The Royal Ballet in Cuba A Memorable Dance Event

The Royal Ballet in Cuba A Memorable Dance Event

Theatre & Performing Arts

By: Pedro Quiroga Jimenez / Photos by Ismael Francisco and Royal Ballet Archives

The Cuban public's expectations were more than satisfied in July with the London Royal Ballet's five memorable performances notable for choreographic diversity and the long awaited performances by Spanish Tamara Rojo and Cuban Carlos Acosta.

The Royal Ballet in Cuba A Memorable Dance EventRojo and Acosta, leading members of the famous British company, treated the audiences to virtuoso performances of the pas de deux of Le Corsaire for three emot ional and ovation laden nights at Havana Gran Teatro.

The ensemble's contemporaneousness shone in Chroma, by choreographer Wayne McGregor, who tests the physical efforts of each dancer in a game that lays bare the theory of knowledge about the human body. The cleanl iness in technique and visible expressive force of each of the performers demonstrated the intensity of a spectacle marked by suggest ive breaks from the classical line.

The Royal Ballet in Cuba A Memorable Dance EventThe light and pleasing divertimentos harvested another round of applause.

Alina Cojocaru and José Mart in showed their acting talent in the pas de deux, Voices of Spring, in which they effortlessly execute a sense of movement defying gravity, as in a waltz.

Roberta Márquez and Edward Watson performed Romeo and Jul iet's balcony scene, choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan, who sets Shakespeare's plot among the top 20th Century classics with the imposing score by Prokofiev.

The Royal Ballet in Cuba A Memorable Dance EventAnother pas de deux, Farewell, allowed Mara Galeazzi's intense arabesques and Thiago Soares's leaps and turns to not only express love, but a diatribe against destiny.

Thais, a pas de deux interpreted by Leanne Benjamín and David Makhatel i, responded to the musical lyricism that inspired Massenet's opera, saturated with an ethereal and romantic humour conceived by the late choreographer Frederick Ashton. Ashton's 1976 A Month in the Country, a free adaptation of Russian novel ist Ivan Turgueniev's play, placed Zenaida Janowsky in the leading role on the Havana stage.

A highl ight of the program was the homage paid to Cuba's Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso by both Cuban and British dancers.

The Royal Ballet in Cuba A Memorable Dance EventTamara Rojo, Spanish prima ballerina and Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet, was precise, secure and demonstrated a technique she owes in great measure to the Cuban school, during her performance with Cuban dancer Joel Carreño in the pas de deux of Act III of Don Quixote.

Cuban National Ballet's prima ballerina, Viengsay Valdés, roused enthusiasm with her customary balance and fouettes in the pas de deux The Black Swan, accompanied by Brazil ian Thiago Soares.

The Royal Ballet in Cuba A Memorable Dance EventJohan Kobborg's choreography of Les Lutins (the musicians) was pleasant and brief performed by Al ina Cojocaru, Steven McRae and Sergei Polunin.

To close the season in Cuba, the Royal Ballet performed the dramatic Manon at the Karl Marx Theatre, the largest in the island, seating 5,000. Manon, one of the most enduring titles in its repertoire, debates greed and personal pride, love and disloyalty, moral ity and resentment.

The Royal Ballet, together with art ist ic director Dame Monica Mason, returned to England with a feel ing common to Cubans: as she said, having shared a moment memorable in every sense.