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Mark D

Ballet Nacional de Cuba in New York

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Just got an announcement in the mail that Ballet Nacional de Cuba is coming to City Center Oct 15-19. Two programs:

Program A:

Don Quixote, Choreography by Alicia Alonso, Marta Garcia and Maria Elena Llorente after Petipa and Gorsky, Music by Minkus

Program B:

Les Sylphides, Choreography by Alicia Alonso after Fokine, Music by Chopin;

Canto Vital, Choreography by Azari Plisetski, Music by Mahler;

Blood Wedding, Choreography by Antonio Gades, Music by Emilio de Diego, Libretto Alfredo Manas after Federico Garcia Lorca;

A Classic pas de deux to be announced.

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:party: Thanks, Mark! I missed their last visit. :blushing:

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I just received this flyer in the mail yesterday. Planning to get tickets for Program B.

I have, of course, never seen them before but have seen a documentary on Ms. Alonso.

Haven't tried a search yet, but I'd be interested to hear what those of you who are familiar have to say about this company today. Thanks!

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I would be interested in what people think of the company as well. We are debating getting tickets to Program B.

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Mark, if you were able to see the recent PBS special on ABT's men, there are shots of BNC's school in Carreno's profile. The discipline of the classroom is -- to judge from both the documentary and the company when last seen -- very strict,and the standards are very high.

Alonso has created a very accomplished company, and amazingly, with meager resources. Her dancers have solid technique and unflinching conviction. Acosta and Carreno may not be typical, but they are products of BNC. The company also reflects what I assume to be the look of American ballet ca. 1961-2, when Alonso returned to her homeland for good. There was input from the Bolshoi, but it's really been Alicia's show.

If you can go, you should. :blushing:

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I agree with Carbro --

we've seen them twice in Berkeley, in Giselle and Coppellia ( both times I saw Lorna Feijoo, who's now a MAJOR reason to go see Boston ballet - -she was marvellous in both, and God knows, hte demands of hte roles are VERY different)

THey are a great company. They can't afford new shoes, but they sure can dance -- Rock-solid technique, and real ability as mimes.......

I'd definitely go. ANd their virtues are such that the 4th ring will have a good time......

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Thanks for your remarks - I'm going for Program B... and by the way Mark D if you do a search on them there are a number of threads dating back to 2001 - which may be their last time in the states??

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I would have to disagree that Acosta and Carreno are not typical products of the school. There are many dancers, male and female, of their caliber. I would say that Rolando Sarabia and Joel Carreno are on par with them, along with many others. I also think that Viengsay Valdes is one of the best female dancers (and turner) - and how could I forget Alihaydee Carreno? There are also other Cuban dancers dancing in other companies in the US that I think are amazing. While this is my opinion I think it to be a true one. You have to admire what Alicia Alonso has done. Those in NY are so lucky to see this company - also those in Boston who get to see Mr. Sarabia!

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What can I say about the Cubans?? If you can go to their performances, please GO!! I saw their "Canto Vital" maybe back in 1986, and it was truly astounding: all male dancers dancing to the powerful music of Mahler, pretty spectacular choreography.

It is true that the standards are very high, but also that they are quite strict. I had occassion of taking class with a ballet mistress from the National Ballet of Cuba, and GOD, they were demanding!!! Their classes give TONS of leg power. As far as corps de ballet work is concerned, never had I seen the national ballet of Uruguay in better shape as when it was directed by these Cuban lady.

I also had the privilege of participating in a summer intensive course taught by ballet masters of the Ballet of Cuba (headed by Laura Alonso - Alicia's daughther). This was in 1991. I ended up very strong indeed!! (I also saw Alicia herself teaching a master class that time)

However, when the NBC toured Uruguay around year 2000 you were able to notice that their shoes were not as pretty-looking as they should. There are some "Caribbean" touches which I personally do not like very much, but that is a matter of taste, anyway

Lucky you there in the States, who are able to see them.

:blushing:

Silvy

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I received the program today and will probably see both programs. No one has mentioned that there is a 30% discount if tickets are ordered before Sept. 20, using a code they supplied in the brochure--$70. tickets go for $49; $50. are $35; and $35. are $24.50---Phew!! I tried to order online using the code---but it was not accepted!- It is a letter code, and they say only a numerical code is acceptable. Has anyone else had this happen?

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After all these rave reviews I'd be foolish not to go. We are going to go to Program B. I guess I'll avoid web site problems and go to the box office.

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Mark D and all y'all, I'd also get balcony seats for Don Q --

the Cubans in San Francisco, Lorena Feijoo and Joan Boada, who were both trained in Cuba, were unbelievably wonderful in SFB's recent production of DonQ. They really understood the style.

I never thought I'd think Don Qt was anything but a trashy riidiculous crowd-pleaser -- as it was I found myself thinking here was a new kind of ideal theater -- one of daylight and comedy rather than moonlight and tragedy, but really magnificent in its way. ANd hte toughness of life in CUba -- if the Buena Vista Social Club is a guide, which is most of what I know -- the way hte spirit obviously has to rise above conditions of want and need just to keep the car in running order, was exactly what gave the lead couple their brio. And i thought Feijoo could be mentioned in the same breath as Plisetskaya and Terekhova.

I wouldn't miss their DOn Q -- to see a Kitri who's killed and plucked and broiled the chicken they had for dinner but NOT been ground down by the toughness of life; there was a blazing defiance in Feijoo that I'll never forget -- there was nothing mean about it, .

