Ballet Nacional de Cuba (National Ballet of Cuba – duh!)
On our second day in Havana we had the opportunity to shoot a dress rehearsal of the National Ballet as they prepared for the evening’s performance. Not sure of which it was but it has Scottish origins.
The Cuban National Ballet is a classical ballet company based at the The Great Theatre of Havana, Cuba. Founded by the Cuban Alicia Alonso in 1948, it has become recognized as one of the world’s leading ballet companies. The official school of the company is the Cuban National Ballet School which I believe is who we were watching rehearse.
The principal venue is the Garcia Lorca Auditorium, which seats 1,500, provides a stage for the Cuban National Ballet Company, as well as for other dance and musical performances.
The company was founded by Alicia Alonso, her husband Fernando and Fernando’s brother Alberto on October 28, 1948 as Alicia Alonso Ballet Company. Two years later, a school was established to create a strong artistic vision and promote the talents of young Cuban dancers. Alicia Alonso set a tradition of Romantic and Classical excellence while encouraging the development of new choreography.
Although the school was thriving artistically, it struggled financially. When Fidel Castro took control of Cuba in 1959, he had a commitment to level the social structure and to make the arts available to everyone. “The old government was out and the new hope was coming for the arts and the ballet in Cuba,” recalled Margarita de Saá, former BNC ballerina. The coming of the Revolution marked the beginning of a new stage for the Cuban ballet, Castro gave $200,000 to Alonso, a supporter of the revolution. With state funding, suddenly the ballet became important to the country and its identity.
Here’s a brief look at some of the images from the rehearsal. It was extremely dark in the theatre and we relied on stage lighting for most of the shots. The brides white dress was almost impossible to get correctly. Oh well, it was a great experience anyways.