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Meeting a prima ballerina in Cuba

 (Lauge Sorensen)
Yesterday I had the opportunity to photograph a series of publicity images of prima ballerina Viengsay Valdés from the Cuban National Ballet. Our location was the National School of Ballet in Havana – a beautiful historic building providing a wide range of unique photographic opportunities – and also the home of the next generation of cuban ballet dancers.

Just a few days earlier – I had witnessed Viengsay perform “Diana and Actaeon” on stage together with Brooklyn Mack (Washington Ballet) – where they both received a standing ovation from an ecstatic audience.

 (Lauge Sorensen)

So as Viengsai arrived for our photoshoot – it was interesting to witness the immediate impact on the ballet kids in the school. They literally dropped everything and came running to meet and greet their idol. We had to summon teachers to manage the crowd and keep things somewhat under control. Still – ballet kids remained glued to the doors/windows to catch a glimpse of Viengsay – as the snapshots below indicate.
 (Lauge Sorensen)
 (Lauge Sorensen)

Viengsay was an absolute pleasure to work with. Rarely have I completed my pictures so quickly. Usually – it takes a lot of attempts before you have the right image. A foot is wrong, a hand is wrong, my timing is wrong (most often the case), whatever – something is not right – and I go “let’s do that one just one more time please”. But with Viengsay it was different – her moves were simply spot on every time and we hardly did any retakes. She’s truly an amazing talent!
 (Lauge Sorensen)

One thought on “Meeting a prima ballerina in Cuba

  1. Querida reina, hermosa bailarina orgullosamente Cubana. Mira que he estado en Cuba tantas veces y no he podido verte bailar. Será que no ha llegado el momento? No importa, yo siempre seguiré tratando, no quisiera morirme sin verte bailar. De niño, a la edad de cinco años, vi por primera vez y practicamente siega, en el teatro Principal antiguo de la provincia de Camagüey, a la gran Diva. Alicia Alonso. Ese dia empezó mi admiracion y mi interes por el ballet. Me encanta ver un buen ballet. Afortunadamente he podido ver bailar a todas las glorias del ballet cubano. Lamento que el ballet de Camagüey se haya destruido, esto me entristese porque siempre seré amigo del arte, el maestro Fernando Alonso lucho tanto . Como otros más que ya no estan y los que quedan no tienen fuerza para luchar. Solo nos queda el recuerdo de aquellos grandes y lindos años. De quien fue la culpa? No lose. El silencio es el mejor amigo del tiempo, y éste lo desenmascara todo. Por eso el tiempo y ojalá no sea tan lejano, me dará la oportunidad de verte bailar y difrutarte. Yo te juro por el viento y por mi corazón que yo te admiro, te mando flores todas las noches telepaticamente cuando estoy mirando tus videos, que los repito y los repito y no me canso. Mis mas sinceras felicitaciones. Cuba, el dia que tu nasistes cogió una medalla de oro. Dios nos mando una rosa y nosotros el pueblo obtuvo un tesoro. Larga vida te deseo y yo se que tu eres la bailarina que esperabamos, la estrella del futuro. El ballet eres tu. A sus pies, su magesta la mas grande. Gracias.

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