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Gala-retirement of Cuban ballerina Dagmar Moradillos

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This upcoming Saturday the there will be a special performance of Giselle at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach, to pay tribute to the career of Cuban ballerina Dagmar Moradillos. For this occasion Jose Manuel Carreno will dance her Albrecht. I have recollections of Miss Moradillos during the early 90’s as very young, talented and promising ballerina, taking all the classical roles in Havana, including that of Giselle. The thing is that she eventually left the company and the country sans Mme’s blessing- (AKA defection)- eventually landing in Miami, where she joined a semiprofessional company while also teaching, and somehow wasting away her talent. On Saturday she will dance for last time before retirement . Miss Moradillo is from the same generating of Toto Carreno, so it will be a real pleasure to watch these two members of the old school dancing together again. I‘m also bringing my friend so he can have a point of comparison between this version-(derivative of the Alonso after Markova/Dolin)- and the upcoming ones from MCB-(which I suspect follows the Soviet/Russian generalized trend).

I want to wish both Moradillos and Carreno a successful performance, and I will be there to cheer and whistle.

Miss Moradillo @ 2:40 in “Tarde en la siesta” (Alberto Mendez/Ernesto Lecuona)

In Giselle.

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I'm very pleased with last night's performance. As I said, Miss Dagmar Moradillos is probably the very last example of the old Cuban ballet schooling still active, and to be able to see her onstage with Toto Carreno was definitely a treat. I was talking with a friend of mine, and doing some basic math, we were able to get to the conclusion that Miss Moradillos should be around her late forties, probably even 50. Hence, her Giselle, although technically diminished at points-(naturally)-exceeded in artistic development and shades. Her mad scene really looked as if belonging to a mental institution...a hardcore one.

I was also very pleased that my friend could see the different accents of the Cuban version retained from the past, so he can compare it with what will be presented by Villella's company. Everything was there...Berthe's complete mime scene narrating the Willis' tale, the pre-Myrtha scene in the forest with the boys playing dice and being scared away by the dancing spirits...the diagonal of pirouettes/chainees of Act I, the triple attitude pirouettes on pointe after the Initiation Grand Pirouettes, the full Fugue of the Willis and the original fast music ending vs. Pavlova's slow latter arrangement.

Now, the real deal came at the end of Act II. Right when Carreno was making his entrance to start his dance within the Willis domain-(he tried to do Misha's diagonal of brises)-he suddenly retreated back and dissapeared into the back wings. Little later on, it was obvious that he had been injured as some point, probably during his last leap into the wings after following Giselle when she commands him to stand up-(her Minkus variation)-because he never came out during the killing attempts of the Willis and the begging sequence with Giselle. Even more...he was still absent during the diagonal of little lifts used by Giselle to keep distracting her sisters. Furthermore, and here's where I closed my eyes in pity-Miss Moradillos was completely by herself miming the very isolated moment when she kneels to embrace Albrecht on the floor. she did the whole thing with an imaginary partner. It was very moving to see this ballerina in her very last performance going through something like that...dancing such an scene with a ghost partner. At the same time she was the total trooper, keeping the intensity and drama of the moment at its hight. Suddenly, the miracle happened. Just as she was going to her grave by herself-(I was convinced she would be forced to do the whole scene by herself)-Toto reappeared miraculously from the wings and suddenly grabbed her and lifted her and took her to the grave, where they did the most moving farewell scene I've seen in years.

She received a closed ovation...many flowers by her peers and a very respectful kneeling gesture by Toto-who's her junior by some years.

I was really hoping that some of Villella's ballerinas could had been there last night to take some mental notes.

Brava Dagmar...Bravo Toto!!!

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