Cuba is home to some of the world's best ballerina dancers, a likely byproduct of Soviet Russia's heavy influence on Cuba starting in the 1960's. The Cuban school combines ballet training from the Soviet Union with Cuban athleticism and rhythm, and its dancers are well regarded for their strength, technique, and artistry. Unlike in the United States, where ballet is generally considered highbrow art, the Cuban ballet is nearly as popular as baseball, and the government funds ballet training and subsidizes tickets to ballet performances.
In October, we had the chance to see a presentation of "Carmen." A dark tale of jealousy and love, this one-act ballet was created in 1967 by Cuban choreographer Alberto Alonso to music by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin.