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Havana’s Ballet Festival Enhanced by the Presence of Dance Stars

Havana’s Ballet Festival Enhanced by the Presence of Dance Stars

Posted by PanamericanWorld on November 08, 2016

The theater lights fade away. The audience members are comfortable in their seats. The music begins to flow through the air and the stage curtains are slowly drawn back. That instant, when the dancers first show up, is sublime. For dancers, it’s like a door to emptiness, when time stops and dance rules. For viewers, it’s all about suspense, illusion and discovery. There is a pact between both parties.

When it comes to enjoying ballet –the 25th Edition of Havana’s International Ballet Festival – and the leading roles are played by outstanding figures, most of which had never before danced in the country, both the commitment and emotion go up.

This edition of the festival was attended by boldface names, choreographers, professors and dancers from over 16 countries, such as the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, United Kingdom, Holland, Spain, France, Russia, South Korea and Mongolia. Moreover, 27 pieces were premiered in Cuba, two with international scope.

Brooklyn Mack

The experienced dancer from the Washington Ballet, who has been given important awards and recognitions, such as the one for being the first Afro-American to win the gold in the International Ballet Contest of Varna, Bulgaria, the oldest ballet competition, is once again in Havana.

In October 2014 Mack danced with Cuban Viengsay Valdes during the gala of Classic Ballet World Stars held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and he later stood out in Cuba, in the 24th edition of the Festival, by playing Don Quixote.

Mack, who was born in South Carolina, United States, began to study ballet at the age of twelve, at Pavlovich Dance School, and although he has told the press that he wanted to be a soccer player, he is one of the most outstanding representatives of dance in his country. Back in 2012, he was included on the “25 to watch” list issued by the Dance Magazine.

Maria Kochetcova

The performances by this Russian dancer, who has been the main star at the San Francisco Ballet since 2007 and the American Ballet Theatre since 2015, are always eagerly expected by the audience.

For such an artist like her, who has danced in Tgoldnto, Hamburg, Panama, Paris at Bolshoi theater and at Moscow’s Stanislavsky, as well as Mariinsky and Mikhailovsky in St. Petersburg, New York’s ABT, the Opera of Rome, and Tokyo’s Ballet in Japan, playing Kitri in Don Quixote, along with Cuban Joel Carreño, and Chaikovski Pas de Deux, together with Joaquin de Luz, are other opportunities to show her talent.

The awards, posted on her personal page, “Isadora Duncan”, “Prix de Lausanne” and the medals in International Ballet Competitions in Seoul (Gold, 2005), Rome (Gold, 2005), Rieti (Gold, 2005), Luxemburg (Gold, 2003) Varna (Prize granted by the Press Jury, 2002), Moscow (Bronze, 2001), back up her reputation.

Altankhuyag Dugaraa

This is also the first time in Cuba for Mongolian dancer Altankhuyag Dugaraa, who joined the Boston Ballet in 2007, and Micaela de Prince, the great soloist from the Dutch Royal Ballet, who was born in Sierra Leona.

As for Altankhuyag Dugaraa, also called Altan, he is described as the most successful Mongolian dancer. He danced as a soloist with his country’s National Ballet Theater (2000 – 2007) and he has been invited by Japan’s Asami Maki Ballet since 2002. He was appointed Culture Ambassador of his country.

Micaela de Prince

20-year-old dancer Micaela de Prince, by displaying great technical virtuosity in the Pas de Deux Las Llamas de París, inspired by the French Revolution, conquered the admiration of the Cuban public, beyond the applauses.

Mari Carmen Catoya

Venezuelan Mari Carmen Catoya’s performance was also amazing. She has developed a successful career in such international stages as Russia, United States, Spain, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Bosnia, and Argentina. She presently dances with the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida.

According to the dancer, learning Alberto Mendez’s “Sui Generis” choreography was a very important and emblematic step in her career. “This ballet is incredible in terms of the technical elasticity, control and handling of a female dancer and two men, since you have to be pretty well connected to both of them (…) the commitment is huge and I’ll do my best”.

Mary Carmen Catoya also performs “Tus pasos”, thus paying tribute to Alicia Alonso in the closing session.

The list of outstanding dancers participating in the Festival also comprises Asheley Bouder from the New York City Ballet, Lucia Solari from the Northern Ballet, Maria Ricetto and Gustavo Carvalho from Uruguay’s National Ballet SODRE, Moises Martin from Spain’s National Dance Company, and Laura Valentino from Puerto Rico’s National Ballet Theater. The United States’ Martha Graham Dance Company and Dance America, Le Grands Ballet Canadiens and Buenos Aires Ballet also delighted the audience with their performances.

The ten-day Alicia Alonso International Ballet Festival has come to an end. The dancers flight back to their countries, their routines and their public. But the pact stands, waiting to be renewed within two years, when world-class ballet stars meet again in Havana.

By Jessica Dominguez Delgado: PanamericanWorld / Havana

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