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The unique style of Cuban ballet is galvanizing the world of dance in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and beyond. This beautifully illustrated book 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: Lorena Feijoo, Lorna Feijoo, Joan Boada, Taras Domitro, Jose Manuel Carreo, Rolando Sarabia, and Carlos Acosta to name but a few.
While focusing on the artistry and spirit of Cuban dancers, both within and out of Cuba, Octavio Roca deftly explores the political realities artists face in Cuba and why so many need to leave their beloved home to reach their full potential, taking their grace, beauty, strength, and style with them. Cuba's loss has become the worlds gain.
A widely respected authority on the arts, Roca has served on the juries of dozens of international festivals and performing arts competitions, including the International Ballet Festival in Havana, his native city. Octavio Roca studied at Emory University and Georgetown University, has taught philosophy at the University of Miami and Barry University, and is now chair of the Arts and Philosophy Department at Miami Dade College. He lives in Miami Beach.
"Cubans are a dancing people. Dance matters to us, and it matters deeply. Now comes Octavio Roca, whom I have known for decades and who has known us his whole life, and he has seen our dancers at home and abroad as well as on tour and with other companies. As a guest of the International Ballet Festival in Havana, Octavio Roca was able to observe the Cuban dance movement in its own environment and to witness the Cuban School of Ballet in all its richness. For me, his critical writing on dance carries a unique sensitivity to an art for he clearly loves. The rest I leave to the future."--Alicia Alonso (02/17/2010) "What makes the Cuban dancers stand out, I think, is their ethics. They have a respect for ballet from an early age. It's been said before that no one is born a dancer; you have to want it more than anything. These Cubans want it and feel privileged to be a part of it. They give themselves completely." "I know that Octavio Roca's love of Cuba is as profound as his knowledge of ballet, and I know this book is from his heart."--Mikhail Baryshnikov (02/17/2010) Ballet critic and author Octavio Roca explores an astonishing cultural phenomenon. On the international scene, in the world of Ballet, eyes are turning to the Cuban-trained dancer. Octavio Roca's CUBAN BALLET unfolds this phenomenon through an intimate and historical perspective. The story is iconic in measure and packed with the stuff of classical Legend - zealous determination, courage and hope, sacrifice and survival. The book is an almost action/adventure - like none other - composed within the context of inevitable and fast-approaching change in Cuba's leadership. In his role as a critic, Mr. Roca has seen the glory performances of an amazing roster of internationally renowned Cuban ballet stars. He understands the depths and complexities of their noble commitment to Dance and rejoices in their personal, artistic, and cultural triumphs. His text is lyrical and linear; the arguments are rich and provoking. Fifty years of on-going defections by Alonso's pupils adds up to an amazing legacy, a unique historical quest for personal and artistic freedom. The dramatic elements include the loss of family, friends, and country, along with the cloak and dagger energies of escape, political asylum, institutional shunning and nationalistic memory-wipes by the Cuban regime.--Sean Martinfield"San Francisco Sentinel" (11/01/2009) His erudition, good eye for detail and capacity for emotional response now are on display in his new book, Cuban Ballet. I can't imagine anyone giving a more knowledgeable, personal and candid appraisal and historical overview of the topic. --Renate Stendhal"Scene 4 Magazine" (11/01/2009) Octavio Roca is a philosopher by training, journalist by accident and writer by birth. A tale well-told, by a man who wields words with impeccable authority. CUBAN BALLET is a tale well-told by a man who wields words with impeccable authority.--Hirania Luzardo"AOL Latino" (11/01/2009) Dance is all about balance, so there is a certain beauty in the fact that Octavio Roca's new book, Cuban Ballet, opens with forewords written by the founder of the Cuban National Ballet, Alicia Alonso, a supporter of Fidel Castro, and by Mikhail Baryshnikov, the most famous anti-communist Soviet defector in the world. The book is a labor of love. --David Adams"Hispanic-Poder Magazine" (11/01/2009) A blazing, sizzling book.--Siempre Mujer (11/01/2009)