Feature: Cuba's National Ballet prepares to return to stage

2021-10-30 05:06:07 GMT2021-10-30 13:06:07(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

by Yosley Carrero

HAVANA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Stretching her legs in the air, Cuban ballet dancer Daniela Gomez, 25, was prepared for performances as the island continues to lift coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Gomez, who resumed rehearsals one week ago, told Xinhua she was eager to perform again in front of a live audience and happy to dance with her castmates.

After 19 months since the pandemic hit the Caribbean nation, Cuba's National Ballet has announced it will return onto stage in early December.

"Over the past months, we have learned many things about ourselves and our professional careers, but nothing will compare with the feeling of being back on stage," she said during recess.

"Wearing a facemask while dancing is not something I pretty much like, but it is necessary," she added.

Gomez's excitement about returning to stage is shared by the over 60 dancers from the world-class ballet company.

Among them is Fernando Meireles, a 19-year-old dancer from Havana's 10 de Octubre district.

As he stayed home waiting for cultural venues and theaters to reopen, he either used his kitchen counter as a barre or leaped across his terrace to keep in good shape.

"We have gone through a very difficult time while sheltering at home due to the coronavirus emergency, therefore it is fantastic to be back on track," he said. "I feel optimistic about the future."

With COVID-19 protocols in place, ballet dancers are provided with disinfectant solutions to keep sanitized and diminish the risk of catching coronavirus.

Maria Elena Llorente, one of the company's main ballet mistresses, told Xinhua that dancers are training for hours every day to achieve optimum fitness.

"We have gradually started to increase training load for dancers to gain muscle mass," she said. "I hope the pandemic will soon come to an end."

Meanwhile, prima ballerina Viengsay Valdes, director general of Cuba's National Ballet, said that huge efforts had been made to guarantee that dancers can get back in shape.

"I trust our dancers' capacity to show their passion for dance and ballet," she said.

"As a limited number of people will be able to enjoy our shows at theaters due to the COVID-19 guidelines, organizing outdoor performances could be a possibility," she added. Enditem