By Marina Harss
18 October 2019
For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company’s leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés’ native tongue.
Were you expecting this appointment?
Not at all. The decision came from the Ministry of Culture. Because of her delicate health, Alicia Alonso had been forced to delegate much of the significant responsibility of running the company, and so they thought of me. I’m in charge of all the artistic and technical aspects: casting, organizing tours, programming.
How will you mark Ms. Alonso’s centenary in 2020?
I’ve been communicating with several companies in New York City and elsewhere. We will be celebrating all year, culminating in next year’s International Ballet Festival of Havana.
Read the full article on Dance Magazine’s blog.