Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ballets and broken shoes.

Havana 256

In recent days the American Ballet Theatre had made a rare performance in Cuba. Since 1960 the famous company, where Alicia Alonso made her great debut and became a worldwide superstar and a legend in Ballet, hadn’t visit the communist island. This time an exception was done: Alicia Alonso arrived to her 90 birthday.

In honour of Alonso, the company performed Theme and Variations, a ballet created by legendary choreographer George Balanchine for ABT in 1947 with Alonso and Igor Youskevitch originating the lead roles. 5,000 attendees were in the auditorium and the performance was broadcast live on Cuban national television. Huh!, a very well staged and dreamy romance. Cold war thumb down, don’t you think?

Well, Did I forget to mention the state television forgot to tell the fact there are two Cuban-born dancers who left the company and Alonso some years ago and they danced there? Did I forget to mention the state television forgot to tell the theatre suffered 3 previous blackouts before the performance?

The state television also forgot to show the line up of beggars and illegal sellers that everyday are begging around its premises. They sell anything and, probably, they don’t even know who are going to perform that night in the old building. Ok, the state television forgets too many things. They don’t even mention how many dancers had left Alicia Alonso’s company throughout all these 50 years of Castro-involution.

Alonso said to an American reporter:

"It's so beautiful to see that we all speak the same language when we are on stage"

Yeah, I guess on stage everything looks beautiful. What about the surroundings, Alonso? How about Castro’s 50 years of oppression, repression and dictatorship who had supported your company? How about all your pride about Castro, Socialism and Communism?

Those ballet shoes could be dancing and ticking throughout the Ballet Festival in Cuba, and Alonso could be giving pretty words about performances, visitors and with her iconic big smile bringing a nice welcome to America and its dancers.

Meanwhile, in her surroundings, people could be scratching bit by bit the well-needed penny to survive: begging like the guy in the picture, or selling home-made candies or whatever knickknack to help themselves survive “revolution” in Cuba.

Definitively, everything in life depend of people’s own perspective about its values. Today Alicia will be closing Cuba’s Ballet Festival. Meanwhile, in Castro’s gulags there are 13 men waiting for his promises about their release. About those, Alicia doesn’t have any comment. I guess, she only speak the same language… in ballet.