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Natalia

23rd Havana Int'l Ballet Festival

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The 2012 Biennial Int'l Ballet Festival in Havana has its own web site in English/Spanish:

http://www.festivalb...habana.cult.cu/

Detailed, updated schedule is here (Spanish):

http://www.festivalb...rogramacion.pdf

also in a matrix format (English): http://www.festivalb...u/programacion/#

Gee, I wish it weren't so difficult for US citizens to make the trip, or I'd be there Come H*** or High Water! smile.png

The Opening Gala at the Havana Grand Theater -- 'Gran Teatro' -- on Oct 28 alone should be a doozy: A Grand Defile, Robbins' In the Night, and Alonso's version of La Fille Mal Gardee performed by the wonderful home company. There will be evenings devoted to ballets with music by composer Lecuona, to ballets inspired by Cuban painters and sculptors, the finals of the Alonso Choreographic Competition, a night in honor of Alonso's fabled partner, Igor Youskevich (with Theme & Variations!) and a Final Grand Gala including my favorite 'he-men ballet' Canto Vital! Guest choreographers for the festival are Peter Quantz and ABT's Kirk Peterson.

Guest troupes -- performing in venues other than the Grand Theater -- include no less than three U.S. companies, in addition to French, Mexican & Norwegian troupes:

* Tom Gold and NYCB Dancers (including S. Mearns, T. Peck, R. Fairchild, A. Stafford, Danchig Waring, Hankes, G. Smith, L. Brown, S. Hanna, etc.) - rep includes that 'new' gala staple: 'Junk PDD' by Tharp.

* Jose Manuel Carreno and Stars of American Ballet (not only ABT stars, such as Herrera, Reyes, Lane, Copeland, Cornejo, Seo, Hammoudi and Hamrick, but also two NYCB stars, DeLuz and Ulbricht)

* Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, the main professional troupe from San Juan

In addition to participating in multiple galas and mixed bills, the home troupe will dance three full-evening works: Giselle, Swan Lake and Coppelia. Hard choices will have to be made by visitors, e.g., the Youskevich Gala happens on the same night as Carreno and Friends and one of the Swan Lakes.

p.s. BNC dancer Osiel Gounod, who made such a splash during the June 2011 U.S. tour, should be prominently featured in this Festival, as he was recently promoted to Principal. Remember Osiel? That alone would be reason to make the trip, if one could.

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Youskevitch lives..! flowers.gif

I'm thinking and thinking...let's see....

I never saw "In the Night" in Cuba...(or at east I don't remember it). It would be interesting for me to compare it now that I'm quite familiar with the work.

Thanks for the links, Natasha! tiphat.gif

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Indeed, Cubanmiamiboy. If we could, we would charter a plane.

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Indeed, Cubanmiamiboy. If we could, we would charter a plane.

Is "could/would" a possibility?yahoo.gif

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Hi, chiapuris. I was thinking about you & Camilla as I wrote that, to be honest! :)

We need to dream-up an 'educational research' reason to get a DoT permit. We do. And we promise to be serious and 'in deep research' while in Havana.

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Hi, chiapuris. I was thinking about you & Camilla as I wrote that, to be honest! smile.png

We need to dream-up an 'educational research' reason to get a DoT permit. We do. And we promise to be serious and 'in deep research' while in Havana.

When do we start the trip planning...? flowers.gif

Here's the Great Theater where the Defile will take place...

GranTeatro.jpg

cuba-photos-1077-1024x768.jpg

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On my goodness, Cristian. Beautiful! Of course, missing from the interior photo is the 'icing on the cake': the wild & wonderful, ballet-crazy Cubanos filling those seats. Imagine what the NOISE LEVEL will be like as the Defile unfolds, especially if 'Madame' will make an appearance at the very end?

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Gorgeous Theatre, Cristian!!!!! Thanks for the photo!

Praying.

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Thank you thank you Natasha/BB. Definitely the ice of the cake will be there,"sans" a VERY important piece...ME! happy.png (Oh, how would I love to go and make some serious noise and whistling! ) Anyway...

The Youskevitch gala looks great!..."Spectre..", "Apre Midi.." "BS PDD", "DQ PDD"-(with an interesting mention of Anatole Obukhov version), "SB PDD", "Nut PDD" and if all that wasn't enough..."T&V"..! clapping.gif Wow...that's going to be quite a night...(They are all roles in which Youskevitch probably shone...)

