The Dance Museum: beauty and spirit of art
By Alina Veranes
The Dance Museum, installed in an old mansion in Havana's Vedado, is one of those gifts to the soul that is difficult to forget.
Under the auspices of the National Council of Cultural Heritage, it was inaugurated, coinciding with the 50th birthday of the National Ballet of Cuba, to be the only one of its kind in the country and one of the few in the world.
Its exhibition rooms display objects such as costumes, ornaments and documents that once belonged authentically to the world of dance, linked to its stages from the 17th century to the present day. Many of them have the priceless value of having belonged to and have been donated by the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso.
Documentary funds from the BNC are part of its treasures, as well as scenographic objects, which allow the visitor to capture with a more complete vision the magnum opus created by the former general director of the company and trainer of the Cuban ballet school.
When the institution was founded, the prestige of the Alonso attracted the delivery of kind donations from private collectors, Cuban and foreign, for which it shows some very notorious and charming curiosities. The majesty and beauty of various costumes of historical works joins posters, set sketches, various theatrical objects, manuscripts, photographs, along with original prints, documents, paintings and sculptures.
Everything seems ready so that on certain fairy nights, the rooms come to life once they remain solitary. The Museum is enriched with objects and documents from other parts of the world, such as historical London polychrome lithographs with images by Fanny Eisler, Jules Perrot and Maria Taglioni.
The samples of the dresses worn by Alonso stand out when she masterfully interpreted Giselle, the ballet in which she knew how to shine, like no one else did, worldwide. It is said that all the dresses worn by Alicia as Giselle were elaborately made by her mother.
The Dance Museum also exhibits a textile fragment component of the shawl worn by the famous American dancer Isadora Duncan, the day she died in a car accident in 1927. This sample was a donation by a foreign collector.