The Festival was held (and will be always held)

The Festival was held (and will be always held)
Fecha de publicación: 
14 November 2022
Imagen principal: 

With the performance of Carmen, by the National Dance Company of Spain, the 27th Alicia Alonso International Ballet Festival of Havana concluded this Sunday.


Against all obstacles, against many bad omens, in an effort that sometimes seemed titanic, the festival was finally held. And its celebration —in particularly difficult times for the nation, in the midst of a deepening economic crisis— is not a whim or a propaganda ploy.


It was a need, because in difficult times, art can offer relief, motivation, light...It is a declaration of principles, because the nation has not quitted on its culture and hence one of its most important event even in a complex situation.


Creative resistance is now a mainstay. And art has a lot to contribute in this regard.


Beyond the symbolism of the Festival, its singular integrating commitment is impressive. It is, in fact, the line of work that the host company, the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC), has aimed to consolidate under the direction of prima ballerina Viengsay Valdés.


The idea that defined this edition, combining tradition with the contemporary, has marked the group's work in recent times.


Bringing in renowned choreographers from the international scene; broaden the thematic, stylistic and conceptual spectrum; promoting exchange with other schools and other ways of understanding and embracing dance… have all been common practices of the most recent seasons and creative processes. All without ignoring the great legacy of the founding teachers: Alicia, Alberto, and Fernando Alonso.


The National Ballet of Cuba can (and should) continue to be an international benchmark in the performance of great classics of the nineteenth-century repertoire. And in this sense, it is necessary to work intensely with emerging dancers, with the youngest promotions of the National Ballet School, taking into account the challenges of the permanent renewal of the cast.


We must insist on mastery of styles, on the creative evolution of technique —with the Cuban school as a base—, on the scenic projection of the dancers.


But beyond that historical responsibility, the emblematic company can (and must) broaden its horizons much more, coherently inserting itself into the most current choreographic and interpretive dynamics.


In ballet, in all of dance, there is still a lot to do. And such dialectical dialogue with the world can result in a stimulus for dancers, for potential choreographers, for professors... and for the public.


We must praise the BNC leadership for the steps taken in that direction, especially when they are the result of work that is not always visible to the general public. A lot of effort, a lot of sacrifice, hours of tension, arduous negotiations... are necessary to guarantee a novel proposal on stage.


The BNC is evolving. And this Festival was an example.


Important figures from the international scene were in Havana despite the interested demonization of this country by political sectors.


Culture was more powerful, the possibility of offering art to an enthusiastic and knowledgeable public.


The halls have been full. The performance of the artists has been recognized with loud rounds of applause. It shows that the spirit of the event is intact.


And extending the staging to three Cuban provinces, convening several national companies and preserving an interesting collateral program, are also noteworthy achievements of the event.


It has been a good festival. Adapted to the present conditions, but taking advantages of everything. Excellent performances have been witnessed. Diversity has marked the proposals. And the public has responded.


The Ballet Festival was held. And there will be others as Cuba is alive. And Cuba is culture.


Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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