Viengsay Valdes Highlights Historic Legacy of National Ballet of Cuba

Havana, Oct 27 (Prensa Latina) The prima ballerina of the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC), Viengsay Valdes said on Saturday that preserving and defending the historic legacy of her company, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary on October 28, is important.

The anniversary will be the main reason for celebration at the 26th Alicia Alonso International Ballet Festival in Havana, which will take place from October 28 to November 6, with participation of artists from more than a dozen countries.

It is important right now to remember and preserve what we have and to defend it, so that the BNC continues to be a great internationally recognized company, Valdes noted during a rehearsal of the opening gala.

With the help of relatives, artists and intellectuals of the time, Alicia, Fernando and Alberto Alonso founded the company in Havana on October 28, 1948. The dedication and love for what they did in the beginning is admirable, and the BNC in the early days was composed of several dancers, not only from Cuban, but also from the United States and other nations, the current prima ballerina pointed out.

In 1940, Alicia and Fernando Alonso joined the Ballet Theater (now the American Ballet Theater), in the United States, and they took advantage of a recess of that company to invite most of their colleagues to Cuba in order to establish a classical ballet company.

The three Alonsos and other founders devoted themselves, with a sense of commitment, to the task that had been theirs: establishing a new company and then a new school, becoming the youngest internationally recognized institution, Valdes said.

After the company was founded, several artists needed at the time to resume their jobs or other contracts abroad to survive and the Alonsos needed to found an academy to raise some money and mainly to train their own dancers.

I feel proud to be part of the BNC and, above all, it is a privilege to have had great teachers, said Valdes, who was a student of Alicia and Fernando Alonso, the so-called four jewels of National Ballet of Cuba (Josefina Mendez, Loipa Araujo, Aurora Bosch and Mirta Pla) and many other teachers.

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