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Cuban Ballet Hardcover – September 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith; First Edition (1 in number line) edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423607589
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423607588
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 8.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,380,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 2010-02-17)

"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 2010-02-17)

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 2009-11-01)

The product of years of research and a lifetime of commitment to Cuban arts and culture, Roca's book explores the history of Cuban ballet… Roca is quick to point out that the Cuban dance diaspora is giving the island a cultural importance that is disproportionate to its size. (The entire Cuban population of 11 million, he notes, could fit comfortably in greater Moscow, London or New York.) Yet these Cubans are retaining their cultural heritage. He believes they say with every step, "No, you will not take Cuba away from me."

(San Francisco Chronicle 2009-11-01)

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 2009-11-01)

A blazing, sizzling book.

(Siempre Mujer 2009-11-01)

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 2009-11-01)

This is now the Bible of Cuban ballet.

(EL SHOW DE MARIA ELVIRA, MEGA-TV 2009-11-01)

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 2009-11-01)

From the Inside Flap

"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,from his foreword to Octavio Roca's Cuban Ballet.

"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, from her foreword to Octavio Roca's Cuban Ballet.


More About the Author

In his foreword to Octavio Roca's new Cuban Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov writes: "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."

Alicia Alonso, the indomitable founder of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and one of icons of dance history, says in her foreword to Octavio's book: "Cubans are a dancing people. Dance matters to us, and it matters deeply. Octavio Roca, whom I have known for decades and who has known us his whole life, 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."

Octavio Roca has been music and dance critic for The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and the Miami New Times. He wrote Scotto, More Than A Diva, and his works for the stage include commissioned translations of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, Mascagni's Our Friend Fritz, Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice, and Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, as well as the original libretto for Lucia Hwong's oratorio The Unwelcome Rhythm of Your Pulse. He studied at Emory University and Georgetown University, has taught philosophy at the University of Miami and Barry University, has lectured on the arts at the Smithsonian Institution and at the Catalan Theater Institute of the University of Barcelona, and is now chair of the Arts and Philosophy Department at Miami Dade College. He lives in Miami Beach, where he used to be a lifeguard a while back.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alma Flor Ada on November 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a book to be treasured forever. The lavish presentation and the unique collection of photos compliment the text on this book product of passion, scholarship and excellent writing.
Roca history of Cuban ballet, rich in detail, comes alive with his admirable prose. Only someone with Roca's intimate knowledge of ballet could describe dance, which is movement, through text, without loosing any of its charm, rather making it come alive as we read it.
Any book about Cuba becomes suspect of having a political agenda. Yet, Rosa is capable of situating the history of Cuabn ballet within the broader scope of the World impact it has today. He has been able to discover and describe those elusive combination of history, culture, environment and tradition that have resulted in a classical form with an unmistakable Cuban "accent."
As a Cuban and a ballet lover I could not have wished for a better book. I have enjoyed every sentence, every page, every photo, and know I will continue to do so. Alma Flor Ada [...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter P. Fuchs on September 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When I was a child my father was the orchestra conductor for the Miami Ballet under Edward Villela. So I think I have some cred in reviewing this great endeavor, even though I am no dance expert. I have seen a lot of Cuban Ballet on the wonderful Classic Arts Showcase, and it is terrific. What a great idea for a book! There is so much profundity in this aspect of Cuban culture, clearly. And, as I remember Octavio, on a Music Critics junket to San Antonio --- pointing all the cute male couples riding in boats on their famous River Walk-- he is just the person for this special world. Plus of course all the aesthetic erudition. Felicitaciones!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MARAY M. STOWELL on January 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cuban Ballet
This meticulously researched book with its compilation of beautiful photographs incorporates the best of the history of ballet and the pleasure of reading excellent literature. My only disappointment is that the print is not dark enough which makes it a bit difficult to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elf on December 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great pictures. Dull read. Even the descriptions of pictures were paragraphs. Very thick read. Probably because English was a second language.
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By Mario Salgado on April 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book, chronologically is very accurate , explicit and direct on every chapter. The best for any ballet aficionado. Highly recommended.
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