I also noticed the American dancers appearing in "Apollo", question being...will they dance Alonso's old version or will they challenge the Cuban audience with what they know from ABT...? That could prove very interesting...

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The other two theaters involved in the Festival are The National, for the full lenght presentations, and the Mella for the contemporary works.

teatro_nacional_lge.jpg

l.jpg

And here's the defile of 2008. Not a fancy one, but I still get emotional when I see it. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever see another festival in my homeland...

Grand entrance @ 4:31 on part II.

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OMG, Cristian, this is amazing! Thanks for posting. I, too, got emotional around that 4:31 mark of the 2nd clip, as 'Madame' is escorted onto center-stage. One-thousand goosebumps. And the audience noise level! I love it!!!

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Yes Natasha. From the very defile Mme.tells her audience that this is her own territory with a well established ubber-hierarchic, non democratic pyramidal solid structure...(too rigid perhaps...?...maybe). No corps dancing principal roles here,oh no...

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Thanks Natalia and CubanMiamiBoy! Oh how i wish i could be in Havana.

I was doing some googling and saw an article that Alicia Alonso did some dancing on the stage!

Also found Javier Torres' twitter with photos and a short clip ofhim rehearsing with Viengsay Valdes and Jose Manuel Carreno. I will try to post the link tomorrow.

Finally, i learned from a Cuban friend that CubaVision will do a live broadcast of Viengsay Valdes in Coppelia tomorrow, Saturday- i believe 8:30 pm EST- i am trying to see if somehow i can view it over the internet - so far no luck it says i need plugins but i am using a MAC too which kind of complicates.. If anyone has luck let me know!

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Thank you so much for this update and exciting news, Margarita!

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Oh how i wish i could be in Havana.

My daily mantra for the last 11 years...

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Opening defile and "In the Night"...Grand entrance @ 8:30.

#!

And here is the closing gala, with a very emotional onstage display of old glories of the company ...Mme. Garcia and Orlando Salgado...Mme Maria Elena Llorente and Lazaro Carreno. There is also Osmay Molina, whom after years out the Cuban public eye post defection was invited to come back and finally...a very special appearance that could be completely and understandably irrational for the foreign eye, but one that carries a very warm touch for those of us who still pay tribute to a glorious ballet viewing past. That goes on at 3:04

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Thank you so much for posting!!!! I just started to watch the first one. Gracias a Dios por YouTube!biggrin.png

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The audience reception for Alicia Alonso at 8:38 is amazing - and everyone on their feet.

As for the closing gala, I LOVE love love it. I never had the chance to see the old glories dance in person but its very touching. What is the relation of Lazaro Carreno to Jose Manuel and Yoel?

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What is the relation of Lazaro Carreno to Jose Manuel and Yoel?

Uncle. He was among the group that visited the MET back in 1979 when Alonso, as Giselle and Carmen, made her first trip to US post Castro.

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OMG, cubanmiamiboy...this is extraordinary! thank you so much for making my day...my month...my YEAR! smile.png

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Natasha...I was a little hesitant to show the clip to my French friend...(how would Alonso's decision, understandably irrational to many, would speak to his non Cuban heart...?). Amazing enough, he liked it...he just said..."that's a fearless, shameless, protected woman up there. She's safe, and she knows it.."

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Thank you so much Christian for posting this film.

These three great female dancers brought happy tears to my eyes as I watched and remembered Marta Garcia and Maria Elena LLorente from over forty years ago and memories of Madame Alonso in Giselle.

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Thank you both Leonid and Natasha for your kind words. YOu two got to see this dancers at their prime, so I know you appreciated the clips. Here are some info I posted a while ago in an older thread dedicated to all those ballerinas.

Maria Elena Llorente.

