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Great Cuban Ballerinas of the 60's, 70's and 80's-(VIII)


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Maria Elena Llorente was the only blond 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 the delicate, shy, but ALWAYS precise and 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 was what it was, an always pleasan 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 Alicia Alonso, Marta Mahr, Fernando Alonso, Alexandra Fedorova, 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 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 headed by Alicia 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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Thank you bringing up the past glories of the Cuban National Ballet, and very objectively, I must say. I shall read all those posts and revel in the memories of the golden age of the cuban ballet, dancers that gave me countless hous of estethic pleasure, some of whom I had the priviledge of knowing personally. Thank you again!!

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