Rad A. Drew Photography

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Our Experience with the Cuban National Ballet

Cuban National Ballet at the Alicia Alonzo Great Theater, Havana
The Cuban National Ballet has been held up as a model for the world for as long as I can remember, so when I began to travel to Cuba in 2013, learning about ballet was of great interest to me. I've made six trips to Cuba since 2013, and on those visits, I've photographed at the ballet school, and in more recent years, have had the opportunity to meet and photograph dancers with the Cuban National Ballet in Havana.

Alicia Alonzo Great Theater, Havana, Cuba
My most recent trip, as luck would have it, coincided with a performance of the National Ballet at the Alicia Alonzo Great Theatre in Havana. This being the year of the 25th Havana Ballet Festival, the theatre was recently renovated for the festivities this year. Through friends in Havana, we obtained 11 tickets to the ballet – enough for our entire photo group to attend. We even had two press passes that allowed two of our participants to photograph at the edge of the stage!

On the night we were there, world famous Cuban prima ballerina and choreographer, Alicia Alonzo, was present for the performance. Her company became the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1955.


Mercedes Piedres, Dancer, Cuban National Ballet
After watching what was an extraordinary performance, our group had the surreal experience of photographing two dancers the following day, one of whom danced on the stage for us the night before.
Mercedes Piedres, Dancer, Cuban National Ballet
Children are selected for ballet education at an early age. Once chosen, students attend the Ballet School where they receive all their academic as well as their ballet education. Those who excel, advance to the Cuban National Ballet.

Cuban Ballet School in Havana, featuring portraits of Alicia Alonzo
I've created a small gallery of images featuring the ballerinas and you can view them here.