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BNC @ Kennedy Center 2011: Mixed Bill & Don Q


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#16 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 06:10 PM

I'm happy that you (not I) aluded to age...as, at first, I thought "un poco madurita"...but the thought disappeared quickly because she is petite and 'pert-cute' enough to get away with it.


Barbarita is just 43...she's just starting...see? :wink:

The problem I notice, Natasha, is that as soon as a certain ballerina or danseur is promoted and announced it on the site-(back when there were stil efforts to keep it current)-then, boom!, he or she joins the long list of exiles. I think they stopped the efforts of accuracy after the leaving of Correa, Carreno Jr. and more recently Frometa. It's just that the list is never completely "accurate" per se with the non stopping migration...
Miss V has been the only list "veteran" for a while as I can see...

And while in the subject of Barbarita, here are some other clips...

In Chopiniana

In Nutcracker

As Odette in her transformation

As Lissette-(Fille Mal Gardee rehearsal)


#17 Natalia

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 02:30 AM

....Barbarita is just 43.......


That makes her Saturday matinee at the Kennedy Center all the more spectacular. She has technique and style that most 20-something ballerinas elsewhere can only dream about. We need to treasure every performance by all of these Cuban stars (those still based in Havana, not in exile) before their magic is ruined by globalization. Kudos not only to Mme Alonso but to Head Ballet Mistress Maria Elena Llorente and to all of the coaching and teaching team that keeps pre-globalization style alive in this pocket of the world. Heaven forbid that, some day, the walls crumble,some Euro-trashy director becomes head of the company and begins to impose 180-degree extensions on their Dryad Queens and Auroras. (By "walls crumbling" I mean artistically, not politically. China is still communist but its ballet has globalized.)

And ever wonder why the Cuban female stars last so long in Cuba? Would a dancer who begins and ends her career straining for 180-degree extensions still be a ballerina, in her full glory, at age 43 in any other world-class company nowadays?

Edited to add: About their website - here is a link to their biographies section...err, maybe it should be titled "Biografia" as there is only one. Guess whose? :blushing:
http://www.balletcub...biografias.html

However, the "Roster" page yields a few bios of the current Primas/Principals:
http://www.balletcub...grantes.asp.htm

#18 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 01:04 PM

And ever wonder why the Cuban female stars last so long in Cuba? Would a dancer who begins and ends her career straining for 180-degree extensions still be a ballerina, in her full glory, at age 43 in any other world-class company nowadays?


That was exactly the baseline for which I started that "Giselle/Dubois" thread. Giselle is coming up next at MCB, and if there's just ONE ballerina I would have LOVE to see in the role it would be Miss Deanna Seay, who just retired at the advanced age-(by nowadays standards)-of early 40's. For what I could tell, her technical abilities were somewhat diminished compared to, let's say, Jeanette Delgado, but there was something in her way of dancing, in how she projected herself onstage that I, even not knowing nothing about ballet, could tell only comes with age and the relationship dancer/stage. It is certainly a shame that dancers sometime decide to retire afraid of being ridiculed by our youth-centered society Some performances are certainly not for everyone, but I'm sure I would not have standed by myself in line to buy a ticket for the 40'ish Miss Seay's performance. As for many others, there are plenty of Somovas out there.

#19 CubanInUSA

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 03:17 PM

2011-06-07 - I just traveled to Washington DC last week to see three nights of Ballet Nacional de Cuba: Tuesday and Wednesday I saw "The Magic of Dance". On Friday I saw "Don Quijote". I can't help it but say that I was so dissapointed specially with Don Quijote. The Magic of Dance had its beautiful moments, but the dancers were weak in some areas, some stumbled, some lost their balance, most didn't do any thing extraordinary. It was mostly very common. The Don Quijote performance was poor. Yes, the Latin flavor of the dances was appealing, but the talent and technique was lacking in most of the dancers. All very, very young and inexperienced. It is clear that the BNC has lost its main artery of talent and artistry. Sad. For so many years BNC was a treasure. I cannot speculate about the reasons for the exodus of talent, but I only hope that a new artistic director will bring new ideas, a new business model, new choreographies, more talent.

