From my Belvedere

Adriana GarciaHaines

Adriana GarciaHaines

"Black and White" (2014), gem of the great Cuban-Ukrainian photographer Artyom Shlapachenko. In the photo appears the first dancer of the National Ballet of Cuba Grettel Morej n n in Odile's character

In the Greater Antilles, the pioneer in the interpretation of the Odette-Odile duality-white and black swan-was Alicia Alonso, while still a student.

of classical dance. His teacher, the Ukrainian Nicolai Yavorski, the first director of the Ballet School of the Pro-Arte Musical Society of Havana, founded in 1931, specially choreographed for her a version of "The Lake of the Swans", whose premiere was May 10, 1937, in the Havana Theater Auditorium - nowadays Amadeo Roldán - next to the students of Pro-Arte and having as a partner the invited dancer Robert Belsky, of the Ballets Russes de Montecarlo, who danced under the pseudonym of Emilio Laurens.

After her debut as a student in this ballet, La Alonso had to wait until 1940 to dance for the first time the country trois of the first act, alongside the legendary Nora Kaye and Leon Danielian, the same year that the New Yorker Ballet Theater exhaled its first breath as a company.

Four years later, in the version established by the American Ballet Theater, the mythical Cuban dancer put on the feathery little tutu of Odette, in the grand pas de deux of the second act; and already by 1948, accompanied by Igor Youskevitch, she was dressed in black tutu to begin to write her own legend: that of the unrepeatable embroideries "6" pirouettes of variation, the 32 Fouette and the vaunted 'vaquitas' of the coda .

A few days later, on October 31, the prestigious couple played the pas de deux of the "Black Swan". In 1946, Youskevich had started a brilliant career with the Ballet Theater. Notable connoisseurs of classical dance have revered their dramatic force and interpretive purity. Erik Bruhn, "noble danseur par excellence", said that he was only interested in the role of Albrecth after seeing Youskevich dancing it. In the late 1940s, the great Ukrainian dancer was already the regular partenaire of Alicia Alonso. In 1953, the English maître and choreographer Mary Skeaping mounted "Swan Lake" for the Ballet Alicia Alonso, according to the version by Nicolai Sergueiev. The premiere took place at the Auditorium in 1954, with Alonso, Royes Fernandez and Charles Dickson, in the characters of Odette-Odile, Prince Siegfried and the sorcerer von Rothbart, respectively.

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the wake of the great partners who escorted the mythical Cuban, were joined by the British dancer of Irish origin Anton Dolin - with whom I had the honor of meeting in Havana in the seventies - André Eglevsky, the mentioned Youskevitch, John Kriza, Erick Bruhn and Royez Fernández, that is, cream of the forties and fifties of last century in the olimpo of classical dance.

The original choreography of "El lago ...", created by Marius Petipa and Liev Ivanov, with the colorful seductive and orchestral lyricism of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, has now changed. This implies the need for an excellent reconstruction of the original, a careful recreation of the style and expressive modes of the era in which it was devised.

In his version of the first act, among other resources, does not dismiss the metatheatre. In the second and fourth acts, characterized by their incorporeal purity, he emphasizes the straight line: triangles, diagonals and crosses in rows. In turn, the Cuban swans are distinguished by the well pronounced wrists of the broken hands, suggesting the small head of the idealized bird of white plumage, long and flexible neck.

In the Cuban representation of the "Swan black "highlights a challenging technical rigor, something to expect in a montage made by an authority of virtuosity as it has been Alicia Alonso. An admirable peculiarity in this version is the famous sequence of "sautés arabesque sur le pointe en penché", known in the balletistic slang of the island as 'vaquitas', or leaps over the point advancing backwards.

In the establishment of the Caribbean company, the traditional fourth act is replaced by an epilogue that links it to the third, without the need for interruptions, which confers fluidity to the development of a plot in which the spell edifying love and goodness prevail over the forces of evil. "It's about rescuing the essence of romanticism and classicism," Alonso said, "making them viable for the public today, which, in my opinion, is the best way to respect the classics."His exceptional reception of this adage, at an age when almost all his contemporaries had to settle for watching her from an armchair, forced him to continue dancing it in concert programs. The tempo of the music became slower in order to emphasize the romantic expressive love between the swan princess and her noble suitor. "I have noticed that in recent years there has been a tendency in some interpreters to include this fragment in concerts and to dance in a slower tempo, which has made me very happy, to see that my intention has been understood," imperishable Cuban Odette.

In exposing his conception of the Black Swan, Alonso confesses the intense sensuality that encloses the character within the classic expression. Although clarifies that "in no case Odile is a 'femme fatale' in the Hollywood way, mistake that some interpreters incur. Another contrast that weighs with extreme refined care in the Cuban setting is the moment when Odile separates from the Prince suddenly, seconds after having experienced a shared effluvium of sensual tenderness in the adage, reaffirming - through instinctive evasion - its condition at the same time as - the idyllic breath that precedes it - suggests vulnerability to the loving pronouncements of the noble companion.

Odile gradually evolves in its interpretive intensity, starting from a certain moderation, arrogant suspicion of the acceptance of all in the party of palace, and especially of Siegfried -, until desplayarse in the sinister famous refined ridicule, at the end the so applauded pas de deux.