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October 28-November 3, 2020                                                

Accepting pre-reservations now¡  

Reservation Deadline - May 1, 2020

Through this exciting program, you will experience the vibrant richness of the arts in Cuba, including classical and contemporary dance, design and visual arts. Our exchanges in support for independent Cuban artists will take place when we visit contemporary dance studios for private demonstrations and conversations with dancers. Our contributions to independent Cuban dance companies support their community educational programs. In addition, we will visit the Cuban ballet school and independent galleries and shops in Havana. Our visits to independent art galleries and businesses will allow us to support actual entrepreneurial projects developed by Cuban artists. 


Every evening we will attend  ballet performances with the participation of the Cuban National Ballet Company and international dance companies such as the Martha Graham, Buenos Aires and San Francisco, and dancers form South Korea, Netherlands, Mongolia, Spain, Uruguay, Ireland and Puerto Rico. The program includes daily tickets for evening (8.30 pm) ballet performances and optional afternoon performances (5 pm). 


Program Fees   


$4200  single room

$3900  double room p.p.


Program Inclusions

  • Six nights at 5*  Iberostar Parque Central Hotel
  • 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches and welcome dinner
  • Ground transportation in AC bus
  • Bilingual Cuban tour guide
  • Bilingual Program Leader traveling with the group
  • Health insurance while in Cuba (included in the airfare)
  • Tickets for five evening (8.30 pm) ballet performances  (5 pm performances - optional) 
  • Visits to four Cuban contemporary dance companies, the Fernando Alonso Ballet School and independent art galleries and businesses to support the Cuban civil society
  • Gratuities for bus driver and Cuban tour guide 
  • Support for the Cuban People license to travel to Cuba
  • Face-to-face and online orientation before departure
  • Cuba Travel Guide and suggested readings


What is not included?

  • Round trip to Havana - travelers will book tickets as soon as group registration is complete
  • $75 Cuban visa - travelers will purchase the visa at the airport on the day of departure.
  • Two lunches and five dinners
  • ​Optional afternoon (5pm) ballet performances 
  • Airfare for a connecting flight to Tampa, if traveling to Florida from another state
  • Airfare to and from Havana from other departing cities 
  • Hotel accommodations in Tampa (night before departure) (Flights depart at 7 am with check-in at 4.30 am)
  • Trip interruption and cancellation insurance (Recommended) 

             (See Cancellation and Refund olicy in reservation documents. Health insurance     

              while in Cuba is included in the airfare)

Chucho Valdés and the 

Cuban Ballet Company

DAY 1    ARRIVAL


Once in Havana we will be on our way to a panoramic tour of Havana and lunch before check-in for accommodations at  5* Iberostar Parque Central Hotel in Havana. In the evening we will meet for a welcome dinner and orientation.

DAY 2    BALLET EDUCATION IN CUBA


Our first day in Havana will start with breakfast (all breakfasts are included). 


After breakfast we will visit the Fernando Alonso Ballet School. Our visit to the School, founded in 1948 by Alicia Alonso and her husband Fernando Alonso will consist of a presentation of the school by its Director, Dr. Ramona Saa and faculty, a tour of the facilities and observations of master classes by students and conversations with faculty. 


In the evening we will attend a ballet performance.  


DAY 3   FUSION DANCE IN CUBA


This day will start with a visit to the  Carlos Acosta Danza Company. In 2016, Carlos Acosta established a company of young local dancers, ready to perform a repertoire of contemporary pieces for Cubans and visitors. Carlos' latest project Acosta Danza, featuring some of Cuba's finest dancers, was recently featured in The Guardian as one of their "Must-See Dance Show of 2017". The Guardian's Judith Mackrell had this to say about the project: "Acosta Danza has an ambitious brief, combining classical and contemporary influences and showcasing Cuba’s dance culture within a wider international context." 


