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Five Cuban National Ballet dancers decide to stay in Canada

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Mixed feelings about it. How great that they will finally experience what freedom is and what it takes to have enough maturity to really know how to take the best advantage of it. How sad they have to leave in such sad terms-("defection")-the company they love, their homeland and family, not knowing when will they be able to see them again. Also, I just hope they are open enough to adapt to new repertoire-(in many cases very alien to their encapsulated, limited XIX Century oriented training/vision/demeanor).

In any case, I really wish them the very best.

Good luck, cubanitos...!!! :thumbsup:

Edited to add: Miss valdes doesn't seem to be very lucky keeping her partners. First she looses Frometa-(her best partner, seen on the DQ DVD)-and now Bourzac. I wonder who will dance with her now...

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Thanks...and we have the Natl Ballet of Cuba's US tour coming up soon (Wash, DC and other cities in May/June). This may be the tip of the iceberg.

Yes...hopefully this doesn't affect any of their touring. I am really looking forward to seeing them in OC and LA.

Best of luck to those who stayed in Canada.

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...hopefully this doesn't affect any of their touring. I am really looking forward to seeing them in OC and LA.

Well....for once only two Primeros Bailarines-(Principal Dancers)- remain in the roster: Javier Sanchez and Ernesto Alvarez. They will have to work wonders-(and I know they will...)

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in many cases very alien to their encapsulated, limited XIX Century oriented training/vision/demeanor

My view is only a limited Stateside one, but once in the US the Cuban nineteenth century training might work to an advantage, since Swan Lake, Don Q, Coppelia, Giselle, Nutcracker/Cascanueses, and Sleeping Beauty (although to a lesser degree) are a large part of our repertoire. Cuban Balanchine - from the clips Cristian has posted and performances I've seen - often is better than ours. The men hold half a beat back from the women they are following and finish off their choreographic figures nicely. In Theme & Variations I've notcied that the man still holds the woman from under the elbows as he half lifts her across the stage, not from directly under the shoulders, apparently very difficult to bring off.

The Cuban dancers haven't done badly in the contemporary or at least neo neo-classical pieces. Joan Boada was absolutely brilliant in Helgi Tomasson's new piece Trio last night, especially in the finishing touches of hands and feet that other dancer don't seem to consider or do so routinely.

Carlos Acosta's memoir though - part of it might be his personality - does gives a grim account of adjusting to life in the US, such as trying to reach out to estranged relatives who promised to write but never did. Daniel Alarcon's story "Second Lives" in the New Yorker this summer painted a similar picture:

Where they lived wasn’t a neighborhood so much as a collection of houses that happened to face the same street. Kids were permitted to play in the back yard, but never in the front. People moved about only in cars; walking was frowned upon, socially acceptable for children, perhaps, if they happened to be accompanied by a dog. The Villanuevas did not have pet. Nor was there anywhere to walk to, really.

And it's sad for the Cuban National Ballet - trying to maintain its own identity and integrity, rather than merely serving a sort of extended School Amercian Ballet for us... I think there's a quote from Josefina Mendez that a tour went well if there were no defections.

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I wonder if Alicia will decide to promote some men right before the US tour now that only two Primeros are still with the company. Well, if so that's good news for those next in line. On the other side, I can't even imagine how aggressively watched will the steps of the Cuban dancers be while in American soil...

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