#20 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 05:15 AM

2011-06-07 - I just traveled to Washington DC last week to see three nights of Ballet Nacional de Cuba: Tuesday and Wednesday I saw "The Magic of Dance". On Friday I saw "Don Quijote". I can't help it but say that I was so dissapointed specially with Don Quijote. The Magic of Dance had its beautiful moments, but the dancers were weak in some areas, some stumbled, some lost their balance, most didn't do any thing extraordinary. It was mostly very common. The Don Quijote performance was poor. Yes, the Latin flavor of the dances was appealing, but the talent and technique was lacking in most of the dancers. All very, very young and inexperienced. It is clear that the BNC has lost its main artery of talent and artistry. Sad. For so many years BNC was a treasure. I cannot speculate about the reasons for the exodus of talent, but I only hope that a new artistic director will bring new ideas, a new business model, new choreographies, more talent.



Hi, Cuban... :tiphat:
Some fellow members of this board I'm sure would expect me to contradict your statement, but reality is...I do agree with it. Long story short, I haven't seen my homeland company since 2001, when I left. Back then the company was facing was it is said to be the very last breath of the old school wave. The "Four Jewels" were not longer dancing-(two of them had passed away, sadly)...the "Three Graces" were in exile after years of neglect and were not actively dancing any longer, and only-(for me)-Miss Lorna Feijoo personified that aura that characterized those great ballerinas. Same with the danseurs, after the departing of Acosta, Carreno and Sarabita. I never got to see Barbara Garcia-(I think she came from Ballet de Camaguey, another company), and as I have said already, Miss V was "the enemy" :) . Anyway...I've seen the videos and I do agree with Natasha that Garcia and Valdes have strong technique, but to be honest, I haven't seen dancers of the caliber of Esquivel , Josefina, Charin, Acosta, Ofelia, Marta or Sarabita. Miss V could be a potential candidate, but she still misses the "princess" demeanor onstage for the Auroras and Raymondas.

#21 Natalia

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 06:17 AM

.....I haven't seen dancers of the caliber of Esquivel , Josefina, Charin, Acosta, Ofelia, Marta or Sarabita. Miss V could be a potential candidate, but she still misses the "princess" demeanor onstage for the Auroras and Raymondas.


I can't disagree with you, cubanmiamiboy, because I did see "Super Jewel" (Alicia), the Four Jewels and the Three Graces in 1978 in Puerto Rico, which will be hard to top in any era. The two men in the recent DC tour who are of the old school calibre, to me, are Osiel Gounod and Jose Lozada, neither of whom was given the role of Basilio in the weekend Don Qs.

Where I strongly disagree -- and I believe that the majority of the enthralled Kennedy Center audience last week will disagree - is in CubaninUSA's assertion that stumbling and losing balance was "very common" in last week's performances. No way! I have reviewed my detailed notes and the only stumbles in the initial Magia de la Danza were in two partnering off-moments: Swan Lake pdd, in which Arencibia and her partner finished one of the last supported pirouettes sloppily (and any mishap near the end of a piece is magnified) and a botched supported pirouette by Valdes/Virelles during the diagonal in which Basilio steps away from Kitri and she balances while posed in back attitude. Valdes was unable to take the final pose because of a partnering error with the axis of the pirouette. The BIG problem, as I see it, is the relative lack of firepower & partnering inexperience by some of the male leading soloists. Plainly stated, the men who should be the huge stars right now have all left.

#22 aronj

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 06:53 AM


.....I haven't seen dancers of the caliber of Esquivel , Josefina, Charin, Acosta, Ofelia, Marta or Sarabita. Miss V could be a potential candidate, but she still misses the "princess" demeanor onstage for the Auroras and Raymondas.


I can't disagree with you, cubanmiamiboy, because I did see "Super Jewel" (Alicia), the Four Jewels and the Three Graces in 1978 in Puerto Rico, which will be hard to top in any era. The two men in the recent DC tour who are of the old school calibre, to me, are Osiel Gounod and Jose Lozada, neither of whom was given the role of Basilio in the weekend Don Qs.