After lunch will continue with a visit to the List Alfonso Dance Cuba Company. Precursor and maximum exponent of the "fusion" style, List Alfonso shows an original and virtuoso repertoire, recognized by the public and critics as "unique and different". Founded 25 years ago by its creator, director and choreographer, Lizt Alfonso, it has conquered audiences of all ages in the five continents, performing in hundreds of cities with the strength and rythm of the Cuba that vibrates today. The Company works with the Old Havana community providing dance classes to 1,200 students.


In the evening we will attend a ballet performance. 

 

DAY 4     CONTEMPORARY AND FLAMENCO DANCE IN CUBA


After breakfast we will visit the Malpaso Dance Company. In the six short years since its establishment in 2012, Malpaso Dance Company has already become one of the most sought after Cuban dance companies with a growing international profile. Emphasizing a collaborative creative process, Malpaso is committed to working with top international choreographers while also nurturing new voices in Cuban choreography. 


After lunch we will visit the Irene Rodriguez Dance Company for a presentation and conversation with dancers. The Irene Rodríguez Company, founded in January of 2012, has risen to the apex of achievement among those who cultivate the Spanish style of dance in Cuba. With a personalized æsthetic idea of the Spanish Dance – Classical Spanish as well as Flamenco – this company has won varied national and international awards.​


In the evening we will attend a ballet performance.  


DAY 5    ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE ARTS AND CRAFTS IN OLD HAVANA


After breakfast we will participate in a walking visit to explore architectural restoration projects in Old Havana. You will learn about Old Havana as a unique urban development project that integrates community and economic development with art. Meetings with owners of businesses in Old Havana will provide an understanding of the emerging Cuban entrepreneur and the challenges they face. 


In Cathedral Square we will visit the Experimental Graphic Workshop (printmaking) to meet Cuban artists.Nowadays, this is the oldest graphic workshop that gathers the biggest amount of artists in Cuba. Since its foundation, its members have expressed themselves and have built their own aesthetics through different techniques as the xylography, lithography, chalcography, collagraphy, and monotype. Among those members, we can distinguish Antonia Eiriz, Víctor Manuel, Roberto Matta, Fremez, Posada, Sosabravo, Armando Pose, Roger Aguilar, Raymundo Orozco, Matamoros, Omar Kezel, Carlos del Toro, José Omar, Angel Ramírez, Luis Lara. They have also been excellent referents for Cuban designers of different generations.we will visit the House of Artists to meet established artists in their private studios.  


After lunch we will visit the Prado Art Market in support of Cuban arts and crafts artists.


In the evening we will attend a ballet performance.  


DAY 6.   DESIGN AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP  IN HAVANA


In the morning we will visit Boulevard San Rafael. The boulevard is a showcase of design enterprises such as Collage Habana Gallery and the Ensamble Project, the most recent entrepreneurial efforts in Havana.


After lunch we will visit Clandestina . Clandestina is the first Cuban urban fashion brand. They describe themselves as "women, and men, and anything in between. We are LGBTQ, we are of every race, and background, and beliefs. Plus, we're funny. Hilarious, in fact. Super, super funny. ´Cause in this island there´s more fun than inhabitants."


In the evening we will attend a ballet performance.  


DAY 7 - DEPARTURE

Located on beautiful Central Park in the heart of Havana, the Parque Central comprises two buildings, a colonial section and modern tower, linked by a stylish, underground tunnel. Both sections have independent lobbies, restaurants, and rooms.   


The newer tower is sleek, chic and contemporary, with a wood, glass and steel design theme set off by bright colors and textured fabrics. The colonial part is classic elegance: what you’d expect to find in a 5-star hotel in any global capital city. Whichever wing you stay in, you’re assured comfort and superior service.  


Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks can be enjoyed in several restaurants in the complex, each dedicated to a different cuisine.   


The roof terraces of both sections have pools – among the most inviting in the entire city – and make the Parque Central an attractive option for families with children who want to stay in the city center. The views are unparalleled and guests consistently praise the massages here. Pull up one of the comfortable chaise lounges for total relaxation.  

 

Parque Central is also considered an oasis, given it’s location in Havana’s most culturally-vibrant and densely-populated areas. 

