Association des Amis des Ballets de Monte-Carlo Makes Historic Visit to Cuba


monte carlo balletHAVANA TIMES – The Association des Amis des Ballets de Monte-Carlo (The Association of the Friends of the Monte-Carlo Ballet) is pleased to announce the conclusion of its successful and historic visit to Cuba.

Between October 28th and November 2nd, the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, one of the world’s pre-eminent ballet companies, conducted a historic visit to Cuba.

The Ballets de Monte-Carlo was led during the visit by its President, HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover, participating in a rare foreign engagement; and by its Artistic Director Jean-Christophe Maillot, who is one of the most prominent living choreographers, having created about 80, including 40 ballets for the Company of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo.

The visit, which was the Company’s first ever to Cuba, was sponsored and arranged by the Association.

Under the aegis of the Association and its President Tetiana Bersheda, the Ballets de Monte-Carlo gave three special performances of its production of Cinderella by Sergey Prokofiev, a version of the work especially choreographed by Maestro Maillot.

The performances at the National Theatre in Havana were attended by nearly three thousand people, underlining the continuing popularity of world class ballet amongst the people of Cuba.

The Association chose to visit Cuba because of its deep appreciation for the wonderful tradition of ballet in the country, a tradition that has endured through decades of momentous social, political and economic change.

Above all, the Association saw the visit as a very valuable opportunity for cultural exchange between Cuba and Monaco, and as a chance to support ballet in Cuba.

Ballet School
Ballet School

In Cuba, ballet is personified by nobody better than it is by Alicia Alonso, the nation’s legendary Prima Ballerina and founder of the Cuba National Ballet. Now in her tenth decade, Ms Alonso remains a powerful custodian and symbol of the great national tradition, as well as an international icon who continues to inspire millions of ballet lovers around the world.

Accordingly, it was the privilege and great honour of the Association to organize fundraising and support the visit to Cuba during which a private meeting took place between Ms Alonso and HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover. Also present at that meeting were Jean-Christophe Maillot; and the company’s star ballerina, Bernice Coppieters.

Other noteworthy elements of the Association’s programme in Cuba included:

  • A visit to the Cuban National Ballet School where members of the Association were treated to a special performance from the students. The Association’s delegation was received by the director of the school who gave a personal tour of the facility where around 270 students between the ages of 9 and 17 currently study
  • The members of the Association also attended the Cinderella performance by the company on October 30th in the presence of HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover, her son Pierre Casiraghi and his wife Beatrice Borromeo, as well as of the Minister of Culture of Cuba
  • Following the performance of Cinderella on October 30th, a special event was held for all the Association members and Ballets dancers (around 100 people), which included a dinner and a concert by the legendary Buena Vista Social Club. This special event was sponsored by one of the most important contributors and biggest supporters of the Association, Dmitry Rybolovlev, the President of AS Monaco Football Club and a prominent international businessman
  • The Association organized a cultural program for its members that included a visit to the ENA (Escuela National de Arte); to ISA (Instituto Superior de Arte); a visit to the house of Ernest Hemingway; a private concert by one of Cuba’s most famous jazz musicians Roberto Fonseca; a visit to the Fabrica (centre of contemporary art in Cuba); as well as visit of tobacco plantations and trip across the country (Cienfuegos and Trinidad)
  • The Association’s Board members participated in the trip to Cuba, including: President Tetiana Bersheda; Vice-Presidents Nancy Dotta and Brunella Pastorelli; and Board members Vanessa Tubino, Marie-Noelle Zen-Ruffinen Venturi and Raphael Locatelli

Commenting on the Association’s historic trip to Cuba, President Tetiana Bersheda said:

School kids.
School kids.

“I am delighted that the Association was able to realize such a successful visit of the Ballets and of its members to Cuba. This historic trip was the very first time that the Ballets and the Association have visited Cuba. The visit offered a wonderful opportunity to experience at close quarters the rich and enduring tradition of ballet in the country, as well as to get to know some of Cuba’s many other cultural treasures. Above all, this was an extremely valuable cultural exchange between the Monegasque and Cuban traditions, and will no doubt further galvanize the deep bond of reverence that exists between them.”

About the Association des Amis des Ballets de Monte-Carlo

Created in 1986, the Association’s mission is to promote the activities of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo in order to help showcase the arts in the Principality of Monaco.

More specifically, the Association aims to support the organisations connected to the Ballets, including: the Princess Grace Academy of Dance; the Monaco Dance Forum and the Ballets de Monte-Carlo Company. The Association also aims to support the dancers and help them financially when changing careers.

In order to achieve these aims the Association works particularly closely with donors, including companies and individuals, and those based both in Monaco itself and abroad.

A ballet aficionada since childhood, Kiev-born Tetiana Bersheda became the president of the Association des Amis des Ballets in 2015. She views the Ballets de Monte-Carlo as the continuation of the tradition of the Ballets Russes in Monaco-both hubs of artistic creation in their respective eras.


Tetiana Bersheda, President of the Association

[email protected]

Raphael Locatelli, Secretary-General of the Association

[email protected]

Brian Cattell, Media Relations

[email protected]