Where I strongly disagree -- and I believe that the majority of the enthralled Kennedy Center audience last week will disagree - is in CubaninUSA's assertion that stumbling and losing balance was "very common" in last week's performances. No way! I have reviewed my detailed notes and the only stumbles in the initial Magia de la Danza were in two partnering off-moments: Swan Lake pdd, in which Arencibia and her partner finished one of the last supported pirouettes sloppily (and any mishap near the end of a piece is magnified) and a botched supported pirouette by Valdes/Virelles during the diagonal in which Basilio steps away from Kitri and she balances while posed in back attitude. Valdes was unable to take the final pose because of a partnering error with the axis of the pirouette. The BIG problem, as I see it, is the relative lack of firepower & partnering inexperience by some of the male leading soloists. Plainly stated, the men who should be the huge stars right now have all left.


It is unfortunate that no one has reported on the Sunday performance of DQ. Dani Hernandez and Anette Delgado stunned the audience with their performance, which was nearly equal to the Paris DVD version with the added advantage of live music. The Tuesday night DQ was disappointing, other than the number of on pointe balances by Valdez, but the lifts were not in the same league compared to the DVD with a much better Basilio, Romel. We had a hint of this wonderful Delgado/Hernandez pairing on Tuesday in Giselle, I hope Alonso eventually makes a DQ DVD with this pair and live music. It would be better than any of the 5 other DQs on DVD we own.

#23 Ballet Foot

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 10:52 AM


2011-06-07 - I just traveled to Washington DC last week to see three nights of Ballet Nacional de Cuba: Tuesday and Wednesday I saw "The Magic of Dance". On Friday I saw "Don Quijote". I can't help it but say that I was so dissapointed specially with Don Quijote. The Magic of Dance had its beautiful moments, but the dancers were weak in some areas, some stumbled, some lost their balance, most didn't do any thing extraordinary. It was mostly very common. The Don Quijote performance was poor. Yes, the Latin flavor of the dances was appealing, but the talent and technique was lacking in most of the dancers. All very, very young and inexperienced. It is clear that the BNC has lost its main artery of talent and artistry. Sad. For so many years BNC was a treasure. I cannot speculate about the reasons for the exodus of talent, but I only hope that a new artistic director will bring new ideas, a new business model, new choreographies, more talent.



Hi, Cuban... :tiphat:
Some fellow members of this board I'm sure would expect me to contradict your statement, but reality is...I do agree with it. Long story short, I haven't seen my homeland company since 2001, when I left. Back then the company was facing was it is said to be the very last breath of the old school wave. The "Four Jewels" were not longer dancing-(two of them had passed away, sadly)...the "Three Graces" were in exile after years of neglect and were not actively dancing any longer, and only-(for me)-Miss Lorna Feijoo personified that aura that characterized those great ballerinas. Same with the danseurs, after the departing of Acosta, Carreno and Sarabita. I never got to see Barbara Garcia-(I think she came from Ballet de Camaguey, another company), and as I have said already, Miss V was "the enemy" :) . Anyway...I've seen the videos and I do agree with Natasha that Garcia and Valdes have strong technique, but to be honest, I haven't seen dancers of the caliber of Esquivel , Josefina, Charin, Acosta, Ofelia, Marta or Sarabita. Miss V could be a potential candidate, but she still misses the "princess" demeanor onstage for the Auroras and Raymondas.



#24 Ballet Foot

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 12:24 PM

Thanks,Natalie, for all of your great insights re performances last week at Kennedy Center of BNC. I was disappointed that I was unable to attend Thurs. "Don Quixote", so I appreciate your review all the more. I was there for 3 of performances and concur with your well-expressed assessments. This is one of my favorite companies as my training was very similar. One of my teachers in NYC was Leon Fokine, who had been one of Alonzo's partners and colleagues at time of revolution (Incidentally, expected us to do triple pirouettes from knee).

I remember one of the directors of Bolshoi very wisely saying that a dancer doesn't become an artist until they are 35 years..... great technique, yes,....but not matured or experienced enough to be a true artist. One can't make a flower bloom too soon; it needs nurturing. Otherwise, will blossom quickly and fade just as quickly. This is my concern for those who have defected and become superstars in other companies.

Yes, we should cherish all these precious moments of Cuban ballet stars while we have the opportunity to do so. Alas, globalization will invade their ballet training and repertoire soon enough.