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The successor of Alicia Alonso in the emblematic National Ballet of Cuba (BNC) hopes to renew the institution after the death of its legendary director introducing new choreographies, bringing new teachers and supporting performances of dancers who emigrated to other companies.


In an interview with The Associated Press, 43-year-old Viengsay Valdés said that Alonso's insistence on classical technique and repertoire worked for decades and raised the company's prestige, but modernizing is now imperative.


The dancer Viengsay Valdés, recently elected Artistic Assistant Director of the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC), said she has as main objective to update the company's work and maintain the legacy of its historic director, Alicia Alonso, 98. "I have to keep Alicia Alonso's legacy, but I also have to update the company."


Valdés is looking to incorporate new pieces and bring dancers from other countries, including those who left the cast, to help instruct the huge quarry of dance artists and young colleagues on the island.


"Something that I defend is that the classic is the artistic technical basis for a good dancer and from there you can grow in another type of choreography," Valdés said.


"What we have to do is enrich what we have today, develop what we have," she added. "Without this study of the past we cannot progress and yes, we must modernize."


Valdés, one of the most recognized artists produced by the National Ballet of Cuba, became Artistic Deputy Director in January, after the death of Alonso - the founder - last October at the age of 98. Despite its official title, in practice she is in charge of the company's operations, from the selection of programs to the promotion of dancers and the choice of roles, among others.


Thanks to a system of artistic education that captures children from an early age and takes them through the state academies to the National Ballet itself, this is the alma mater of hundreds of prominent dancers, from Mirta Plá and Lázaro Carreño - along with Joel and José Manuel Carreño, part of one of the several dance families on the island - to Loipa Araújo, Lorna and Lorena Feijóo, Rolando Sarabia, Taras Domitro, Anette Delgado and Carlos Acosta.


The company founded in 1959 has been criticized for clinging to a classic and romantic repertoire without encouraging innovation, factors that many of its members argued as the key element of the emigration of great dancers.


Valdés, who began studying dance at age 10 and joined the BNC in 1994, said she has begun to address many of the company's problems.


"Personally I would try to give everyone access to information they need as artists and that is a mission that I have since I took the direction," said the dancer, who also served in the Ballet of Washington and the Bolshoi of Russia.


OnCuba News by Andrea Rodriguez.                
December 13, 2019 (our translation)

In 1989 the Ministry of Culture of Cuba established a plan to create new artistic projects and promote a new approach to the work of dance companies. Today there are 60 professional dance companies with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the National School of Arts and the University of the Arts.


All of our programs include visits to dance companies in Havana for private demonstrations and conversations with the dancers and administrators. Our contributions to the companies help support their community educational programs.

Lizt Alfonso Dance CUBA

Precursor and maximum exponent of the "fusion" style, Lizt Alfonso shows an original and virtuoso repertoire, recognized by the public and critics as "unique and different". Founded 25 years ago by its creator, director and choreographer, Lizt Alfonso, it has conquered audiences of all ages in the five continents, performing in hundreds of cities with the strength and rythm of the Cuba that vibrates today.

Acosta DanZA Company 



In 2016, Carlos Acosta established a company of young local dancers, ready to perform a repertoire of contemporary pieces for Cubans and visitors. Carlos' latest project Acosta Danza, featuring some of Cuba's finest dancers, was recently featured in The Guardian as one of their "Must-See Dance Show of 2017". The Guardian's Judith Mackrell had this to say about the project: "Acosta Danza has an ambitious brief, combining classical and contemporary influences and showcasing Cuba’s fizzing dance culture within a wider international context."

Mal Paso

In the six short years since its establishment in 2012, Malpaso Dance Company has already become one of the most sought after Cuban dance companies with a growing international profile. Emphasizing a collaborative creative process, Malpaso is committed to working with top international choreographers while also nurturing new voices in Cuban choreography. 

Irene Rodriguez Dance Company

The Irene Rodríguez Company, founded in January of 2012, has risen to the apex of achievement among those who cultivate the Spanish style of dance in Cuba. With a personalized æsthetic idea of the Spanish Dance – Classical Spanish as well as Flamenco – this company has won varied national and international laurels.