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Sunday, March 26, 2023

HAVANA to hold the 20th international ballet festival: a dedication to Mozart and choreographic creation

BY Mireya Castaneda ACCORDING to diva Alicia Alonso, human beings express everything through dance, given that through that creative form movement, music, theater and even painting are united.”It is for this reason that we afford such tremendous importance to our Festival. We are staging it at an exceptional point in time with respect to the world. We feel as though we are bringing some hope, a road along which humanity can travel through dance.”According to Alicia’s comments during a press conference, this 20th Festival is distinguished not just for the artists and companies that are giving us the honor of visiting and sharing their art, but also with respect to significant choreographic events, such as the SGAE Award.”We are also going to present something that has never been done before in an international ballet festival. It won’t just be characterized by performances of the great classics, incorporating three different theaters, but something that is really going to attract people’s attention. Every night at the García Lorca Theater, there will be a premiere. It’s going to be a real privilege.””We are commemorating the 20th anniversary of our festival,” stressed the director of the Cuban National Ballet (BNC), “although the emphasis will be on the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart.”Thus, at the opening Gala, following an emotive procession in which dozens of children from the BNC Workshop, plus students from the ballet schools and the National Company took part, the audience was regaled by the premiere of Mozart Divertimento, one of three pieces choreographed by Alonso herself for the festival.Naturally, the piece is conceived as a tribute to the genius of Salzburg, and was performed by soloists and the corps de ballet. The music used was the adagio section of Divertimento K287; the Minuet from Divertimento K334 and lastly, from Rondo, allegro assai from Divertimento K251.Alonso’s other pieces are Cuadros de una exposición (Paintings from an Exhibition), with music by Modest Mussorgski and Desnuda luz del amor (The Naked Light of Love), created especially for Italian prima ballerina Carla Fracci, who will be accompanied by Víctor Gilí, principal dancer with the BNC, and youngsters Javier Torres and Taras Domitro.Every night from October 28 to November 6, there is a premiere, several of them at world level, with pieces by Cubans Iván Tenorio (Theseus and the Minotaur), Pedro Consuegra (Le Roman d’un Boston de Rose) and Eduardo Blanco (Dances by Mozart), from Canadian Jean Grand-Maitre (Solitary), U.S. choreographer James Kelly (Through Your Eyes), and Goyo Montero from Spain (The Day of Creation). And others such as Cuban Gonzalo Galguera (Second Symphony of Johann Brahms), Israeli Igal Perry (Nocturnal), Swede Mats Ek (Potato, Memory), Spaniard José Martínez (Delibes Suite), and German Patrick de Bana (Good night1⁄4 Amadeus).Three of the great classics included in the BNC’s large repertoire will be performed during the festival: Don Quijote, at a special function in the Plaza de la Catedral in Old Havana, whilst Giselle and Swan Lake are at the Avellaneda Hall of the Teatro Nacional.The greatest announcement, without doubt, is that the celebrated Argentine dancer Julio Bocca is to dance the leading role for the very last time in Swan Lake at the Festival, the role in which he debuted for the very first time here in Havana at the 10th festival in 1986.Bocca, one of the stars of world ballet, has always been very well received by the Cuban public and on this occasion, he will also be performing with his company, the Julio Bocca Ballet Argentino.Equally, there is the greatly-anticipated arrival of another ballet star, Maximiliano Guerra, also from Argentina, who is to perform in Brian McDonald’s Prologue to a Tragedy.There are two Cubans currently at the pinnacle of world ballet, namely, José Manuel Carreño and Carlos Acosta. The former will perform the role of Albrecht in one of the performances of Giselle, whilst Acosta will dance a pas de deux in the ballet Mayerling by Kenneth MacMillan, together with Leanne Benjamin, prima ballerina with the Royal Ballet in London and also, Diana and Acteon alongside BNC prima ballerina Viengsay Valdés.The Festival is on the brink of opening and the performances are both varied and delectable.

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