A joint U.S.-Cuban ballet production was launched in Havana Sunday, amid warming ties between the two nations.
U.S. choreographer Pedro Ruiz and prominent Cuban pianist Frank Fernandez teamed up to produce “The Light in Cuban Eyes,” which premiered at Havana’s Marti Theatre.
“Cuba has a very rich and powerful culture, with high artistic level and a unique identity that is supported by the (government’s) system. It is a culture that has persisted for many years,” Ruiz told Cuban state media.
The production was inspired by a photography collection of the same name, which depicted the lives of ordinary Cubans from the “Special Period” of the early 1990s through to the modern day.
Cuba’s ballet has long been a key cultural draw card for the island nation. Late last year, Havana’s biennial ballet festival drew performers from around 30 countries, and received international praise.
The new joint U.S.-Cuban production is the latest sign of thawing relations between the two countries, after decades of U.S. aggression against the island nation.
On Friday Cuban and U.S. officials held a fourth round of bilateral talks aimed at boosting relations. Head of U.S affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry Josefina Vidal said in a press conference that conversations between Cuba and the U.S had taken place in a respectful climate.
She welcomed President Barack Obama’s initiative to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, “where it never should have been.”
Vidal confirmed that talks had included discussions about movements of diplomats but was unable to offer details. She said more discussions would take place next week over the functioning of embassies, and the conduct and behavior of ambassadors from both countries.