May Cuban ballet continue to crown our nation

Upon receiving the Positano Dance Prize, Viengsay Valdés reiterates the aspiration to uphold the legacy of her teachers

A report by Laura Mercedes Giráldez for Granma.

Viengsay Valdés, director of the National Ballet of Cuba, dedicated the Léonide Massine Positano Dance Prize, as the Best Ballerina on the international stage, to Havana City Historian Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, during an online ceremony held September 5.

“This is my personal and professional tribute to one of country’s our eminent figures. I am sure it will be the first among the many he deserves,” the prima ballerina commented to Granma.

“I saw in Leal a devoted man, as were my teachers Alicia and Fernando Alonso, in my life,” stated Valdés in a message to the organizers of the prize, adding, “Leal was able to see, even in the most difficult times for our people, that ballet was upholding the solitary star (of the Cuban flag) on world stages and making a victory of the applause.”

Given the current health emergency the world is facing, the talented artist could not personally accept the distinction, thus Cuba’s ambassador in Italy, José Carlos Rodríguez, received the prize from the mayor of Positano, Michele De Lucía.

During the gala, the diplomat stated that the 48th Léonide Massine Positano Dance Prize also honors perseverance, having reserved a spot for this art form during such a difficult year. He commented that Viengsay Valdés represents a school of ballet created in Cuba, where great artists were nurtured, adding that no one can think of the Cuban people without thinking of dance in all its expressions.

Another segment of the event featured the screening of a clip from the video

ParAlicia, with performances by Valdés and Alicia Alonso, choreography by Tania Vergara, directed by Alejandro Pérez, and music by Frank Fernández, since the prize is also a tribute to the prima ballerina assoluta, a legend of world ballet (1920-2019) in the year of her centenary.

Viengsay Valdés concluded by stating, “I hope to continue working to extend the legacy of my idols and devote myself to the ideas of my teachers, so that Cuban ballet may continue crowing our nation and opening doors throughout the world.”

In addition to Cuba’s celebrated ballerina, another Cuban was recognized by the jury, Alejandro Virelles, the Staatsballet Berlin first dancer, as one of the best male dancers on the planet in 2020.

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