies to take her art to the people, factories, fields, forests,and any street.

Famous for her unique technique, some people still speak of the Alonso fifth, referring to a specific position of the feet, while the old lovers of ballet especially cherish the times they saw her transform into Giselle and Carmen, among other classic ballet characters.

Being 96 years old, the artist is still active as a teacher, choreographer, director of the BNC and of the Havana's International Ballet Festival, in which the most renowned dancers of the planet participate.

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Viengsay Valdés: Expanding Ballet in Cuba, a Commitment of Fidel

The first dancer from the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC), Viengsay Valdés, witnessed here the efforts of the Cuban Revolution''s historic leader, Fidel Castro, to expand the dance in his country.

Our Fidel, the leader of whom all Cubans are proud was humanist, sincere, a motivator of masses, commited to his country, the artist described in exclusive statements to Prensa Latina.

Fidel understood that for the people to reason, to be intellectual, to be willing and commited, they also need to feel, to dream, to get emotional, and that is delivered by art, delivered by the culture that makes us human, she declared.

The renowned ballet dancer remembered how in 2002 the revolutionary leader was present at the inauguration of the 18th International Festival of Ballet of Havana, an event in which she danced the pas de deux of The privateer, along with Carlos Acosta.

After that performance, Fidel decided that he wanted to see more, and the very next day, on October 29th, without prior announcement, he arrived at the National Theater with the purpose of witnessing the same pair of interpreters in the classic Don Quixote.

Always from the respect and the admiration we felt excited as artists to know about his presence and I tried to show me to the leader of Cuba who that night was a spectator, Valdés remembered.

According to the ballerina, at the end of the show she and Acosta were called to the Council of State, to Fidel's office.

Beyond the praise for our dance, we witnessed together with Ramona de Sáa, Loipa Araújo and Abel Prieto, Fidel's commitment to massifying culture in Cuba, he said.

As the artist said, the historic leader wanted to find a way to summon children from all over the country who wanted and were able to study ballet, and discussed how to go neighborhood by neighborhood, with an organized bus system to facilitate the development of their vocation.

Thousands of students entered ballet elementary school because of that experience, and to offer the people all that, it is just any leader who does it, she added.

The ballerina, who is also Vice-president of the Cuba-Laos Friendship Association toured Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in August as part of the activities of the Cuban embassies in those nations for the 90th birthday of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution.

Valdés participated in conversations about Fidel, acted in the three countries, then left for Moscow to fulfill the invitation to dance at the International Festival of Classic Ballet of the Kremlin, in Russia, and returned to this capital with the aim of preparing the Festival of Havana, which was recently concluded.

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Cuba Participates in Int'l Ballet Festival of Cali

Leading dancers and prima ballerinas of Cuba’s National Ballet Company (BNC) -Viengsay Valdés, Sadaise Arencibia, Dani Hernández and soloist Raúl Abreu- will interpret a varied repertoire in the 10th International Ballet Festival of Cali, Colombia.

Under the artistic direction of Gloria Castro, founder of the Colombian Institute of Ballet, the meeting that began today will end on October 7, and will bring together troupes from the South American country, together with companies and specialists of the Czech Republic, Italy, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Argentina and Cuba.

The dancers of the company directed by prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso will interpret the Pas of Deux of Don Quixote and Sleeping

Beauty, Double Bounce and Carmen, points out the official Web site of the BNC.

According to this portal, performances will take place at municipal theaters as well as at public squares, and the closing ceremony will be held at the Cañaveralejo Bull Square, with a capacity for 15 thousand people.

BNC historian Miguel Cabrera will give again the didactic class “An encounter with dance: technique, expression and styles,” during which he will speak with students in schools and popular communes of Cali.



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Acosta Danza to Perform at Albert Hall in London

With just one year founded, Cuban company Danza Acosta spreads its projects throughout the world and the next destination will be the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London.

Dancers work to finalize details at the venue of the group on the central Linea Avenue, in Havana, for the performances scheduled from October 3rd to 7th in the famous theater.

Danza Acosta promotes the rehearsals during these days on its Facebook official account, the most recent post is a picture of dancers Gabriela Lugo and Luis Valle, who will be starring the performance 'Carlos Acosta: The Classical Farewell'.

They will perform the pas de deux of the Scheherazade ballet, by Russian Michel Fokine, and also 'Anadromous' by young Cuban choreographer Raul Reinoso.

According to the company, the performance in London is a tribute to Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta for his farewell to classical dance.

Along with members of Acosta Dance, the cast also includes foreign dancers like Ryoichi Hirano, Yuhui Choe, Sarah Lamb, Laura Morera, Marienela Nunez and Valentino Zuchetti, all from the Royal Ballet.

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Viengsay in Russia: Standing Ovation

Moscow, Sep 26 (Prensa Latina) Viengsay Valdes' memorable performance in Don Quixote was received with enthusiastic applause by a Moscow audience at the 5th International Ballet Festival in the Kremlin.

Dancing with the State Kremlin Palace Ballet company, Valdes gave a Cuban interpretation to the Kitry character captivating more than 6,000 spectators within the Kremlin walls, who prevented her from leaving the stage for a long time.

Amid all the costumes of the performance, Valdes told Prensa Latina that the Kremlin Ballet version of Kitry in Don Quixote is totally different from everything she has done until now.

She added that in international events she had already interpreted Kitry in the Russian version of Don Quixote with Ivan Vasiliev, a famous Bolshoi dancer.

'This is the second time I am dancing in the Kremlin. The first time was in 2005, during the 80th anniversary of Maya Plizetskaya,' said Valdes, who is recognized as one of the best in the world in the interpretation of Kitry.

'On that occasion there was a Don Quixote performance combined with all the guest stars in the world, I came with Joel Carreno, and danced only a fragment of the first act,' she pointed out.

'Despite having done some very important things, this role was one of the most anticipated for me this year, as I have been psychologically preparing for it for a long time,' revealed the Cuban star.

The international ballet festival includes several classics like Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Bayaderas and is attended by important worldwide figures of ballet.

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