National Ballet of Cuba Declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation

National Ballet of Cuba Declared Cultural Heritage of the NationHAVANA, July 18th By Martha Sanchez (PL) About to celebrate its 70th anniversary, one of the most prestigious companies in the world, the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC), has been declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation.

A resolution of the Cuban Ministry of Culture, signed by the Minister Abel Prieto, endorses it and recognizes the company’s general director, Alicia Alonso, as ‘one of the most relevant personalities in the history of dance and classical ballet on the national and international stage.’

At the same time, it rated the BNC ‘as the highest expression of the Cuban ballet school, which has achieved its own physiognomy where the tradition of theatrical dance merges with the essential features of the national culture since its creation on October 28, 1948, and has become one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world.’

The document declares as a Cultural Heritage of the Nation the National Ballet of Cuba and its repertoire, with its image archive, as well as the objects, documents and correspondence related to the life and work of this institution and its general director, the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso.’

The BNC, founded by the brothers Fernando and Alberto Alonso, as well as Alicia, is considered by specialists to be one of the five best ballet companies in the world, together with the Paris Opera (France), the Royal Ballet of London (United Kingdom), the American Ballet Theater (United States) and the Bolshoi Ballet (Russia).

After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the Alonsos built an academic system on the island that integrates school education to art from adolescence to adulthood, and sowed the seed of dance even in the most intricate places in the country.

The first generations of dancers trained in this pedagogical system amazed the world in the international competitions of Varna, Bulgaria, in the 1960s, an event considered as the dean of ballet competitions, and other contests on the planet.

Significant events attended by the company were the International Dance Festivals held in France, in 1966 and 1970, where it was awarded the Grand Prix of the Villa de Paris, and young members had important prizes.

The company has had very relevant figures. Among those with the highest results in international competitions stand out Josefina Mendez, Loipa Araujo, Aurora Bosch and Mirta Pla, whom the British critic Arnold Haskell named the four jewels of Cuban ballet.

Multiple awards of Amparo Brito, Rosario Suarez, Jorge Esquivel, Fernando Jhones, Jose Manuel Carreno, Carlos Acosta and Rolando Sarabia, among other artists, also stand out.

The company now led by the first figures Viengsay Valdes, Sadaise Arencibia, Anette Delgado, Grettel Morejon and Dani Hernandez, toured the United States in May and June of this year with excellent reception from the public and the specialized critics.

During the tour of North America, the BNC closed the Arts Festival of Cuba: From the Island to the World, which took place at the John F Kennedy Center in Washington, and offered performances at theaters in Chicago and Tampa.

The works performed during the tour were ‘Giselle’ and ‘Don Quixote’, classics that pose technical and interpretative challenges to the dancers; however, the performances were considered to be historical, memorable and effusive by different local media.

For the director of the Danzahoy magazine, Maritza Gueler, it was interesting to see how some of the BNC’s young members have grown professionally, and up-and-coming dancers are beginning to emerge.

At present, the public is amazed by the youth and quality of the group, as well as his mastery to combine good taste and the Cuban spirit in classic works, providing greater strength and richness to the tradition.

Since its inception, the BNC has brought glory to Cuba and Latin America, and 70 years later it struggles to maintain a recognized quality worldwide.

This will be demonstrated at the 26th International Ballet Festival of Havana to be held here from October 28 to November 6, attended by several artists from many countries.