Carlos Acosta and Viengsay Valdés perform “Le Corsaire”

In advance of upcoming UK tours by Cuba’s internationally acclaimed dance companies, The Guardian surveys dance culture on the island today. Comments from Cuban National Ballet director Alicia Alonso, Cuban Contemporary Dance director Miguel Iglesias, and dancers Carlos Acosta, Viengsay Valdés and Miguel Cabrera round out the picture.

“Cuba has produced some of the world’s most explosive dancers – but its cultural isolation comes at a cost,” the article proclaims. Alicia Alonso´s photo and its descriptive text is a bit ironic: “Virtually blind and wearing Jackie Onassis sunglasses that might have been bought when Jackie O was still alive,” author Judith Mackrell writes, “Alicia Alonso has her ballerina face painted on every morning…”

Mackrell´s article describes the characteristics of the Cuban ballet, the loyalty of its audience, and the celebrity status of dancers across the island. Mackrell also observes that Cuba has been stranded in a political, economic and cultural limbo for decades, imposing stifling constraints on its artists.

Mackrell mentions tours of the UK this spring by both the Cuban National Ballet and Cuban Contemporary Dance companies. For a broader perspective on Cuba in the dance world, she includes comments from Cuban-born dancer Carlos Acosta, as well as Cuban National Ballet lead ballerina Viengsay Valdés.

For the complete text: