Ballet master draws on her family roots

Updated: 2015-02-02 07:35

By Mike Peters(China Daily)

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While the former Soviet Union obviously had a major impact on Cuban life for many years, including the arts, Alonso says she doesn't see a huge Russian imprint on Cuban ballet.

"Not really. My father and uncle made a study of techniques in different schools to develop what is now the 'Cuban school'," she says. "They took big jump from the Russians, flirting and passion from the Italians-and a lot of beats with your feet from the Danish school. So it's a mixture of everything from the other schools, which are very old. This is a new one, and seems to be working very well.

"Cubans, we are fiery and like to dance-full of joy."

Alonso says she feels lucky to be working at what she likes.

"I get to travel because of it-and on top of that, they pay me. How lucky can you get?"

Born in New York but a longtime resident of Havana, Alonso applauds US President Barack Obama's initiative to normalize relations with Cuba.

"It's about time," she says. "I have the feeling when I'm in the US-I still go for two months every year-that the people want it to be changed.

As an award-winning teacher, Alonso says she does not find it difficult to attract young dancers to a traditional art form like ballet.

"But I do find it difficult to get them to concentrate on working-they want instant gratification, not sweat," she says.

"If you want to be good at something, you have to sweat it out."

If you go

7:30pm, Feb 20-24. Opera House of the National Center for the Performing Arts, 2 Chang'an Avenue, Xicheng district, Beijing.



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