CAMAGÜEY.- The Cuban choreographer Alberto Méndez, National Award of Dance, is setting six plays for the show of tribute given to him by the Camagüey Ballet on July 29 and 30 in this city.

He told the press that two months ago Regina Balaguer, director of the company, proposed him the idea, as a part of the activities for the 50th anniversary of this group, second classical ballet in the country.

He stayed here to prepare Suite Generis, El vals and Fantasía, and fix some details in Muñecos, Paso a tres and En tus ojos, that have remained in the active repertoire of the Camagüey Ballet.

Alberto Méndez offered some peculiarities of each play and shared his surprises with En tus ojos, with the music of Frank Fernández, that “I did not even remembered it existed” and that is why he liked it so much.

“Muñecos has run the whole world. It is a choreography touched by grace. I do not think of it as one of my best, but has been successful everywhere”, he added.

He pointed out the premieres of Paso a tres with Mirta Plá, Aurora Bosch and Jorge Esquivel, and Fantasía, performed once by Loipa Araújo, Josefina Méndez, Aurora Bosch and the six prime dancers of the Cuban National Ballet.

“Here they have made an excellent job, not just the dancers, but the professors and assayers. I was gratefully surprised by their fidelity and technique that have nothing to envy to those before them”, said about Fantasía.

When confirming his return for the premiere he did not hide his wishes: “I hope the audience is pleased because both the company and I are doing our best efforts”.


Recognized as one of the most important creators in the National School of Ballet, Alberto Méndez recollected his bonds with this province since the birth of the company founded by Vicentina de la Torre.

“Camagüey brings back a lot of memories. I have come here to work since the beginning of this company in 1967. In ’68, I and some dancers from the Cuban National Ballet and school, had the chance to stage our own version of Coppelia. It was hard work; the theater was in very poor shape. Culture gave us all possible hands. We stayed in the Casa Colonial. We had a very pleasant time”.

Then he detailed: “We did the shows of Coppelia with a pianist at the Teatro Principal. I took care of designing and almost doing, with some carpenters of Culture, the scenography, the costumes, a part from the one in school, a part from the one we made. I had to dance the main role and some not so important, then I changed. It was an unforgettable experience”.

Those challenges of Coppelia widened his artistic projections: “It helped me to lose a little the fright to create new plays. In the ’70 I launched as a choreographer. I did Plásmasis, with such good luck that it was awarded in Bulgaria, in the first international ballet contest. Then came the ones in Moscow, Japan, and today there are many other ballet contests, but that was the first one”.

“I have really had very good luck in this new career, let’s say, first as a dancer, then as a character dancer, then as a choreographer and as show director. All of that has been falling bit by bit. That has been my school”, referred who knew about dancing through music films.


Alberto Méndez pointed out his thoughts about the similarities and differences he has seen by experience in the world of dance to the every time more frequent claims that a dancer today must be versatile.

“Every company, in a certain point in their existence, resembles the others, those who make classical ballet companies, not modern or contemporary or folkloric ballet companies or of any other kind. I have been lucky to work in several countries with various important companies in Spain, Italy, Hungry, Poland and America. All dancers are similar”.

“The dancer´s technique has progressed a lot. Nowadays dancers do technical steps that were unthought-of 30 or 40 years ago when I started; however, there are some things that, due to the youth of the very dancers and all that movement there is, are being lost a little”.

As a negative trait he highlighted “dancers do not settle in a company”, and that carries to the loss of the warmth, the experience and self image of the group.

“Sometimes one does not know how to tell the difference between a company there, one over there and another one beyond, because the dancers are mixing. This has a bright side and a dark side. Many years ago, the Russians did not danced like the French, and the French did not danced like the Americans, and the Americans did not danced like the Argentinian”, he remembered.

“The Cuban School comes from the American, Italian and Russian schools, however, the individuality of the Cuban dancer remains and that is a good thing. Cuban dancers today are all over the world and are putting the name of our homeland very high”, he concluded.

Translation by Elianna Díaz Mendieta, 3rd year English Language Student