Ballerina Xiomara Reyes with Laura Alonso

By Helson Hernández

Laura Alonso and Xiomara Reyes at Pro-danza

HAVANA TIMES, Nov. 6 — This year’s International Festival of Ballet of Havana has turned out to be a momentous edition, not only for the anniversaries that are being commemorated, but also for the diversity of programs being offered.  Emphasis is being placed on the presence of recognized companies like the New York City Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), both from United States.

Meanwhile, Cuban ballerina Xiomara Reyes (who arrived in Havana for this festival as a leading dancer of the ABT) recognized those from her country of origin who assisted in the technical artistic development that she possesses today and with which she’s been able to enrich in its international projection.

This past Wednesday, November 3, she visited the Centro Pro-danza de Cuba to meet with her former teacher and director of the institution, Laura Alonso, with whom Reyes exchanged anecdotes and experiences in an atmosphere full of nostalgia and emotion.

Xiomara Reyes and Laura Alonso at Pro-danza

Xiomara Reyes recalled how she was influenced by the “Joven Guardia” (the Young Guard), an initiative led by Laura and in which Reyes could interpret her first leading roles at the age of 16 years.  This facilitated her developing a solid foundation for subsequent work as a professional.

During a specific epoch the Joven Guardia contributed to the artistic development of other great dancers who have achieved equally brilliant careers; this includes artists such as Jose Manuel Carreño, Lorena and Lorna Feijoo, Ana Lobe, Julio Arozarena, Vladimir Alvarez, Alahydee Carreño and others who in unforgettable performances were able to exhibit their full potential and technical mastery prior to entering the professional world.

Ziomara Reyes and Laura Alonso at Pro-danza

After 18 years, Xiomara Reyes, in this encounter with Grand Maitre Laura Alonso at her institution in the capital city’s municipality of Marianao, availed herself of her visit to donate useful and necessary dance implements to the Centro Pro-Danza.  Appreciation was shown for that gesture as well as for the presence of this Cuban artist, who with her presentation and talent has been able to represent our Cuban school of ballet in such a prestigious company as the ABT, where she holds the position of principal dancer.

See the HT interview with Xiomara Reyes about her return to Cuba.

2 thoughts on “Ballerina Xiomara Reyes with Laura Alonso

  • What a beautiful example of what Cuba can, should and must be! Enough hatred and divisions for half a century, from which many have made a living and no one have benefited.

    After 50 years of pain, suffering and divisions, we are no less than other ethnic groups, communities and nations around the world, who have made peace among themselves on behalf of the future of their countries. Except for the few, who through hatred or by putting themselves at the service of foreign interest and who may be responsible for deaths and destruction in our nation, ALL Cubans should be able to do what was courageously done by Xiomara and others.

    In fact, who better than these Cubans who remembers who gave them everything they have achieved in life, to return, not as conquerors, but as humble students or participants in whichever area of society they came from and give back, to our compatriots.

    Religious, atheist or agnostics alike, cannot ignore well known axioms: “It Is Always Better To Give Than to Receive or Do Unto Others As You Would Like Them Do To You”.

    For years we have advocated, that for us, who had the privilege to be educated by our country free of charge, the least we should be allowed and be willing to do, is to help finance the education of younger generations in Cuba. We have seen and know, what we would have to pay….in the unlikely case that our parents could have afforded our education, training and development that have made our lives easier, better, rewarding.

    Let us not be a pariah of our country. Having decided to migrate from our country should not be a crime. Forgetting who we are, where we came from, what and who made it possible for us to reach our goals, IS THE REAL CRIME that we should be willing to address.

    No artist living abroad should go to sleep knowing his former school, gallery or theater is in need of his support. No physician, educator, sports person, journalist or researcher trained in Cuba, should be able to feel free of guilt, knowing bandages, pencils, baseball, paper or ink is missing in Cuba, because of us.

    President Obama won the US presidency under a banner of CHANGE and we are no different. Can thousands of Cubans living abroad, especially now, when tens of thousands of our people are in need of our help, not come together as one people, above and beyond minor issues that have divided us and help turn this crucial, decisive moment into our Baragua, refusing to allow our country to become a Protectorate?

  • How Lorna or Lorena Feijoo cannot participate in the Festival? Lorena left Cuba without the “blessing” of Alicia and never paid her monthly “dues” to be able to come back and dance. Not sure what happened with Lorna, she did everything right but maybe beign Lorena’s sister was the thing she did “wrong”!

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