The next 24th International Ballet Festival will bring together for eleven days in the main theater stages of Havana an important representation of American ballet. Some important figures of American ballet share the stage with talented Cuban dancers. Besides the joy of artistic quality, this event will strengthen ties through dance between Cuba and United States.
Nominated by Dance Magazine in 1999 as one of ten dancers of the century, the ABT figure star Paloma Herrera will dance on November 6th at the Mella Theater in Havana, next to NYCB Principal Dancer Gonzalo García. Together, they will dance for the public Chaikovsky pas de deux, a piece to be included in the concert program that will take place that day.
It is not the first time for Herrera in the Festival of Havana, in editions of 1996 and 2010 she was also invited and in 2012 she served as a member of the set named “José Manuel Carreño and American ballet stars”. At age 15 she joined to the ABT in New York and when she was 20 years old she holds the rank of Principal Dancer. It was not a surprise that she quickly ascended in that company; the teachings of the prestigious figure from Argentina ballet Olga Ferri and her elegant technique led her to major venues in the United States, Europe, Asia and America. Her repertoire includes major awards: Gino Tani,Italy Award; Ion Platinum Award andMaría Ruanova,Prize of Argentina; and Gold Medal of Arts, awarded in 2008 by the Center for Artistic Submissions John F. Kennedy, Washington, United States.
Meanwhile, the Spanish Gonzalo García was promoted to Principal Dancer of the NYCB in 2002. With that company he has taken the starring roles in the works of classical-romantic tradition as Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, among others. He has also starred in contemporary works of Balanchine, William Forsythe, Jerome Robbins, Christopher Wheeldon and Mario Bigonzetti creators. Among his most notable awards include the Gold Medal which won at the Grand Prix in Lausanne, Switzerland, one of the most prestigious events in the world.
Also appearing on this 24 Ballet Festival the Cuban dancer Xiomara Reyes, who dances with ABT of New York since 2001. Like Herrera, Reyes in 2012 acted as a member of the set “José Manuel Carreño and American ballet stars”. In this edition of the Festival will star a number from ballet Coppélia, and Great Galloping Gottschald with the First Spanish Dancer Carlos López.
The First Dancers Joaquín de Luz and Ashley Bouder, from the NYCB, also traveled to Cuba. Luz, from Spain like García, holds the rank of NYCB principal figure since 2005 and for top honors is considered one of the most brilliant exponents of the current male dance. American Ashley Bouder, meanwhile, is a creditor of important awards such as the Mae L. Waimn Award for Most Outstanding Promise and Janice Levin to featured dancer in the year 2000-2003.
One of the most anticipated moments will be the piece Diana and Acteón, November 2nd, at the Covarrubias Hall of the National Theatre, which will be led by the renowned First Dancer of the National Ballet of Cuba Viegnsay Valdés and the first figure of the Washington Ballet Brooklyn Mack. Critics have high expectations about Mack’s performance for being selected as a Valdés’s dance partner, who does not lack merit from.
It will also be interesting the proposal of the Hispanic Ballet of New York. This Havana Festival will present Celeste on November the 1st at the National Theatre, a work of Annabelle López Ochoa, a Colombian-Belgian creator. They will also present Asuka, a piece of Cuban-American choreographer Eduardo Vilaro, director of the Hispanic Ballet. Asuka will be a tribute to the late Cuban salsa queen Celia Cruz. The acts will be Yemaya, Tu Voz, Te Busco, Pa’ la Paloma, Agua Pa’ Mí, Guantanamera and Drume Negrita; this last one by the renowned Cuban musician Bola de Nieve. This company describes itself as the “leading dance company representative of Hispanic culture in the United States.” Its choreography and the talent of its dancers have earned rave reviews in the New York Times.
In addition to the ABT, the NYCB, the Washington Ballet and the Hispanic Ballet of New York, the companies Pontus Lidberg Dance and Cincinnati Ballet will be presented. No doubt this 24th Ballet Festival of Havana, although it coincides with other major international events, has brought together figures from the most prestigious companies in United States.