Viengsay Valdés would have been Carmen anyway, because she carries the challenge in her blood. If she wouldn’t have gone into ballet, she would have equally chosen a path to fight, to turn the impossible into possible, turn predictions and defend her own ideas, still at the risk of her life. The great prima ballerina of the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC) adores the challenging woman conceived in literature by Prosper Mérimée in 1845. Thousands of admirers beg her for more Kitry’s (Don Quixote) and Odile’s interpretations (swans’ lake), two characters that comfortably suit her, but if they ask Valdés her likes and dislikes, they would get surprised with the answer. For this reason, the most recent artistic invitation was so pleasurable for the ballerina, cherished among better in the word.
According to the journalist Valentina Boeta, of Yucatán journal, Viengsay caught all of the looks with her interpretation of Carmen in Mérida’s Theather José Peón Contreras, Mexico, with a thoroughly expressive face and a sensibility capable of transmitting the heroine’s drama.
In the article entitled ´´Carmen lives in West Indies´´, the reporter talks about a ´´ First figure whose light obscures all that is around and whose presence and absence on the scene turn the energy of the spectacle and the public interest in the show.
The repository of the work of Alberto Alonso, Sonia Calero, widow of the choreographer and ex-first ballerina in Cuba, defined Valdés as very ´´docile, intelligent and artist´´, during an interview carried out in the television space Yucatán News.
Among the indispensable requirements of feminine leading role, the teacher referred: “to perform Carmen it takes a good ballerina and desires to work”. Such attributes are not difficult to find in Valdés, a professional capable of assuming in a day a double show of two different classics and besides dancing in that week another pieces of distant demand. He has done it in several events.
Sonia had almost four days of rehearsal with the artist and her young partner of the BNC, Víctor Estévez. According with Viengsay, the teacher stressed positions of the body, inclinations of the movements and chatted very much with them about characters, individual significances, and personal relations and of what they must express in each moment. The First Figure highlighted the didactic character of encounters with Calero because she gave her and Víctor very valuable explanations on the characters.
Carmen’s version of Alonso was so shocking in the moment of its creation (1967), than an official of the then Soviet government labeled prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya like a traitor of classical dance.
Luckily for the culture of that nation, the artist did not accept the death of the character announced by bureaucrats, although the first presentation show turned into the only presentation in that season. On the following day, authorities changed the program for a classical work. However, at the beginning of the XXI century, the two principal ballet companies of Russia pleaded for the rescue of the piece, the Bolshoi called for Alberto Alonso in person to create the character to what is most valuable and shines of his dancers, a so-called prima donna Svetlana Zakharova. On his hand, Mariinsky also eased up the set-up, he produced the precise decorations, and even in 2011 they invited the own Viengsay to dance Carmen next to the Russian cast in one of Internacional Festivities of the famous theater.
The requests to dance the work in San Petersburgo as well as in Mérida, with companies of Russia and Mexico, respectively, reinforced my approach to the character, assure the Cuban prima ballerina.
While Carmen’s life was in danger in the epoch of the Soviet Union (USSR), in the revolutionary Cuba of the ‘ 60 it grew successfully. Although Alberto Alonso created that ballet especially for the Russian Plisétskaya, – as the artist’s request -, there is no doubt that another absolute prima ballerina, the Cuban Alicia Alonso, was who turned the famous Gypsy in a legend within the dancing space.
Just after the world premiere, Alicia danced it in Havana and it seemed that it was´t strange to nobody, his brother-in-law Alberto had brought that character on her in tropical heat of the living rooms of the BNC to get to Europe with a concrete proposal. Carmen, syncretism of the Spanish, Latin and African cultures, had Cubans roots, and without any doubts when somebody thinks about a supreme interpretation instantly appears Alicia, who injected a dose of rapture to a large number of ballet fans that were only conceiving her in roles of spectra and princesses. She did it so well that Viengsay and all the ballerinas have it as referent.
Within Mérida, Valdés made itself known with two hardline classics where she takes a walk, Swan Lake and Don Quixote, in different seasons of the BNC. In 2013, she received a personal invitation to dance in an event next to the Classic Dance Company of Yucatán and secretariat of culture of the very Mexican State renewed the invitation in 2014 in order to inaugurate there another customary classic, Carmen.
For Valdés this kind of invitations turn into in opportunities of renaissance and distribute pleasures equally among the artists and the public. Her heart hosts the longing to dance the piece again in new stages, but especially at home, because the choreography was born in Cuba, where neither spectators nor dancers consider Carmen a foreigner.