María Julia Landa, at 45, has overcome three large obstacles in her relatively short life, and she is still fighting. She has choreographed her new ballet “Entre cuerdas rotas” (Among Broken Strings), in an attempt to represent the story of a (broken) part of her own life. The ballet depicts this year’s odyssey with breast cancer. The music will be Joaquín Rodrigo’s well known “Concierto de Aranjuez.” “Entre cuerdas rotas” will be interpreted by Ballet Teatro Nacional principal dancers Laura Valentín and José Rodríguez in two performances this weekend—tonight (Saturday) at 8pm and Sunday at 4pm—at the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center in Santurce, Puerto Rico.
In an interview with the Puerto Rico Daily Sun this week, Landa, who retired in 1993 as prima ballerina from Ballet Concierto, was the picture of health after months of chemotherapy. After a radical mastectomy on one of her breasts in October, she is gearing up to have surgery on the other in June. Ironically, she had support from one of Ballet Concierto’s earlier principal dancers Janice Pagán, who is in nuclear medicine, and was there to oversee her chemotherapy for six and a half months.
Although she was forced to leave Ballet Concierto due to a back injury which took 10 years to heal, Landa has not lost the connection. She still teaches in the company’s Conservatory on De Diego Avenue in Santurce, as well as several other places including in the studios of Yolanda Muñoz, María Teresa Mendizabal, and Fransechi Studio.
The ballet is inspired by the book of the same name by the late Colombian singer Soraya, who died four years ago of breast cancer at age 24. Landa did not become discouraged by the singer’s death, but rather inspired by her life. The choreographer says, “A string symbolizes a hand that holds you up . . . and that hand is the hand of God.” Other strings that tied her to reality were her husband and her parents, “who have been there every step of the way.” “My children were wonderful, like little trees. They lose some of their leaves and they grow some more back.”
[For tickets for the Ballet Teatro Nacional, call 787-620-4444.]
For full article, see http://www.prdailysun.com/index.php?page=news.article&id=1270787369
Photo of a ballerina from the Ballet Teatro Nacional by Ramón Lorenzana.