Ballet master draws on her family roots

Updated: 2015-02-02 07:35

By Mike Peters(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Alonso has brought groups of top Cuban dancers to China twice before, but "Don't ask me when or how long ago!" she laughs.

"Last time I was in China, everything was very gray. Now, it's full of life. The new buildings are fabulous-the architecture is impressive. People are full of energy."

Prodanza's usual energy is flagging a bit this morning, after an extended reception dinner with local officials in Wuhan.

"Oh my gosh, the ganbei! I don't drink or smoke, so it almost drove me crazy," she says, laughing. "Somebody showed me how to fill the glass with water so they would not keep filling with the liquor. But everyone is so friendly and warm, you get caught up in it."

Alonso, who has included a two-hour production of Swan Lake in the current tour as a tribute to her parents, says that as a child, her famous mother never made her feel like she was growing up with a legend.

"She was just my mom. Other people always think it's a big deal. To me, it's normal. Doesn't every mother dance?

"What she is," Alonso says of her 93-year-old mother, "is BRAVE. I have never met a person who has more courage than her. She has danced blind now for a long time. I remember she once danced in Canada with a fractured ankle. It was Coppelia."

While Alonso says she always admired her mother's example, it was her father who pushed her to dance: "He needed dancers in the corps de ballet-I was 11 and I was there. Cuba didn't have many dancers at that point.

"But I was lucky in the family I had: I learned performing from mother, teaching from my father. My uncle was a choreographer-he did a very famous Carmen. My son is now a choreographer."