Cuban publishes book on history of ballet

A fascinating encyclopaedia on the history of ballet in the island nation of Cuba, from its first traces in the 18th century till date, has been launched after a rigorous research, the Prensa Latina news agency reported.

Author Miguel Cabrera, also the historian of the National Ballet of Cuba directed by prima ballerina Alicia Alonso, started his book with the first hints of classical dance in Havana in the 1800s.

John Guillet, a dance teacher of French or Catalonian origin, arrived in Cuba in July 1800 to work in a theatre under construction in an area where today stands the National Capitol, the seat of government in Cuba until after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and now home to the Cuban Academy of Sciences.

Guillet was the first to establish the rules for classic dance. Two months later, in September, the first ballet show took place in Cuba. It was the "The Loggers", a pantomime dance.

The author who says he can remain awake for three days, if necessary, to check over and over again a detail, walks with ease through the 360 pages of the book.

He writes about happy discoveries, like the premiere of the complete version of "Giselle" in 1849 in the former Tacon theatre in Havana.

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