Maria Elena Llorente was the only blonde ballerina within the Cuban troupe, and also the most subtle dancer of the golden age generation. She was not another Alonso's physical nemesis like Mendez, neither possessed the stage sumptuousness of Bosh or the technical va-va-voom of Suarez. She was rather the delicate, shy, but ALWAYS precise kind of modest dancer. The great thing about Llorente is that she was the assured type, the "constant per se" dancer, the secure show. In other words, when holding a ticket for one of her performances people KNEW exactly what was going to be shown and that they knew they would not be disappointed. It always pleasant performance...nothing more…nothing less. Llorente, like her peers, began studying ballet in Society Pro-Arte Musical in Havana and then continued learning at the Academy Alicia Alonso. The range of her teachers was wide, among the most prominent Alexandra Fedorova, Alicia Alonso, Marta Mahr, Fernando Alonso,, Jose Joaquin Banegas and Jose Parés. She became a member of the Cuban Corps in 1962, was promoted to soloist in 1967 and Principal in 1976. In 1968 she was awarded the bronze medal at the Varna Ballet Competition, and in 1977 she danced as a guest artist with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. In 1981 Llorente worked as assistant maitre of Mme. Alonso in the assembly of the Cuban version of Giselle at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. Her repertoire included all the principal roles of the classical-romantic Ballets as well as contemporary creations of Cuban and foreign choreographers. After retiring from active dancing, Llorente devoted her life to develop an important educational work in the Company and the National Ballet School, currently being an Associate Professor at the National Institute of Arts, also being responsible for the first year of the Cuban School of Ballet in Valencia, Spain in 1999. Llorente was also the stager of the Cuban version of Don Quixote in collaboration with Marta Garcia guided by Alonso in 1988. She is a current maitre of the Cuban National Ballet School,as per its official roster

Note: If there was a role that Llorente made her own in Havana like nobody else, it was that of Lissette in Alonso's after Nijinska's "La Fille Mal Gardee". She kept an innocent youthful air towards the end of her career onstage that really allowed her to master this role. And yes…she knew she looked "different" as the only Company Anglo-looking blond ballerina, always keeping this element working on her advantage. Llorente was also the last one of generation to retire...dancing with the same vitality and perseverance for three decades straight.

I will, again, borrow a phrase that one ot this Ballet generation fans-(Quintajoya/5thJewel)- wrote about Llorente on Youtube:

"...certainly Arnold-(Haskell)- forgot to keep Maria Elena Llorente in his jewelry box..."

Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Maria Elena Llorente:

As Grahn, in Grand Pas de Quatre.

As Cerrito, In Grand Pas de Quatre.

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Marta Garcia was considered by many Cuban balletomanes as the 5th jewel. (There's even a fan and great connoisseur of her dancing on youtube who has adopted that nickname in her honor, Quintajoya-(fifth jewel), and from which I will borrowing a couple of comments that will better describe this ballerina). Within the generation that followed that of the 5 jewels, Marta Garcia was that who kept the most solid technique and dominated the stage like only she knew. Besides that she was always extremely gifted in characterization, and was famous interpreting those roles which required great demand of facial expressions. She was a truly master of the face as a vehicle and used this skill with no shyness at all to enhance her always thrilling performances. Garcia was also a master in those ballets which required some Spanish flavour. She was particularly superb in the Cuban version of Lorca's Bodas de Sangre-(Blood Wedding), which became her trademark . Another ballet that she shined in was Alberto Mendez' "Tarde en la Siesta" (see link above), which is sort of like a XIX Century Cuban recreation of 4 female characters-(sisters) to the unique music of Ernesto Lecuona. This wonderful ballet at times pays homage to the great Antony Tudor, and it's has been a trademark of the Cuban Company for many years. Garcia created the role of Soledad-(Loneliness), which describes the tormented soul of the woman. Quintajoya made the comment that : "How fitting that Mr.Tudor-(I recall him standing after a performance of Marta's Soledad clapping feverishly)-loved it so much. What a "HAGAR" Marta Garcia would have been in his "Pillar of Fire" I can only dream.." I had the opportunity to see a lot of her dancing well into the ballet feast that was the 90's in Havana. Her Giselle was ravishing. Again, this is what her fan Quintajoya said about it during her entrance in Act II: "By going on pointe in the "Initiation" the Cuban ballerina gives this difficult variation an added dimension into the wili sisterhood."

Today Garcia is a coach and Maitre of Scaena, the 1st. private Dance/Ballet Center and School in Madrid,Spain. She is currently excluded from the Cuban National Ballet official roster, where she used to figure as a faculty member.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Marta Garcia:

Initiation of Giselle Act II

In Grand Pas de Quatre.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT2BVz_B6Ik

As "Soledad"-(Loneliness)-in "Tarde en la siesta"

In Spanish-flavored "Majisimo"-(doing the diagonal of fouetees/chainees)

Scaena's official site, where Garcia teaches.

http://www.scaena.net/sob_scaena.html

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