Dance Museum: trapping an intangible art

Havana, hometown of one of the most outstanding personalities in the history of ballet, has the privilege of having a Dance Museum.

Alonso, who founded the National Ballet of Cuba half a century ago, is precisely the live soul of this Museum that opened its doors in 1999, at a house of Havana's Vedado neighborhood.

The main exhibition comes from the Alicia's personal collection, thousands of pieces of the world dance, relics given by personalities and balletomanes, and many others related to her career. But beyond the personal history of the great ballerina, the history of dance has been protected here. The museum has eight permanent exhibition rooms, a specialized library, an information center and a video room.

The exhibition room dedicated to Alonso displays her costume for Giselle's first act, a ballet play that opened her vertiginous way to stardom, as well as her costume for Carmen (designed by Salvador Fernández), another of her mythical characters. Memorable photographs, such as those depicting Merce Cunningham's and Martha Graham's performances in Cuba, pumps, and decorations are also shown.

The most ancient piece in the Museum is a book by Raoul Auger Feuillet, The Art of Writing Dance, from 1700, with demonstrative signs and letters, a gift given to Alicia. Objects related to the famous Austrian dancer fanny Elssler, who visited Havana in 1841, have a special place.

In one if her performances she danced La Cachucha, dressed like a Maja; and a replica of her costume, donated by the Vienna Opera, can be seen in this institution.

A cloak that belonged to Anna Pavlova can also be admired, as well as the costume used by Mirta Plá, first dancer of the National Ballet of Cuba, in the premiere of Tarde en la Siesta.

The collection of the Dance Museum is extremely valuable, a true treasure thanks to which this apparently intangible art can be trapped.

Línea and G, Plaza de la Revolución.
Open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00 to 18:30
Entrance fee: 12.00 CUC (over twelve years old)
Tour: 3.00 CUC, can be arranged by phone: (537) 831 2198.