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)
"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.
Excellent book, chronologically is very accurate , explicit and direct on every chapter. The best for any ballet aficionado. Highly recommended.Published 12 months ago by Mario Salgado
Awesome book bring back so much memories of my time in the national ballet school of Havana ! The pictures of the city and places were we study or walk are so beautiful , and is so... Read morePublished on June 4, 2012 by Fidel Ernesto Orrillo Puga
I enjoyed this book very much, and although it does not avoid discussing difficult topics, it still comes off a little bit like a puff piece on Alicia Alonso. Read morePublished on April 16, 2012 by Hannah Banana