The American Ballet on a Caribbean Island

Danae Suarez

The 22nd Havana International Ballet Festival begins Thursday Oct. 28.

“Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles!”  One of the most famous works of world literature begins like this.  And what also began like this was the line for tickets to enjoy the performance of the American Ballet Theatre, the prestigious dance company from the United States that will be visiting Cuba as a part of the 22nd International Festival of Ballet (Oct. 28 to Nov. 7).

As part of this event, and a source of pride for us, will be a presentation by the famed Jose Manuel Carreño during this festival.

Early last Monday morning I went to the Karl Marx Theater here in Havana, the venue of this noted event.  When I got there, a veritable “Trojan War” had broken out, complete with Achilles, Patroclus, Hector and all the gods of Olympus.   People crowded into eight lines, with everyone pushing and screaming.

In the middle of this ruckus could be heard a voice that said, “I’m number 10, so they’re no way they can let number 20 ahead of me.  If they do, I’m gonna get nasty, and I mean nasty,” she said as she made angry gestures to reaffirm her conviction.

Trying to get a ticket to see the American Ballet Theatre in Cuba.

A police officer prohibited “people” from standing out on the sidewalk in front and encouraged me to not take any pictures.

Obediently, I kept my camera in its case and got in line.  And because I didn’t get “nasty, or really nasty,” I managed to get seats for the final day in the second balcony.  When “the Greeks succeeded in taking Troy,” meaning when everything had calmed down, I was able to snap a few pictures – being careful that the policeman didn’t feel confused by seeing himself photo’d.

As for the famous Ms. #10, a few moments later I was able to confirm that she is a ticket scalper who never misses a  ballet festival.

American Ballet, please don’t stop coming to this island where a furious and exalted people are capable of the most unimaginable feats… so as they can enjoy good art!

One thought on “The American Ballet on a Caribbean Island

  • Thank you for your excellent preamble to what surely will be an exciting ballet festival. We look forward to your articles and photos – especially those of Alicia Alonso and Vladimir Vasiliev.

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