Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami Greets Newly Arrived Cuban Dancers In Season Finale

Written By Orlando Taquechel
April 26, 2024 at 1:15 PM

“Aurora’s Wedding” by the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami will be performed on Saturday, May 11, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, and will feature dancers who abandoned the National Ballet of Cuban while in Puerto Rico. (Photo by Simon Soong/courtesy of Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami).

Miami audiences will meet a recently arrived group of young Cuban dancers when the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami presents a banquet for ballet lovers on Saturday, May 11 at the Fillmore in Miami Beach.

Ten dancers abandoned the National Ballet of Cuba while in Puerto Rico in March with six of them later arriving in Miami, according to Eriberto Jimenez, the artistic director of CCBM. Four will dance in the May 11 program.

In 2014, seven Cuban ballet dancers who defected while on tour in Puerto Rico made international headlines when they debuted with CCBM.

With history repeating itself, Jimenez says the program once again has dancers realizing their dreams of making a debut in the United States.

“We have the dancers who recently left the National Ballet of Cuba when they were on tour in Puerto Rico. Six of them are here in Miami. The idea is to allow each one of them to shine.”

The Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami dancers in “Aurora’s Wedding.” (Photo by Simon Soong, courtesy of Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami)

The company, directed by Jimenez since 2018, which makes its home at the Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center, has prepared a program with some works already favorites of Miami’s audiences. The highlight is expected to be the revival of “Aurora’s Wedding,” a spectacular staging based on the third act of the ballet “Sleeping Beauty,” with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

“Sleeping Beauty” premiered at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg in 1890, with Marius Petipa choreographing.  It is one of the longest ballets in the classical repertoire, lasting almost four hours, including intermissions.

Due to its duration and the expense of its production, the ballet is almost always performed in “cut” or “synthesized” versions. The most famous is “Aurora’s Wedding,” which went on stage for the first time in 1921 when the legendary impresario Serge Diaghilev (creator of the famous Ballets Russes) was forced to fulfill a contract and did not have the means to present the complete work.

Jimenez took time out between a class and rehearsal to discuss the upcoming CCBM production.

“The program presents ‘Aurora’s Weddings’ in its second part,” he says. “Our version lasts a little over an hour. For the first part, we have the pas de trois from ‘Swan Lake,’ the solo ‘Narcissus’ and the pas de deux from ‘Raymonda.’

“Swan Lake” has music by Tchaikovsky (it was his first ballet); the music of “Narcissus” is by Nikolai Tcherepnin, and the composer of “Raymonda” music is Alexander Glazunov.

“One of the recently arrived Cuban boys, Ariel Morilla, is going to do the pas de deux of ‘Raymonda’ with Natalie Álvarez,” explains Jimenez. “In the pas de trois of ‘Lago,’ there will be one of the girls (Yelenia Riverón) and another of the boys (Yandy Álvarez), along with Eleni Gialas. In the second part of the program, Yandi will be “the bluebird” with Eleni, and the witch Carabosse will be played by Carlos Caballero Hopuy, who danced with the Trockadero Ballet for several years and now resides in Miami.”

Narcissus will be performed by Brazilian dancer Kaique Barbosa, who made quite an impression in CCBM’s “Giselle,” presented in February at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium.

A scene from the second act of “Giselle,” performed on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium (Photo by Simon Soong/courtesy of Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami).

The leading role in “Aurora’s Wedding” is the North American first appearance of María Luisa Márquez (Havana, Cuba, 2003). A dancer “beautiful, confident and strong,” proclaims Jimenez, she had a meteoric career in Cuba, where, at 17 years old, she entered the National Ballet of Cuba. In 2022, she was promoted to the soloist category, and in October 2023, she was named principal dancer. Accompanying her as Prince Désiré will be Ihosvany Rodríguez, a favorite of Miami audiences primarily due to his acclaimed performances at several International Ballet Festival of Miami editions.

So why bring back “Aurora’s Wedding” now?

“The company has been working with different titles that we return to repeatedly, every five years or so,” he explains. “We have in our repertoire the suite from ‘The Corsair,’ ‘Don Quixote,’ ‘Giselle,’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ We repeat those ‘classic works’ because the public remembers them with pleasure and wants to see them again.”

The artistic director says this will be the last time for audiences to see CCBM until the fall.

A scene from the first act of “Giselle,” from the Saturday, Feb. 10 performance by the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium (Photo by Simon Soong/courtesy of Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami).

“We will not perform again until October  . . . We have to dedicate ourselves to preparing for the (the XXIX International Ballet Festival of Miami).”

This year, the festival will be held from July 20 to Aug. 11 at the Miami Dade County Auditorium. Jimenez has been bringing world-class ballet companies to Miami with the festival since 1996.

WHAT: “Aurora’s Wedding” by the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami.

WHEN: 8  p.m., Saturday, May 11

WHERE: Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

COST: $65, $55, $45, and $35

INFORMATION: 561-310-5925 or is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music, and more. Don’t miss a story at

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