The Cuban art of Dance

The Ballet Nacional de Cuba is considered one of world’s finests (Getty)

The government has invested a great deal of money in the teaching of ballet and has created a network of academies throughout the country

As a child, famous Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta dreamed of being a soccer player. However, his father wanted him to study dance to ensure a future away from the difficulties in Havana at the time.

And, indeed, in Cuba dance is considered almost a national art. That is why the government has invested a great deal of money to create a network of dance academies all over the country which offer free and quality dance training, recognized even internationally.

That was the case of Carlos Acosta, who became the first black dancer to play lead roles that were reserved until then for whites. For years he was the star of the Royal Ballet of London and today still dancing with his own company.

And again… #😌 #performingarts #ballet #balletdancer

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You cannot talk about dance and Cuba without mentioning Alicia Alonso, founder of the first professional classical dance company that would later become the National Ballet of Cuba.

Her performances in the Giselle ballet have been all over the world and have made of her the legendary dancer and choreographer she is today, in the history of international dance. Even the Gran Teatro de La Habana now bears her name.

Alicia Alonso was a great ballet dancer and now, at the age of 97, she mentors the island’s future promises. (Roser Vilallonga)

The story of these two dancers shows the importance of dance in Cuban culture. Since the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959, the communist regime has destined a large part of its money to the teaching of this artistic discipline.

Talent is the main requirement in order to access the free training offered by the many state academies. In all of these centers excellent dancers have been trained, many of whom have succeeded internationally.

But the system also has its flaws. Like everything on the island, dance has also been affected by the limitations of the blockade. Dancers have had to put great effort into repairing and reusing leggings, shoes and tutus, material that would have been much cheaper if it weren’t for the blockade.

What’s more, some of the best trained in Cuban schools have chosen to flee the country to look for a future in companies abroad.

Cuba’s peculiar political relationship with the rest of the world also applies to dance: it is what some call cultural diplomacy.

To get more money, academies welcome foreign students who settle in the island to train as dancers, but paying a considerable tuition fee.

Dance exchanges between companies are even organized with the US. The performance of American shows on the island is considered a way to bring both countries closer. between the two countries

Time will tell if the Cuban ballet’s pirouettes will continue to spin as strong as they have done these years.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report

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