Ballet Stars

Cuban-Born International Guest Artist Adiarys Almeida Has an Entrepreneurial Streak

Adiarys Almeida in Don Quixote. Courtesy Almeida.

How was training at the Cuban National Ballet School different from what you see in the U.S.?
It was free education, so it was very hard to get in, and there was a cut every year. We had academics alongside art, and we had to take a lot of different things: modern, character, ballroom, choreography composition, history of dance, music, French, makeup—everything you need for this profession.

Why did you defect?
I always wanted to have an international career. But also, I was 19, and I had a boyfriend. We were dating in Cuba when he won the lottery visa to come to the United States. When I was on tour here with the National Ballet he came to see me and I thought, I'm in love! So I stayed with him.

Has the political opening of Cuba affected you?
Before, if you defected, you had to wait five years to go back. That was pretty rough. Things have changed so much. It's about time; we're neighbors! Last year I was able to go back and perform at the Grand Theater in Havana—with my family, my teachers and my friends there.


You danced with Cincinnati Ballet and Boston Ballet before becoming a freelancer. What do you like about freelancing versus company life?
I had a wonderful time in every company. But as a freelancer, I don't have to deal with internal politics. I work with companies and get the best out of it, and then I move on. I just do it for me, for the audience, for the love of the art.

Where do you usually rehearse and take class?
At Magaly Suarez's studio, The Art of Classical Ballet, in Pompano Beach, Florida. She teaches class and coaches our rehearsals. I can't imagine being a freelancer without that opportunity and that support. She's also my partner Taras Domitro's mother, so she's not easy on us!

Why did you start ADIdancewear, your dancewear line?
Dancers are in front of the mirror every day, so it's important to look good and feel good about ourselves. I can provide dancers with that by using the passion that I have for drawing and designing.

Almeida and her partner, Taras Domitro, in "Swan Lake." Photo by Belinda Carhartt R., courtesy of Almeida.

Is there a role that represents you as a dancer?
I identify a lot with Kitri, in Don Quixote. It's just who I am—her energy, and that sense of flirtatiousness.

You once sat next to Fidel Castro at a dinner. What did you talk about?
They used to have cultural events in Havana with different fields of art. I got to go, and a couple of times I ended up at dinner with the artists and politicians. He talked a lot about art and politics, but I was really shy and amazed to be sitting next to the president. I don't think I talked at all!

Do you have advice for dancers who want to start a business?
A lot of us dedicate our lives to this career and wait until it's over to think about what's next. It's better that dancers find out what other passions they have while they're still dancing. Don't be afraid to take that next step. Get yourself ready for the future.

popular

When the news broke that Prince George, currently third in line for the British throne, would be continuing ballet classes as part of his school curriculum this year, we were as excited as anyone. (Okay, maybe more excited.)

This was not, it seems, a sentiment shared by "Good Morning America" host Lara Spencer.

Keep reading... Show less
News
A still from Dancing Dreams. Courtesy OVID

If you're seeking an extra dash of inspiration to start the new season on the right—dare we say—foot, look no further than dance documentaries.

Starting August 23, OVID, a streaming service dedicated to docs and art-house films, is adding eight notable dance documentaries to its library. The best part? There's a free seven-day trial. (After that, subscriptions are $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually.)

From the glamour of Russian ballet stars to young dancers training in Cuba to a portrait of powerhouse couple Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder, here's what's coming to a couch near you:

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun
Via @lizzo on Twitter

On August 20, pop goddess Lizzo tweeted, "Someone do a ballet routine to truth hurts pls," referring to the anthem that's been top on everyone's playlists this summer. Lizzo might not know it yet, but ballet dancers are not known for shying away from a challenge. In the past two days, the internet has exploded with responses, with dancers like Houston Ballet's Harper Watters and American Ballet Theatre's Erica Lall tagging the singer in submissions.

Below are a few of our favorites so far, but we're guessing that this is just the beginning. Ballet world, consider yourselves officially challenged! (Use #LizzoBalletChallenge so we know what you're up to.)

Keep reading... Show less