Dancer Viengsay Valdes grateful for new Cuban president's support of ballet

    12 de mayo de 2018

    Merida, Mexico, May 12 (efe-epa).- Viengsay Valdes, National Ballet of Cuba's principal dancer, praised new Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel's "continued support" of ballet, which is "the strength that moves Cuban culture around the world."

    Valdes, born in Havana in 1976, recently arrived in Merida, the capital of the southeastern Mexican state of Yucatan, where she will perform Don Quixote on Sunday before continuing her tour in Chicago, Washington and New York.

    During an interview with EFE, Valdes said that the National Ballet of Cuba had always been a crucial institution while Fidel Castro was president and that "this would remain the same" with Diaz-Canel, who was sworn in on April 19.

    "The National Ballet of Cuba has received the support of the State since 1959, when the Revolution succeeded, because it is the strength that moves Cuban culture around the world," the award-winning dancer said.

    Valdes added that the importance of the National Ballet of Cuba is in large part the fruit of the life work of Alicia Alonso, who is the company's founder and first dancer, as well as one of the world's most renowned ballerinas.

    Valdes, who is Alonso's apprentice and successor, said she was thrilled to be part of her country's cultural and artistic legacy.

    "Now it is my turn to pass on to the new generations the skills that Alicia Alonso taught me," she said.

    The dance company will start its US tour on May 16, an "important" event, since "it has been a long time since the company has travelled to the United States, due to the tense relationship" between Washington and Havana, Valdes explained.

    The dancer, who is known for her roles in Don Quixote, Carmen, Swan Lake and Giselle, said she was delighted to perform in Merida again, where she is "very well received."

    Valdes will be performing with the National Ballet of Cuba's male principal dancer Patricio Reve.

    "Don Quixote is one of my favorite ballets and I am very excited to present it for the first time in Merida," Reve said, who became a member of the company three years ago.

    Reve was also excited to perform in the United States, to continue to learn about international trends in dance.

    "There are new dance forms, new styles and a more demanding audience," Reve said, adding that "classical ballet, however, will never cease to be wonderful."

    By Martha Esther Lopez Huan.