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#25 Ballet Foot

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 12:31 PM

Hi, Cubanmiamiboy: Brings back fond memories of this company.....will never forget Alicia Alonzo's final performance of "Giselle" with Jorge Esquival at the Met. The audience went wild with enthusiasm. I believe that she was in her 60's, but her artistry and that of Esquival etc. would rival any of the young stars of today. I am sorry you couldn't be with us this past week at The Kennedy Center.

#26 Quiggin

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 02:13 PM

Natalia:

It's a shame that it's so hard to find bio information on the current BNC stars and soloists anywhere. That, I believe, is the huge downfall of the otherwise-lovely coffee-table tome, Cuban Ballet, by Octavio Roca, i.e., that one buys it thiking that it has all of the inside scoop on the current (last 10 yrs) company and it turns out to be another bio-homage of Alonso. Practically ALL of the 'current' Cuban stars mentioned and pictured by Roca are exiles! We end up knowing more about the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami as about the current, actual dancers in Havana.


This was my feeling about Roca's book, which was really a well-done Times Magazine profile on Alicia Alonso. I bought a copy wanting to know about this golden age at the Cuban, ballet from the 1990's to the present, and how it came about: How were the schools structured, what were the classes, who were the teachers, what were the differences between the teaching styles within the schools. Joan Boada once talked about how important the partnering class was... One dancer in Roca's book says that things changed after Josefina Mendez's death – was she the guiding force?

There was also little in "Cuban Ballet" about the pre-Alonso period – for instance about the ballet(s) of Amadeo Roldan.

#27 Natalia

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 03:17 PM

....There was also little in "Cuban Ballet" about the pre-Alonso period – for instance about the ballet(s) of Amadeo Roldan.


You're so right. Also, there is little discussion about Alberto Mendez' many wonderful ballets, except for his final 1995 work, Tarde en el Amanecer...but almost no mention and no photo of (to me) his greatest gem, Tarde en la Siesta. No Munecos. No Canto Vital (A. Plisetski). No Bach x 8 (Jose Pares). It's almost as if Roca was writing a "history" of Cuban ballet through his own prism...very one-fan-centric, rather than a 'big picture-total history'...yet marketing it as if it were the big picture. Tarde en el Amanecer was likely mentioned because that's what Roca saw in San Francisco in 1995!

#28 Natalia

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 10:18 AM

Well, I simply could not let this one wonderful review of Osiel Gounod escape us. From Roslyn Sulcas, writing in today's NY Times, about the Magia de la Danza opening program in Brooklyn, this week:

The one invigorating moment in the program came from Osiel Gounod, partnering Grettel Morejón in “Coppélia.” Although Ms. Morejón couldn’t resist darting coy glances at us, both are truly lovely dancers who actually inhabited their characters, with Mr. Gounod particularly exciting in his smooth, springy jump and beautifully extended lines.

Link to full review:
http://www.nytimes.c...eview.html?_r=2

:clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

#29 KGC

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 02:22 PM

I am glad to read about Barbara Garcia, one of the most complete Cuban dancers of all times. I am her one of her fans in Cuba, and with a few friends we keep a recently created page on Facebook on her name Barbara Garcia. You are all welcome to visite and become fans if you like !! You will have the opportunity to see her latest pictures of The Swan Lake, May 30th, in the GTH, in Havana. We also have the video, but we can not post it yet, because of Internet connection speed. It was simply perfect. One of her teachers said: "Seing this Swan Lake has erased all the others I have seen in my life". He loves her very much, indeed, but we were ther, and there is no doubt that it was one of the most beautiful and perfect things I we have seen in a longtime. I hope you will enjoy the performances of the BNC, especially Barbara's.

#30 Natalia

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 06:03 AM

I am glad to read about Barbara Garcia, one of the most complete Cuban dancers of all times. I am her one of her fans in Cuba, and with a few friends we keep a recently created page on Facebook on her name Barbara Garcia. ....


Bienvenido al foro BalletAlert!, KGC! Thanks for this & welcome. It's great to hear from new balletlovers in Cuba. I, for one, will definitely 'check out' Barbara Garcia's Facebook page and become a Friend. :)


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