We are just a few days away from the start of the 23rd Havana International Ballet Festival, the most important dance event, that this year marks its fiftieth anniversary.
The first Festival was held back in the 1960s, when the National Ballet of Cuba, one of the largest dance companies of today’s world was still in its infancy.
This event is held since 1974 in Havana city every other year with non-competitive character. "It is amazing but it gives us a lot of headaches. It’s good to have it because in many countries ballet festivals are being cancelled, and I do not understand why. That is the wonderful thing about our festival, "said Prima Ballerina Assoluta, Alicia Alonso, president of the Festival.
Under the motto "Tradition and the new paths", this 23rd edition combines the three main streams of dance – romance (neo-romanticism), classical (neo-classical) and contemporary – giving it an appealing dynamic in their presentations.
To make a bit of history, thanks to the contributions of this living encyclopedia of ballet that Dr. Miguel Cabrera is, it would be nice to say that in times of Festival over a thousand foreign guests, 67 companies and dancers from 61 countries have been in Havana. Also throughout history 922 works, 230 of them as a world premiere have been released in these events.
For this edition organizers confirmed the assistance of 21 countries, nine companies and 45 works will have their premiers, eight of them as world premieres.
Beyond being a mere statistic, that demonstrates the prestige attained by this festival of dance, by the National Ballet of Cuba and the Cuban School of Ballet.
In the words of Salvador Fernandez, designer of the National Ballet of Cuba and member of the Organizing Committee of the Festival, "our ambition in the repertoire is to comb through the classics and to get to the newest in ballet both in Cuba and abroad."
Parallel to this event, the 8th International Ballet Workshop will run, and includes five classes with prestigious maîtres of the Cuban National Ballet and other guests, visits to the Cuban Museum of Dance, exchanges with historian Miguel Cabrera and dancers from the company, and the participants will enjoy the performances at the Festival. Up to date, ballet students from Bolivia, Finland, Poland, panama and the United States have confirmed their enrolment.