The legendary Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso presided over the 26 International Ballet Festival of Havana to celebrate the 70 anniversary of the Cuban National Ballet Sunday.
A tribute to the arts, the ballet festival was attended by Cuba’s prominent pioneering prima ballerina whose influence won the country’s its prestige on the international scene.
Together with her first husband, Fernando, and her brother-in-law, Alberto, Alonso founded the island’s first national ballet company despite the trepidations of the economic, socio-political environment existing in the 1940’s.
Faced with financial trouble, the trio decided to open a ballet academy in 1950 which played on their particular strengths, creating an unusual and powerful dynamic which translated onto the stage, giving the Cuban dance company a unique quality and an edge over its international competition.
Sunday’s event was attended by the newly elected President Miguel Diaz-Canel, as well as members of the National Theater of Prague, and the Grand Theater of Geneva, among others.
Cuba also honored its ballet company by naming it a Cultural Heritage of the Nation.
Dance and culture historian, Miguel Cabrera, told Sputnik, “Few companies in the world can show a choreographic chore like the one that distinguishes the National Ballet of Cuba-760 works- (the last two they will premiere during the festival), a very large repertoire that has involved 202 choreographers."