sábado, 27 de agosto de 2011

National Dance Award 2011 for Carlos Acosta

Carlos Acosta, the most famous Cuban ballet dancer, will be awarded with the National Dance Prize 2011 next Monday, becoming at his 38 years old the youngest artist to receive this award. The gala to honour Acosta at Garcia Lorca auditorium of Havana´s Grand Theatre will be led by choreographer Alberto Mendez with the performance of dancers from the Contemporary Dance Company and the group lead by Santiago Alfonso, and other famous dancers.

Acosta has built a successful career both in Cuba and abroad since he entered Cuba´s National Ballet Company (BNC) in 1991.

He has performed as a guest artist in the London Royal Ballet; the New York American Ballet Theater; and the Kirov Ballet, in St. Petersburg.Now aged 38 and living in London, he feels he has "maybe three more years" before he will retire. "As long as I can deliver freshness and not make a fool of myself I'll continue to dance," he said. Behind the grace and beauty of ballet, dancers are often in constant pain, and injuries can jeopardise their careers.

Acosta has pain in his hips and has had repeated surgeries on his right ankle. "I still think I have what it takes, but sometimes it's difficult to know when it's the right time, I think I still have the quality people like - but it's not very far away now." "Ballet has been like being married for 30 years, and then for some reason life takes you on different paths, but you still have the memories of the woman you love - that's me and ballet."

Born in Cuba in 1973, Acosta has danced in the most important theatres of the world with a repertoire stretching from the big romantic-classic tradition to the most contemporary styles.

Acosta has received important awards such as the Young Artists Award of the Princess Grace Foundation in the United States (1995); his ballet Tocororo won the Lawrence Olivier Award (2007) for the best show presented in London in 2006.

Acosta says his heart still belongs in Havana, and that he deals with the separation from his family and country "by creating defence mechanisms". When he retires he and his British fiancée plan to move to Cuba, and he may start his own dance company.

Acosta doesn't intend to take over from his one-time dance teacher, Alicia Alonso, founder of the Cuban National Ballet - now aged 90 and almost blind. Instead he wants to create a new style of "fusion" dance in Cuba. "I used to breakdance, I know how to salsa, but I also have a very strong classical training. You have to be able to dance anything as a ballet dancer with the Royal Ballet - that's what I'm looking for, the dancer I would like to form."

martes, 23 de agosto de 2011

John Lennon in Havana

Cast in bronze, the statue of former Beatle John Lennon keeps its human look in a quiet park in Vedado, Havana, as if he were inviting us to share a secret. On countless occasions, some enthusiastic fan, passer-by or tourist has not been able to resist the temptation of removing his round eyeglasses from which he seems to see life passing by.

With his thoughtful appearance, he seems to be thinking that peace is still possible and can be achieved amid this hell of wars and aggressions with which a handful of powerful people are trying to shatter dreams and completely erase planet Earth.

But Lennon is never alone. Or almost never, because for any Havana resident or any one coming from anywhere in the Island it is a temptation to walk through this park of leafy trees and sit beside him, who seems to be as alive as he was when he was singing or composing his best songs.

Sculptor Jose Villa even screwed the eyeglasses to his bronze Lennon once, in a vain attempt to preserve his work, the detailed image of that man who emerged from Liverpool to become unintentionally a radiant, universal symbol that belongs to all. In a futile effort, Villa has even urged the people to avoid the temptation to strip Lennon of his eyeglasses, but every now and then they are reported missing, too available and desirable a relic.

The former Beatle, in his life-size statue full of mystery and beauty, remains leaning back on his Havana bench, just a few yards from the Yellow Submarine night club and half a block from a music school where students learn to sol-fa under the protection of his company.

Our Lennon, the Cubans say, as in a tender prayer. And many visit him
daily, in a pleasant pilgrimage. Lennon is part of Havana, as Havana is part of Lennon. As Cuba was part of Hemingway, beyond his literature. They can both be found here in places you can't imagine, and not only from the bronze statues that perpetuate them.

miércoles, 17 de agosto de 2011

Fabulous Summer Concert in Havana

Omara Portuondo, renowned Cuban singer and Cuba’s largest and most important recording label EGREM will hold a concert at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater tonight, as part of the island’s summer entertainment activities.

