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 Post subject: Re: Cuba and the arts
PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 3:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3377
Location: Canada
Another article on Alicia Alonso, this time by Erika Kinetz. Fascinating and sad at the same time, as Alonso has given the world so much, but doesn't seem to know when it's best for the company and for the dancers to let go.

And of the four 'current generation' of dancers, I believe two have gotten contracts with US companies, only to be rebuffed in getting a US visa. So it seems that even if being a ballet dancer is highly regarded in Cuba, dancing abroad is better yet.

Loipa Arajuo does teach company class at the Royal Danish Ballet, and I saw her there last month. She doesn't look anywhere near sixty and is a very hands on teacher. It was most intriguing to watch her in men's class coaching them on turns in seconde and pirouettes.

Quote:
The Imperious Vision of Cuba's Other Ruler-for-Life

February 6, 2005

As the curtain closed on the final gala of the International Festival of Ballet in Havana in November, Alicia Alonso, the aged matriarch of Cuban ballet, stood unsteadily at center stage, her arms outstretched toward the raucous adulation of the crowd. Silent and still, a gracious smile chiseled on her face, she seemed less a woman than a monument. She has presided over the biennial festival since 1960, and her power is such that she - and perhaps she alone - is able to draw the globe's best artists to her slight, impoverished nation to dance.
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 Post subject: Re: Cuba and the arts
PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 3:58 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Thanks for the link and the additional information, Kate. Alicia Alonso's story reminds me of Martha Graham in some ways - it's VERY hard to let go.

<small>[ 06 February 2005, 04:59 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Cuba and the arts
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:12 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Tuning with the Enemy
programme introduction on Ovation

Termites are a big problem for Cuba's piano population – but American piano tuner Ben Treuhaft's "Send a Piano to Havana" campaign seems to be helping. Although risking prosecution under the Trading with the Enemy Act, Treuhaft, to date, has helped 35 pianos and $3,500 worth of piano parts find their way from the U.S. to Cuba. This documentary follows Treuhaft and a collection of piano tuners to the island Americans are, for the most part, forbidden to visit.

click for more

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Piano for Havana provides instruments to Cuban musicians
By Justin Trapp for The Grand Traverse Herald

His organization, formed in 1995, is a licensed non profit institution designed to send pianos and other instruments to Cuba by circumventing the trade embargo. Though "Send a Piana to Havana" is licensed by the Office of Nuclear and Missile Technology, it is still under scrutiny from the state department, which has threatened Truehaft on many occasions with the consequences of "tuning with the enemy."

"No matter how you feel about the Cuban government...Cuban musicians should not be feeling the effect of the embargo...why should these people suffer because of politics?" said Jimmy Johnson, sole member of the Traverse City chapter of "Send a Piana to Havana."

click for more

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Send a Piana to Havana
Official website

Before they were banned, PfH was licensed by the Dept. of Commerce:

Quote:
What began as a plan to confound the embargo by sending pianos to Cuba in spite of the blockade, became a tax-deductible project when the Department of Commerce unexpectedly licensed the shipments in 1995. The Office of Missile and Nuclear Technology gave final approval, under the sole condition that the pianos not be used for "torture or human rights abuse."
click for more

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I saw the TV programme about "Send a Piana to Havana" and it was a hoot, except for the fact that the underlying problem of the shortage of pianos, primarily due to the embargo, is heart-breaking. One scene showed a young teenage pianist with his teacher and a Cuban-American piano expert. She had already concluded that the instrument was the most termite infested she had ever seen and was way beyond the condition usually necessary for playing. The young man then played a speedy piece with much skill and artistry and afterwards, the Cuban-American was overcome and had to ask the interviewer to give her a few minutes to recover. She then told us that every note played was out of tune, because of the condition of the piano and yet the student managed to overcome these problems and the brilliance of his performance shone through. The problem is that using this piano will effect his musical ear.

Benjamin Treuhaft enjoys his maverick status and sends a Republican Senator a postcard from Havana Airport every time he is there. An official from the State Department said that the reason for the ban was that they didn't want American citizens to benefit from the lack of worker protection in Cuba. Oh right! But child labour in India, slave labour in China and appalling conditions in Columbia are just fine and dandy, no doubt!

This is worth a read - Ben goes to court for defacing provocative street signs in New York:

http://www.sendapiana.com/sphbltstsign.htm

<small>[ 03 April 2005, 10:58 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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