News: Carlos takes the Royal Ballet home

Monday 13 July 2009

The Royal Ballet is performing in Cuba this week. From 14 to 16 July, they present a Mixed Programme featuring Wayne McGregor’s *Chroma* _and*Frederick Ashton’s _A Month in the Country* at the Gran Teatro de la Havana, Sala Garcia Lorca,followed by two performances of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon on 17 and 18 July in the larger Karl Marx Teatro, to an audience of more than 4,500. 96 dancers and 56 technicians arrived in Havana last week, continuing the tour which has taken them to Spain and the US this summer.

Cuban Royal Ballet Principal Guest Artist, Carlos Acosta, who helped organize this the visit leads in the first performance of Manon partnering Tamara Rojo. Hesaid: “I’m very excited to be going home to Cuba with my extended family, The Royal Ballet. This is the first time that the Company has ever been to Cuba and I’m proud to have been able to play a part in making this happen. I’m very excited to be dancing Manon. None of the MacMillan ballets have ever been performed in Cuba before, so this is going to be a really extraordinary visit. I can’t wait to see the reaction – both the Cubans to The Royal Ballet and the Company to the Cubans!”

Monica Mason, Director of The Royal Ballet said: “I am thrilled that our plan to visit Cuba has materialised. I have the most enormous respect for the great Alicia Alonso and everything that she has achieved for the National Ballet of Cuba, the company that she founded, and for its dancers who are known and admired world wide. I am also delighted that Carlos Acosta will be appearing with us and indebted to him for the part he has played in making this tour possible. Over the years touring has played a very important part in the history of The Royal Ballet and this, our very first visit to Cuba, will be a challenging and exciting one for us. I so appreciate the invitation that has been extended to the Company and I hope very much that the Cuban audiences will enjoy our performances in the repertory we have chosen to present to them.”

Tickets for both shows sold out in hours – and the Mixed Programme will be broadcast live to screens outside the Gran Teatro*.*

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra has also been invited to perform in Havana.
‘The visits will be among the most high-profile cultural exchanges with the west since Fidel Castro’s guerrillas seized power in 1959, turning the island into a communist outpost which has outlasted the cold war.’ Read more in the Guardian, 13 Jul 09

Watch the BBC news report of the opening night

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