By Helson Hernández
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 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.
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.