HAVANA TIMES, October. 31.- Ballet is one of the things which Cuba is known for, along with its rum, tobacco, politics, baseball, salsa, jazz, beaches and its Caribbean flair. Every two years the Havana International Ballet festival draws packed houses of Cuban and foreign dance enthusiasts and critics. The 21st edition is now underway through November 6.
The 2008 event coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Cuban National Ballet, directed by Alicia Alonso, its main founder and first figure. Top dancers and ballet companies from 19 countries are on the program.
The non-competitive festival is designed to promote exchange between artists, critics, choreographers, business people and other professionals of the ballet world.
The presentations this year include classics in the repertory of the world’s most famous companies to more modern choreographies. Some of the classics are Carmen, Don Quijote, Grand pas de deux Classique, Las Silfides, Coppelia, Theme and Variations, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker (the last three with music by Tchaikovsky).
The numerous side activities are another attraction of the ballet festival. These include book presentations, conferences, movie showings and photography and painting expositions. Among the latter is a photo show titled “Simplemente Alicia,” currently open at the El Louvre Gallery of the Hotel Inglaterra.
The festival has performances in several Cuban cities, but the most important venue is without a doubt the capital where three theaters will host the shows: the Grand Teatro de la Habana, located just down from the Capitolo building on Prado Ave. in Old Havana; the Teatro Mella in the Vedado District on Linea Ave. between A and B Streets; and the Teatro America, located on Galiano in Central Havana.
For the Complete Festival Program check out this link on the official website. http://www.festivalballethabana.com/index.php?module=general_program