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The National Ballet of Cuba the most important Cuban dance company.
The National Ballet of Cuba is the most important Cuban dance company in the country and one of the five best classical ballet companies in the world, after the Paris Opera, the London Royal Ballet, the American Ballet Theater and the Bolshoi Ballet.
It is the result of a consummate work by the Cuban Ballet School directed by Fernando Alonso, Alicia Alonso as a great ballerina and Alberto Alonso, brother of the first and also the first professional dancer from Cuba.
It was founded on October 28, 1948 and was named as its first ballerina Alicia Alonso. In 1955 it changed its name to Ballet of Cuba and after 1959 it was called The National Ballet of Cuba.
Notes on the history of the National Ballet of Cuba.
The National Ballet of Cuba is the most important company of this art on the island, the highest expression of the Cuban Ballet School. The company’s repertoire is extensive and features some of the best ballets and choreography in the world.
Among them are Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Carmen, Coppelia and the anthology Giselle. From her first year of existence it toured various countries in Latin America and Alicia began to premiere her own choreography at the company.
The National Ballet of Cuba before 1959.
In 1949, as we already explained, the Cuban National Ballet made its first tour of various Latin American countries and a year later the Alicia Alonso National Ballet Academy was created where new figures of Cuban ballet would be formed.
In 1952, works such as “La fille mal gardée” by Alicia Alonso and “A concert in black and white” by José Parés were released. Two years later they released the entire version of “Swan Lake” throughout Latin America and in 1955 the company was renamed Ballet of Cuba.
In 1956, Romeo and Juliet of Prokofiev premiered with choreography by Alberto Alonso and it should be added that they held a Tribute and Redress Function organized by the University Student Federation (FEU), at the University Stadium, as a protest against the measures taken by Batista.
The National Ballet after 1959
After 1959 the company was called the National Ballet of Cuba and they continued working for the people with nuances of inclusion of people who previously could not access the ballet.
In 1963 they filmed the choreographic version of Alicia Alonso´s Giselle and the following year they participated for the first time in the Varna International Ballet Competition, in which several dancers from the National Ballet of Cuba, including Mirta Plá and Josefina Méndez, obtained medals.
In 65 they released Carmen, by Alberto Alonso with Alicia Alonso in the role of Carmen. In 1968, the first Cuban dancers trained entirely in the country’s art schools graduated and in just two more years they obtained the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris.
Other important dancers of the National Ballet of Cuba.
The National Ballet of Cuba has given talented dancers who are now a world reference for their talent and performance. There are the so-called four jewels: Josefina Méndez, Loipa Araujo, Mirta Plá and Aurora Bosch.
They made time and at the same time gave way to other generations that also shine with dance. Viengsay Valdés, Sadaise Arencibia, Alihaydée Carreño, Xiomara Reyes, Yolanda Correa and Anette Delgado are some of them.
As for the male part, an essential complement in ballet we find Alberto Alonso, Fernando Alonso, Alberto Méndez and others such as Carlos Acosta, Víctor Gilí, Rolando Sarabia, Dani Hernández, Joel and José Manuel Carreño, they are just some examples.
The Dance Museum.
It is one of the few institutions dedicated to this topic in the entire world. The Dance Museum is a complement and extension of the national ballet because there are various objects that bear witness to its development and success.
It is located on the corner of Calle Linea and Avenida de los Presidentes in Vedado. It was founded in 1998 from the private collection of Alicia Alonso, some documentary collections, and a collection of costume elements and scenery of the company, to preserve the memory of ballet in Cuba.
Currently it exhibits a wide collection of manuscripts, engravings, photographs, costumes, medals, promotional posters, sketches of costumes and sets, special bibliographic editions, sculptures, paintings and other pieces of high symbolic and illustrative value, all representative of history and development of the ballet on the island.
It opens its doors between 10:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the afternoon, from Tuesday to Saturday.
It has several rooms: the one dedicated to Alicia Alonso, another from the romantic era in the 19th century, the Russian ballets, the dance in the Pro Arte Musical society of Havana, the National Ballet of Cuba, the folk dance, the modern dance, theatrical design for dance, dance in the plastic arts and other subjects.
Alicia Alonso, the wonder of dance
Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad del Cobre Martínez del Hoyo (Havana, Cuba, December 21, 1920 – October 17, 2019) Known by her stage name Alicia Alonso, Prima Ballerina of the Cuban National Ballet, Cuban dancer and choreographer.
One of the great myths of dance, remembered for her performances by Giselle and Carmen among other great works from the classical and romantic repertoire.
Maximum figure of ballet in Latin America.
Founding member of the American Ballet Theater in 1940 and one of its most outstanding dancers. She danced with the Monte Carlo Ballets Russians, the Bolshoi and the Kirov.
She toured around the world in Europe, Asia, throughout America and danced as a guest star at the Paris Opera Ballet, with the Royal Danish Ballet, with the Bolshoi and with many other companies.
She has performed her versions of Giselle and other works for the Paris Opera, the Vienna Opera, at the San Carlo theater in Naples, the Prague Opera and at the Scala in Milan.
Among her recognizes are having received the title Doctor Honoris causa in Art from the University of Havana and the Félix Varela Order, the highest recognition of culture in Cuba, among many others.
Internationally, she also received many recognitions such as the “Anna Pavlova” Prize from the University of Dance in Paris and a tribute prepared by UNESCO for the International Day of Dance and Order of the Legion of Honor in France.
It is without a doubt, the wonder of dance, another treasure of the national culture.