Omara will review many of the most important moments and stages in her life as a singer and performer, singing pieces from her latest album Gracias(Thanks), produced by the record label Montuno and licensed by EGREM for its distribution in Cuba. This CD won a Latin Grammy Award as best contemporary tropical music album in 2009.

Portuondo, known as the so called diva of the Buenavista Social Club, has covered a wide range of music genres. During the most recent International Cubadisco Fair, Omara Portuondo was granted an honorary award for her album Rompiendo la Rutina (Breaking Routine) in a sublime homage to late Cuban singer Paulina Álvarez, the so called Empress of Danzonete, recorded by EGREM in 2010.

The show at the Karl Marx Theater will be artistically directed by Cuban maestro
Santiago Alfonso.

United Nations Gender Awareness Contest

The Pan-American and World Health Organization offices in Cuba have convened a drawing contest for high school students to promote gender awareness.

Creativity, message and originality are some of the parameters to be evaluated by the jury, the National News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Gender and Health is the slogan of the contest, which addresses the socially constructed roles, relations, responsibilities, values, attitudes and power forms assigned to women and men.

The contest will award three prizes and a special mention, and the winning drawings will be put on display outside the UN agency office and posted on its website.

martes, 9 de agosto de 2011

Aztra Rock Band to Perform in Cuba

The Ecuadorian Aztra rock band is performing on the stages of this Cuban western province, joining the concerts of the local Medula rock band.

La Sitiera Music Promotion House, located in this western city, is one of the sites chosen for the concerts of the Ecuadorian band, which is also scheduled to perform in San Juan y Martinez municipality, also known as the Mecca of the tobacco.
Aztra, which fuses heavy metal with typical music of the Latin American folklore, is presenting a selection of songs included in its discography, including albums such as Tierra Libre (Free Land), Insurgente (Insurgent), Raices (Roots) and Memoria (Memories). The members of the group, founded in 2001, say that they aspire to promote through music a call to fight in favour of a new world and a fairer society.

viernes, 5 de agosto de 2011

Latin American Artists in Circuba 2011

Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba top the list of countries in the Americas with the highest representation in the International Festival Circuba 2011, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Mesoamerican University of Puebla is the Mexican institution with the largest representation in this festival, in which Abraham Hernandez and Stephanie Guzman will debut, with Bambu aereo (air Bamboo) and juggler Alejandro Ramirez. In the festival the young Mexican contortionist Andrea Narvaez will also perform; he worked with the world famous Cirque du Soleil, participated in the last three editions of Circuba and won a mention in 2009.

Kevin Flores, representing the fifth generation of a Mexican family dedicated to the circus, will show the Cuban public for the first time his art of juggling with balls, footballs, hats and torches, added to the traditional nails and Olympic hoops.

According to the program of the event, the Venezuelan delegation consists of representatives from Circosur, including tightrope walker Charlie Garcia and from the National Circus Company, juggler Ramon Mendoza and the duo Mariana Fonseca and Dicxon Inciso.

The Company Havana, from Cuba's National Circus, will present several acts of technical complexity such as jumping in Russian bar (baltich) and capillary force, an act of aerial acrobatics that returns to the scene, performed for the first time by a girls duo.

North America will be represented by American Shayna Swanson and Canadian duo of Véronique Dumont and Isabelle Nault.
Swanson is one of the international stars that will perform at the show presented from 8 to 14 August at the Parisien Cabaret, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, one of the sub venues of this festival.

miércoles, 3 de agosto de 2011

Hip Hop for Peace in Havana

Singers, musical groups and dancers from Canada, the United States, France, Haiti and Colombia are expected to attend the Hip-Hop International Symposium to be held from August 17 to 20 in Havana.

The French choreographer Jeison Tousent has confirmed his participation and is scheduled to deliver a workshop on break-dance, an urban dance created in the Afro-American communities of New York.

The US rap group Intikana is also participating, as are the Canadian singers Lu Piensa and Vox Sambox, the Haitians Makendi and Edú and Colombians Jason and Lucía.

Under the slogan "Hip Hop for Peace", over 70 musicians, graffiti painters, DJs, dancers and specialists will meet in Havana to participate in workshops and lectures on this genre, its movements and body expressions.

This symposium, funded by the La Fabri K project on 2005, is aimed at creating a space for exchange between artists and activists who contribute with several community projects to the development of Hip Hop in Cuba.