Cuban dance legend invites Obama to Havana festival



HAVANA- Cuban dance legend Alicia Alonso has invited US President Barack Obama and his family to attend an international ballet festival on the island, under US economic embargo for almost five decades.
"I would like to invite the president of the United States to come to the Cuba Ballet Festival with his wife and his adorable daughters to see the beauty of the art, love and life," said Alonso.



Alicia Alonso
Alicia Alonso
Exceptionally, the festival from October 28 to November 7 will host both the American Ballet Theatre, which has not performed in Cuba for more than 50 years, and members of the New York City Ballet.
Alonso, who celebrates her 90th birthday in December, began her classical career dancing with both those companies in the early 1940s. She is now the director of the Cuban National Ballet.
Cultural exchanges between the two countries have increased since Obama came to power in January 2009, after deteriorating under his predecessor president George W. Bush.
The Obamas are known for their love of cultural events and earlier this month US First Lady Michelle Obama inaugurated the first of what are called the White House Dance Series with performances from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and the Washington Ballet.
Alonso, seen as an ambassador for the Cuban revolution, also called on Obama to release the group known as the Cuban Five -- five Cubans handed heavy jail terms in 2001 for spying in the United States.
Obama last year lifted some restrictions on travel and money transfers by Americans to Cuba, but is still calling for human rights improvements in the island before the embargo can be lifted.
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Friday, September 24th 2010
AFP
           


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