A Gala Evening with Alicia Alonso and Stars of the Cuban National Ballet at the Living Arts Centre

PASTOR VALLE-GARAY / TORONTO /  
Without a doubt an autumn evening of classic dance and dreams awaits in the wings. The privilege of once again welcoming the Cuban National Ballet to Canada belongs this time to the Living Arts Centre of Mississauga.
Following a triumphant harvest of accolades and honours in the most splendid and demanding stages of the world the Cuban National Ballet has once again chosen Canada to close its 2009 artistic season. The dance troupe will fulfill this commitment with its inimitable golden flourish and in the company of the eternally beautiful Alicia Alonso, Prima Ballerina Assoluta, Artistic Director and founder of the Cuban National Ballet.   
Sponsored by the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble and by the prestigious law firm Carranza Barristers and Solicitors and hailed by critics and fans among the top five best ballet companies in the world, the Cuban National Ballet will perform for the first time at the Living Arts Centre of Mississauga on December 8 at 8:00 PM.
For this presentation Alicia Alonso, the Cuban National Ballet and Belma Gurdil-Diamante, CEO, Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble, have selected a Gala Program which promises to satisfy and astonish the most demanding tastes for the classical dance as well as the numerous audience expected to attend the event.   

At a recent press conference in Havana Alicia indicated that “once again we bring to Canada the very best of our art; a different, varied and rich repertoire, carefully created with our Canadian friends in mind. We are very conscious that the Canadian audience has always welcomed us with love, with extraordinary human warmth and with generosity of hear and spirit. Therefore the main, single purpose of our program is not to please the most demanding tastes but to provide a great deal of pleasure to the public of that great nation. This is a commitment I have made and when I make a promise, I keep it.”  We have to believe the Master. In the classic dance Alicia is royalty personified in its most exquisite form.

In her role as Artistic Director the Cuban diva imparts her protégées with an absolute wealth of extraordinary experience which, after her 60 years of dancing and directing the Cuban National Ballet, has carried Alicia and the company to the pinnacle of the classic dance and justly established her as one of the most outstanding performers in the history of the dance.       

For Ms. Gurdil-Diamante the visit by Alicia and the company represents a personal triumph and an honour for Canada. “Another one of our impossible dreams has become reality, declared Gurdil-Diamante. “Alter long months of negotiations we finally signed the contract with Alicia and with the Cuban National School of Ballet allowing the great Masters of the Cuban National Ballet to come to Canada in order to teach a selected group of our young Canadian dancers in our Hamilton school the unique style, the extraordinary discipline and the rigorous techniques which characterize the style and form of the Cuban Ballet. Under the guidance of these Cuban Masters, our students started rehearsing a few months ago and such has been the success of the cooperation between the people involved and the companies of both nations that in January 2010 the dancers from the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble will travel to Havana to perform their  version the Nutcracker. What else is left to say? … Life is beautiful!”

The program of A Gala Evening with the Stars of the Cuban National Ballet in the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga includes In the Shadows of a Waltz, choreography by Alicia Alonso on a waltz by Strauss, Principal Dancers and the Cuban National Ballet corps de ballet; Dolls, Cuban music on the story of a Cuban doll and a toy soldier; The Nutcracker, pas de deux; Acentos, five male dancers, very technical interpretation; Pas de trois, from Swan Lake, 1st act; Intermittencies of the Heart, romantic and dramatic duo; Don Quixote (suite), Toreadors, Majas, Espada, Mercedes, Kitri and Basilio in the Grand pas de deux.

The varied, meticulously selected dance program clearly promises an elegant evening at the Living Arts Centre of Mississauga on December 8, 2009. Some of the most brilliant artists in the world of ballet will perform and honour Canada and Cuba’s artistic relations. Among them will be the world renowned Principal Dancers Viengsay Valdés Herrera, Sadaise Arencibia, Elier Bourzac, Anette Delgado, Bárbara García, Javier Torres and the marvellous Corps de ballet of the Cuban National Ballet.

At the Living Arts Centre astonishing Prima Ballerina Viengsay Valdés Herrera will recreate some of the roles that have universally elevated her to the ranks of one of the greatest performers in the feminine roles of Kitri, in Don Quixote and the Black Swan, in Swan Lake. Viengsay returns to Canada after an extensive and triumphant tour throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and North America. In all these nations Viengsay has earned accolades for her roles as Principal Dancer in such great classic and romantic ballets as Giselle, Carmen, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Fille Mal Gardee, Romeo and Juliette, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.

Viengsay’s performances at numerous World Stars’ Ballet Galas and Festivals in the most demanding and knowlegeable world stages of Budapest, Paris, London, Manchester, Cannes, Prague, Lisbon, Moscow, Madrid, Dortmund, Istanbul, Tokyo and South Korea, Viengsay has earned her standing ovations and numerous awards. She has honoured Cuba, the Cuban National Ballet and her artistic director and mentor Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso.

Viegsay’s virtuous dance technique and her strong sense of theatricality have delighted critics and audiences with her performances as guest artist in the role of Kitri with the Danish Royal Ballet; with Centro do Dance in Portugal, with the Mariinsky Ballet Academy (Saint Petersburg, Russia), with the Russian Bolshoi Ballet and with the Washington Ballet. It is no surprise that with these brilliant credentials in mind, Canadian ballet critics and fans excitedly anticipate the arrival of the Cuban National Ballet.

Tickets for A Gala Evening with the Stars of the Cuban National Ballet can be obtained from the Living Arts Centre de Mississauga after October 13, 2009. Tickets cost $90 dollars (orchestra); $70 dollars (back orchestra, first balcony); $40 dollars (second balcony) and $25 dollars (third balcony) plus taxes. A limited quantity of 80 VIP tickets, at $200 dollars each plus taxes, have been reserved for those wishing to seat at the orchestra level and attend a  reception before-and-after the performance with Alicia and the Principal Dancers of A Gala Evening with the Stars of the Cuban National Ballet.

For further information contact the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble www.cbye.ca, info@cbye.ca, tel. 1-905-512-1453. As of October 13, 2009 contact the Living Arts Centre, www.livingartscentre.ca, info.lac@mississauga.ca, tel. 1-905-306-6000, 1-888-805-8888.    

*Senior Scholar, York University

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