Yonah Acosta in Sin La Habana, Courtesy Miami Film Festival

The Miami Film Festival Is Streaming 2 Films Spotlighting Cuban Ballet Dancers, Including Yonah Acosta

Many ballet companies are sharing digital productions these days, but if you want to get your ballet fix on the silver screen, the Miami Film Festival has something for you—and you don't have to fly to Miami to see it! Two ballet-centric films, the drama Sin La Habana (Without Havana) and documentary Cuban Dancer, will be featured in theaters and virtually at the 38th annual Miami Film Festival, running March 5 to 14.

The premiere of Sin La Habana, directed by Kaveh Nabatian, stars Bayerisches Staatsballett principal Yonah Acosta. Acosta plays Leonardo, a classical dancer, who is in love with Sara, a lawyer. They have big dreams together, all of which are thwarted by Cuba's closed borders. They realize their ticket to a brighter future could be with Nasim, a Canadian tourist who is struggling with her own demons, and a love triangle ensues. (Note: This film may not be appropriate for younger viewers.) The film is available with English subtitles and features Acosta's impressive ballet technique in several dance scenes. Sin La Habana will play in Miami on Sunday, March 7, at 2:30 pm ET and virtually on Monday, March 8, at 12 pm ET.

Cuban Dancer is a documentary which chronicles the journey of a young student from the National Ballet School of Cuba, Alexis Valdes, as he moves from his comfortable life in Cuba to a radically new world in Florida. Directed by Roberto Salinas, Cuban Dancer showcases how Valdes, now an apprentice with the San Francisco Ballet, navigates the world of American ballet while trying to stay faithful to his roots. The film runs on Thursday, March 11, at 7 pm ET in Miami, and Friday, March 12, at 12 pm ET virtually.

Also of note for Miami locals: Aburo, a 17-minute short film that follows the tensions between an aspiring Cuban ballet dancer and his thieving twin brother, and the French drama Simple Passion, starring Ukrainian-born dancer Sergei Polunin as a Russian diplomat (it does not feature any ballet). Both films are only being shown in theaters.

Tickets for the virtual screenings of Sin La Habana and Cuban Dancer are only available to viewers in the U.S. and can be purchased for $13. (The films can be viewed for 48 hours after release.)

Sin La Habana highlights the best of Cuban dancing with Acosta, himself a graduate of the National Ballet of Cuba and nephew of ballet star Carlos Acosta. And with Cuban Dancer, ballet fans can witness how the future of Cuban ballet will continue to shine brightly.

Latest Posts

Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

An Infectious-Disease Physician on What Vaccines Mean for Ballet

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its second year, the toll on ballet companies—and dancers—has been steep. How long before dancers can rehearse and perform as they once did?

Like most things, the return to normal for ballet seems to hinge on vaccinations. Just over 22 percent of people in the U.S. are now vaccinated, a way from the estimated 70 to 85 percent experts believe can bring back something similar to pre-pandemic life.

But what would it mean for 100 percent of a ballet company to be vaccinated? Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini is about to find out—and hopes it brings the return of big ballets on the big stage.

"I don't think companies like ours can survive doing work for eight dancers in masks," Angelini says. "If we want to work, dance, and be in front of an audience consistently and with the large works that pay the bills, immunization is the only road that leads there."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks