The American Ballet Theater, performed in Cuba twice last week as part of the 22nd International Ballet Festival and in spite of stalled Congressional debate regarding lifting the 40 year old embargo. The Ballet Theater last visited Cuba as a company in 1960, shortly before the United States severed ties with this Communist country.
This cultural exchange was one of several that have occurred recently taking reknown U.S. cultural institutions to Cuba. Last Month the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra visited Cuba for a weeklong artistic residency. Cubans have also enjoyed performances by the New York City Ballet recently. The cultural exchanges consist of American artists taking dance or music classes with Cuban teachers and vice versa.
Two American Ballet’s principals are Cuban born Manuel Carreño and Xiomara Reyes and both were on hand to visit where they started their dance careers and visit with family still in Cuba. All are hopeful that they can come and perform freely in Cuba very soon.