The Cuban National Ballet
The Ballet Nacional de Cuba is one of the most prestigious international dance companies in the world and has an important place in the world of contemporary Ibero-American culture.
The artistry and technical excellence of its dancers and the inventiveness and variety of its choreographers’ aesthetic vision have won the company one of the top places among companies on the international scene.
Alicia Alonso was the driving force behind the company’s creation in 1948 and was its most important member. In 1950, the Alicia Alonso National Ballet School was established as an addendum to the professional company. From the outset the company’s artistic line followed the romantic and classical tradition, but it also encouraged the work of choreographers who sought inspiration from national and contemporary trends.
Even in those early days, the Alicia Alonso Ballet staged works from Diaghilev’s Russian Ballets, such as Petrushka or L’Après midi d’un faune, and ballets by Cuban choreographers, such as Fiesta negra (Black Party), Sóngoro cosongo, Concerto and Sombras (Shadows) as well as full-length versions of such classics as Giselle, Swan Lake or Coppélia.
The 1959 Revolution marked the beginning of a new period for the Cuban ballet. That year, as part of a new cultural program, the Ballet Nacional de Cuba was established. Since then it has scaled dizzying heights, enriching its repertory and encouraging the development of new dancers, choreographers, teachers and other artists. It has also encouraged visual artists and musicians, even for those who do not work in the dance field. As well as making improvements to the traditional repertory, the Ballet Nacional has given an impetus to a fast growing choreographic movement, some of whose creations are ranked among the most important achievements of contemporary choreography.
Besides its intensive program in Cuba, in which ballet has become feasible and popular to all levels of society, the Ballet Nacional de Cuba tours internationally every year, traveling through many European, Asian and American countries. Important awards, such as the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris, and the Republic of Cuba’s Orden “Félix Varela,” have been bestowed upon it and have garnered tributes from the best known and respected dance critics wherever it appears. Many of its dancers have been awarded in international competitions and festivals.
The Ballet Nacional de Cuba is the embodiment of the Cuban School of Ballet’s aesthetic style. This blends the legacy bequeathed by several hundred years of theatrical dance tradition with the quintessential elements of our culture to create something truly Cuban.