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Thanks everyone, for all the info - I've been debating whether to go to one performance or both since I got the flyer yesterday. After reading all this glowing commentary I decided I couldn't order just one! I wasn't able to use the discount code on the website either but you can just call cititix at 212-581-1212.

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I am hoping someone will tell me if the Cuban National Ballet has any performances scheduled for the West Coast, since New York, Chicago and Florida are well out of may way. I have not seen them perform since 1983 and are curious to see them again. If you guys have the chance, see everything! Don Q I have not seen, but the other program is a wonderful way of seeing their versatility of styles all in one night. Pity they are not dancing Grand Pas de Quatre or their version of Sleeping Beauty.

Thanks to all

siu

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Well!! After all that I am happy to say I have my tickets. I will be there Wednesday night and Sat. Mat.

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:ermm: Thurs. nite (the exact seat I wanted) and Sat. nite, and at a discount!

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I am hoping someone will tell me if the Cuban National Ballet has any performances scheduled for the West Coast, since New York, Chicago and Florida are well out of may way.

The company is scheduled to perform at the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts (So. California) on November 14 and 15. The venue's website is www.cerritoscenter.com.

Hope this helps.

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Just found out about this in the NYTimes. We're going to DonQ- yes a hokey crowd pleaser, but we're in the mood for some bravura dancing. Any one know anything about casting? We're hoping that Carreno's cousin will be dancing- she was amazing in the PBS "Men's Club" program.

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I guess there has been no press release on casting yet? Any info on who is coming, at least?

Even a rumor would be something.

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I am hoping someone will tell me if the Cuban National Ballet has any performances scheduled for the West Coast, since New York, Chicago and Florida are well out of may way.

It looks like Ballet Nacional de Cuba will be in San Diego, too... Nov. 12 & 13. Info. at the website of La Jolla Music Society.

La Jolla Music Society

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Some dancers coming to New York -

There is a brief story about Joel Carreno in Sunday's NY Times (he's Jose Manuel's younger brother). It says that he and Viengsay Valdes will be appearing in the full length DonQ, and that he will also dance in Les Sylphides and pas de deux from Swan Lake, Don Q and The Sleeping Beauty. I guess that was before they switched Les Sylphides to Swan Lake act 2. It also said that Alihaydee Carreno will NOT be performing in NY, she stayed behind in Cuba to be with her new baby.

I am going to the Friday & Sat night performances. I've never seen this company and am very much looking forward to seeing them!

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I am back from my pilgrimage to Cerritos, CA. My long time dream of watching the Cuba National Ballet has finally taken place. Worth my time, effort and money?

Absolutely. Was it perfect? No. Here are my thoughts:

Last performance on their US tour; Don Quixote. Cast: Viengsay Valdes - Kitri, Joel Carreño - Basil, Victor Gili - Espada.

Production: Dismal, the costumes are horrible, the head sock in the guys have to go, the gipsy costumes were too garish in different shades of neon green (not my favorite color), the dream sequence in pastel blue might have loked better under a different type of lightning, the dresses of the corps in the third act looked like out of a school production. I know they have budget limitations, but this was too much.

The dancing: Glorious. It seems to me it is a very young company these days, the old stalwarts are gone. I am sure maturity will come in time; now it is a dazzlying energy on stage, with all the tricks in the book thown in and then some. Unlike other companies I have seen, they are really happy to be on stage and will go to any extreme to pull you in and share they joy. The technical abilities are far superior to the ones on display back in the 60's through the early 80's when I last saw them perform at home. The men are stronger, better trained. Much has been said of Ms. Valdes, I have now been witness of her extraordinary dancing ability and technique, that balance on the third act was something I never thought could be done, not even the queen of balances (in my opinion) Cynthia Gregory could have pulled someting like it, her jumps are great and although not the best turner I have seen, her piruettes and fouettes were great, a bit of travelling forward, but in a very straight line. Mr. Carreño gave me one of the sightest, swiftest and fluid variation I have ever seen, and his lift on one arm of Ms. Valdes in the first act was breathtaking.

The stage seemed or is very small, and even with an abreviated company, when they were all in stage, it looked very cramped, so much that some of the steps were performed in a single spot. I wish I could see it in their home stage at the Gran Teatro de La Habana with the full company. That, I am sure, would make it a much better experience.

I was very happy the audience received their performance with three standing ovation curtain calls and I am sure they, as well as I, can hardly wait for their next appearence.

For you guys not familiar with the venue, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, it is a vey modern building, the lyric configuration is intimate, small theatre, slightly over 1400 seats, but as I said before, the stage is small, I guess they would have benefited of an extra 10ft to the sides and maybe another 15 in depth.

Sightlines are great, I was seated in the second row center of the Mezzanine ans checked during intermission other locations in the theatre. If you buy seats for any future performance, whatever it is, Orchestra center last row in the first block and the first row center in the second block are tops. As usual, first row center in the Mezzanine or the first and second balcony are choice. For people with vertigo, avoid the second balcony middle to top seats, the incline is quite steep.

Long, I know, but I hope you enjoy my comments. Your responses and questions are welcomed.

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I was there Saturday, and I agree that the shabby sets and costumes only seemed to enhance the quality of the dancing. And even those people who prefer artistry over more theatrical displays of technique would have had to sit up and take notice of those balances. I was suitably impressed at how long Ms. Valdez had balanced, but then she changed positions, all the while balancing on one pointe, and assumed a new pose. Incredible. And in a ballet like Don Quixote, it just adds to the fun of the third act. It was my fourth Don Q this year, but I'm sure glad I saw it.

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