SPAC Announces Three Special Events with Renowned Dance Critic and Author Octavio Roca in Advance of National Ballet of Cuba’s Historic Visit
SARATOGA SPRINGS – To celebrate the historic visit of National Ballet of Cuba to the Capital Region, renowned dance historian, critic and author of Cuban Ballet, Octavio Roca, will visit Saratoga for three special events on May 22-24 in advance of the company’s SPAC debut on June 6, 7 and 8.
Kicking off an exploration of Cuban Ballet and its founder Alicia Alonso, the National Museum of Dance will host a welcome reception and “Alicia Alonso’s Giselle” photo exhibition on Tuesday, May 22 at 6:30 p.m. On Wednesday, May 23, an informal coffee chat and press conference will be held at Anne’s Washington Inn at 11 a.m., followed by the featured event, a conversation led by Octavio Roca entitled “Cuba’s Alicia—Alonso’s Giselle” at Skidmore College’s Dance Theater at 7 pm.
The author of several books including Cuban Ballet, Octavio Roca is a renowned dance historian and music and dance critic for The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as Associate Professor of Philosophy at Miami Dade College. Cuban Ballet, with forewords by Alicia Alonso and Mikhail Baryshnikov, explores the history of Cuban ballet by focusing on the life and career of the indomitable Alicia Alonso. It also spotlights many of the young dancers who are changing the face of ballet with their superb technique, impeccable work ethic, and spectacular performances.
Roca’s talk at Skidmore College entitled “Cuba’s Alicia—Alonso’s Giselle” promises to be an informed and affectionate conversation about one of history’s loveliest surprises: how a French masterpiece based on a German poem, once best known through Russian interpretations, has been spectacularly recreated and defined by a Cuban ballerina.
“Octavio Roca is the foremost authority on Ballet in Cuba and its fascinating founder, Alicia Alonso. We are delighted to bring him to Saratoga to learn more about his experiences growing up in Havana where his mother was a ballet dancer, and engage in thoughtful discussions about the artistic process in Cuba and how National Ballet of Cuba became one of the best and most important ballet companies in the world,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president and CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center. “Thanks to our partners Skidmore College, National Museum of Dance and Anne’s Washington Inn for hosting these three special, unique events.”
National Ballet of Cuba will make its first appearance at Saratoga Performing Arts Center as one of just four U.S. locations on its tour and only visit to New York State for three performances of story ballet Giselle on June 6, 7 and 8, presented in partnership with Skidmore College.
In speaking about National Ballet of Cuba’s upcoming performance, Roca said, “it is no accident that the Paris Opera Ballet sent its ballet masters to Havana to learn from the Cubans. The Alonso staging of Giselle is one of the most thrilling and moving dance spectacles before the public today: note-complete, dramatically astute and emotionally true, an ideal vehicle for some of the world’s greatest dancers. No one who loves dance can afford to miss this Giselle.”
The full schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, May 22 @ 6:30pm:
Welcome Reception and “Alicia Alonso’s Giselle” photo exhibition at National Museum of Dance
Wednesday, May 23 @ 11am:
Coffee Chat and Press Conference with Octavio Roca at Anne’s Washington Inn
Wednesday, May 23 @ 7pm:
“Cuba’s Alicia—Alonso’s Giselle” Discussion and Q+A led by Octavio Roca at Skidmore College’s Dance Theater
Reservations for all of these free events are recommended; visit spac.org for details.