As many of you know, our Chairman also chairs the British Friends of Ballet Nacional de Cuba, a UK charity. Every two years a dance Festival is held in Havana from 28th October – 6th November, with companies and dancers from around the world performing in four or five theatres. The British Friends are given unique access to attend rehearsals and watch class and arrange tickets for performances, with members attending up to 20 performances from a choice of more than 30 over the ten days.
The British Friends have commissioned new ballets for these festivals from Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa in 2014 and 2016 and Cathy Marston in 2018 as well as supporting the acquisition of other works, such as Uwe Scholz’s Seventh Symphonyin 2021. Our current commission is a new work by former Royal Ballet dancer Gemma Bond, who is now based in New York. It was originally commissioned for the 2020 Festival which had to be cancelled and will now receive its premiere on 15th April in Havana. It will be performed as well at this year’s Festival. Our Chairman was with Gemma for three weeks in January as she started the creation and will return later this month as the piece is completed, with three casts of soloists and two of corps de ballet.
A number of members on the Birmingham trip expressed an interest in attending the Festival. To be part of the group attending you need to join the British Friends, £10 minimum a year. We are using a choice of two travel agents Best at Traveland LoveCuba to arrange flights and hotels. If you are interested in joining the group attending this year’s Festival, please contact our Chairman, who will send you details of membership and a couple of recent newsletters.