- Title: CUBA: Cubans prepare for art festival in New York
- Date: 10th March 2011
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (MARCH 08, 2011) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF GROUP 'MUNECOS DE MATANZAS' PREPARING FOR SHOW
- Embargoed: 25th March 2011 16:55
- Location: Cuba, Cuba
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVAA4EHTXD9LPT9DWSMWHRMFUGCP
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Artists in Havana prepared on Tuesday (March 08) for an upcoming Cuban arts festival in New York, the largest of its kind in decades.
The festival opens doors for Cubans, who made inroads to get visas to perform in the U.S. in 1990s but struggled again under the administration of President George W. Bush.
And although President Barack Obama has come up short on some promises of improving relations with Cuba, artists on the island are gaining more access to stages in the U.S. and are excited at the chance to play in the cultural mecca.
On Tuesday, musicians and dancers from the group "Los Munequitos de Matanzas" took to a stage in Havana to prepare for their performances at the Symphony Space in New York on May 5-7.
The group, legends of the Afro-Cuban tradition, last performed in the New York in 2002, and director Diosdado Ramos said they are thrilled to bring their show back to New York.
"It's an honor, magnificent to be in New York again with that audience that loves us so much. We are going there again to give our humble show, with all the respect and love we always have," he said.
Along with their percussion-driven show and high-octane dancing, Ramos said the troupe will be bringing a message of tolerance and happiness.
"We have to join together for the happiness of everyone. There can't be selfishness on either side. Everything should be as nice as possible and everyone should get along," he said.
Another big name on the bill in New York is Alicia Alonso, the director of Cuba's National Ballet. It will be a homecoming of sorts for the 90-year-old Alonso, who was among the founding member and leader dancer of the American Ballet Theater in the 1940s and 1950s.
Alonso, who returned to Cuba in 1959 after Fidel Castro's communist revolution, has spent decades grooming dancers to perform around the world.
She said the show in New York will be a retrospective of the last 20 years of her long career.
"It's a trip through what I've been doing for the last 20 years, meeting with friends and an audience I grew up with in the world of dance, of ballet," he said.
She added it's important for people to share their art.
"This is our world. For me, it's the most beautiful and intelligent thing a human being can have, to be together and to communicate, to give the most beautiful thing they have to offer, their art," she said.
The festival, called ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Sï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Cuba!, runs from March to June and will also showcase Cuban literature, visual arts, film and philosophy.
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