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Great Cuban Ballerinas of the 60's,70's and 80's-(II)MISS MIRTA PLA (1940-2003)


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 10:14 PM

Mirta Pla-(1940-2003). Silver Medal Varna 1964. Silver Medal Varna 1965. Silver Medal Varna 1966.

Mirta Pla died on Sept. 21/2003 from cancer. She was 63. Born in Havana, Pla studied dance under Mme. Alonso’s guidance. She joined several dance companies in the 1950s and toured the world as a professional performer. When she retired, Pla moved to Barcelona, Spain, to become a dance instructor. Pla was awarded Cuba's National Dance Prize in 2003. She shared the honor with the three of the “Four Jewels” ballerinas : Loipa Arajo, Aurora Bosh and Josefina Mendez. Mirta Pla was born to embellish the art with her delicate stage presence. Her solid technique, her unparalleled musicality, her enviable figure, her extraordinaire physical conditions and unique interpretations in different roles made her a muse of the Cuban audience from a very early age. Accounts of her most hardcore followers of 40 years can give testimony of how much admiration and respect Miss Pla was capable to transmit. After her retirement, the Cuban company lost a lot of elegance and distinction, two qualities that she brought along with the other three jewels. Mirta had a period where she looked a bit disappointed by what was surrounding her after 1959. An intimate friend of the ballerina confessed that when she went to New York for the first time since the beginning of Communism, the highest Direction of the ballet had warned her that she could not speak with anyone who were found to be exiles from the Castro regimen. Mirta confessed to this person that her eyes filled with tears when, after the performance and while leaving the theater, she recognized an earlier admirer from her old days in Cuba among a group of people who were gathering outside . Then their eyes met, the person smiled and she was forced to follow her path, ignoring his presence, while coming to her mind all the memories of her admirer’s displays of admiration, kind words, encouragement and flowers while now she had to keep going and forget about that. It is said that this episode hurt her a lot and that night she cried profusely, because she felt horrible about it.
The death of Mis Pla closed a very important chapter in the epoch of gold of BNC. Such a beautiful dancer and human being is born once in a lifetime.
Rest in Peace Queen of Willis. From heaven, your smile fills with light the faces of all the Cuban ballet dancers.

Mirta Pla and Jorge Esquivel. Pas de Deux Classique. Varna Competition, 1964.


As Myrtha in Giselle, 1963.
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#2 Natalia

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 04:27 AM

Thank you yet again, Cristian. Ms Pla was one of the most gorgeous jewels of all.

Wasn't she in charge of the ballet section of the Cuban National Arts Academy in Cubanacan?

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 08:11 AM

Thank you yet again, Cristian. Ms Pla was one of the most gorgeous jewels of all.

Wasn't she in charge of the ballet section of the Cuban National Arts Academy in Cubanacan?

Probably...althought she was pretty relegated to the shadows due to her non political affiliation. Many old pictures of Castro with those Cuban ballet founders can be seen around, but is noticeable that Pla was always absent from them...(BTW...i have a very interesting one from 1961 showing a ballet recruiting process in the country side in which Alonso can be seen seating along with Danilova, Youskevitch...AND CASTRO! :thanks: )

#4 Natalia

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 08:19 AM

Thank you yet again, Cristian. Ms Pla was one of the most gorgeous jewels of all.

Wasn't she in charge of the ballet section of the Cuban National Arts Academy in Cubanacan?

Probably...althought she was pretty relegated to the shadows due to her non political affiliation. Many old pictures of Castro with those Cuban ballet founders can be seen around, but is noticeable that Pla was always absent from them...(BTW...i have a very interesting one from 1961 showing a ballet recruiting process in the country side in which Alonso can be seen seating along with Danilova, Youskevitch...AND CASTRO! :thanks: )


Well, that may explain why she dod not take part in the 1978 tour of the USA and Puerto Rico, when practically all principals came. Only Pla and Bosch were missing. I had assumed that they had both retired from performing but apparently not (as we saw Bosch as Myrta in the 1980 film of Giselle and YouTube shows a great clip of Pla in Tarde en la Siesta ca 1983).

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 08:36 AM

Thank you yet again, Cristian. Ms Pla was one of the most gorgeous jewels of all.

Wasn't she in charge of the ballet section of the Cuban National Arts Academy in Cubanacan?

Probably...althought she was pretty relegated to the shadows due to her non political affiliation. Many old pictures of Castro with those Cuban ballet founders can be seen around, but is noticeable that Pla was always absent from them...(BTW...i have a very interesting one from 1961 showing a ballet recruiting process in the country side in which Alonso can be seen seating along with Danilova, Youskevitch...AND CASTRO! :thanks: )


Well, that may explain why she did not take part in the 1978 tour of the USA and Puerto Rico, when practically all principals came. Only Pla and Bosch were missing. I had assumed that they had both retired from performing but apparently not (as we saw Bosch as Myrta in the 1980 film of Giselle and YouTube shows a great clip of Pla in Tarde en la Siesta ca 1983).

It DOES have to with that, Natalia. Pla was always very loved and popular within the Cuban audience. People just loved her doll like beauty and the fact that she was always very apolitical. She was catholic too, and people knew, and that was something like an issue during those extremist first years of the Revolution. She was the oldest of them all, and the only one i didn't have the chance to see in Swan Lake or Giselle. The other three i did, and Loipa and Aurora-(who was also "different" and was being carefully watched too by the official government)-were still very active way well into the early 90's. It was a blast to hear the public roar when they would show up onstage, specially Pla.

#6 Natalia

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 11:09 AM

Thanks, cubanmiamiboy. Looking forward to the other reports as, I am sure, are many other BalletTalkers.

#7 innopac

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 12:28 PM

What a gift you are giving us.... thank you.

#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 08:34 PM

What a gift you are giving us.... thank you.

As I said earlier, it is MY pleasure to do this. Not a lot of info is available on this dancers, so their art has survived basically in the memories of those who had the chance to see them.
As soon as I had a little time, i'll write on others. From the top of my mind the list wil go as follows:

Aurora Bosh
Laura Alonso
Ramona de Saa
Martha Garcia
Maria Elena Llorente
Rosario Suarez
Ofelia Gonzalez
Amparo Brito

and others...

#9 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 08:11 AM

From the documentary "Four Jewels". Mirta Pla (I-II)





#10 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 11:41 PM

I just found a couple of rare clips from Miss Pla. I thought they could be of interest for those who got to see the dancing of our great late jewel.

Sleeping Beauty


Coppelia


Nutcracker, with Rafael Padilla



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