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Verb Ballets travels to Cuba to join ProDanza

By February 17, 2018No Comments

CLEVELAND, OH – Verb Ballets of Cleveland, Ohio prepares to travel to Cuba on March 3, 2018 to join forces with ProDanza of Havana in an international collaboration to form the Cleveland Havana Ballet.  The Cleveland Havana Ballet will debut in Cuba with a groundbreaking partnership supported through the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion initiative. This significant cultural collaboration will encompass performances in Havana, Cuba by the combined companies in March led by Verb Ballets’ Producing Artistic Director, Dr. Margaret Carlson and ProDanza under the direction Laura Alonso.

Verb Ballets welcomes renowned Cuban dancer, Laura Alonso to the Cleveland studio February 19 – March 2, 2018 to set the ballet Yarini. The daughter of legendary ballet royalty Alicia Alonso, Laura Alonso is herself an award-winning ballet teacher with a 25-year career performing with Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Presented as The Cleveland Havana Ballet, the two companies will perform the full length classical ballet, Yarini running March 9-11, 2018 in Alicia Alonso Grand Theater in Havana. The ballet is by international dancer and choreographer, Iván Alonso, the son of Laura Alonso. Yarini is based on a historical hero who reached mythical proportions within popular Cuban culture and imagination. The ballet highlights passion, power and struggles for freedoms that are the essence of the Cuban spirit.

Verb Ballets’ international tour will end with a shared repertory program with ProDanza running March 16-18, 2018 in the National Theater in Havana. This show will highlight the unique styles of American and Cuban ballet. “We believe this is the first time in history a Cuban and American ballet company have performed together,” said Dr. Carlson, Producing Artistic Director of Verb Ballets. “To be able to perform on stage with some of the best dancers in the world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our company.”

This is the second year of the cultural exchange with Alonso through the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion: Cuba Edition. Last year Alonso came to Cleveland, Ohio for two months to train Verb Ballets dancers in the Cuban ballet method. Verb Ballets is honored to collaborate with Alonso’s ProDanza in this groundbreaking partnership.

All dates are subject to change.  Photos or interviews available upon request by contacting  
Jennifer Garlando, Director of Marketing & PR at  


March 9-11, 2018
The Alicia Alonso Grand Theater of Havana
Havana, Cuba

March 16-18, 2018
The National Theatre
Havana, Cuba

About Verb Ballets  
Verb Ballets, a contemporary ballet company, presents dynamic programming through bold artistry, unique styles and technical excellence that captivates a broad audience. Under the direction of Dr. Margaret Carlson, Producing Artistic Director and Richard Dickinson, MFA, Associate Director, the company will present a season that ignites passion in the energy, beauty and athleticism of dance. Critics have hailed Verb Ballets as, “Dashes preconceptions …with keen dramatic power.” -The Plain Dealer, “(Verb) is dance magnifique.” – The Examiner, “confident and polished, Verb’s dancers shone” – Dance International Magazine. Verb Ballets cultivates dance appreciation and nurtures wellness through movement in community dance classes, school residencies, senior outreach, library programs, master classes and college course partnerships. Verb Ballets has also been named one of Five Great Tiny Troupes in America by Dance Magazine and was one of the 25 dance companies in America to watch. In 2017 Verb Ballets begins a year long celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the company. As one of the oldest dance organizations in Cleveland we are proud to produce high caliber work and continue to connect with communities across a four county reach. Additional information can be found at

Verb Ballets 3445 Warrensville Center Rd. Shaker Heights, OH 44122 • 216-397-3757 •
Facebook  •  Twitter  • Instagram •  YouTube @verbballets

About ProDanza 
Centro de Promoción de la Danza, better known as Pro Danza, is a world-renown center for the study and performance of dance located in Havana, Cuba. Since its founding in 1988, the center has been under the direction of revered ballet dancer and teacher Laura Alonso, the daughter of famous Cuban ballet dancers Alicia and Fernando Alonso. Training is based on the methodology and technique of the Cuban School of Ballet, which began in the 1930s as a distinctive and highly respected approach derived from older European and American methods. Pro Danza consistently produces dancers for major companies around the world. Pro Danza companies perform around the globe but, as a big part of the center’s mission is to foster the love of dance in the Cuban people, performances are staged regularly across the island.

Iván Alonso, Choreographer 
He began his studies in Classical Dance in 1967 at the National School of Art (ENA), where he graduated in 1975 as a teacher dancer. From there he joined the National Ballet of Cuba reaching the soloist level. He was part of the Young Guard of which he is founder. In 1998 he was awarded the main teaching category of Adjunct Assistant of the Higher Institute of Art. He was appointed choreographer by the Evaluation Committee whose president is Alicia Alonso. He currently serves as Ballet Master and Choreographer of the Center for the Promotion of Dance.

Laura Alonso, Director of ProDanza
Laura Alonso, daughter of world famous ballerina Alicia Alonso and renowned teacher and coach Fernando Alonso, is herself known as a teacher, coach and an expert at staging the well-known classics. For seven years she served as the personal coach and teacher for international prima ballerina assoluta, Alicia Alonso. Dance Theatre of Harlem artistic director, former prima ballerina and former editor of Pointe magazine, Virginia Johnson, calls her an, “international master teacher extrordinare.”

Ms. Alonso’s 25 year performing career with Ballet National de Cuba included soloist work in all of the traditional classics. Today she travels around the world teaching and staging the classics for pre-professional as well as professional companies such as London’s Royal Ballet School and The Royal Danish Ballet. Although born in the United States, Alonso is a resident of Havana where she has an international dance school, Centro Pro Danza, which welcomes 1,500 students, and a professional performing company, The Ballet Classic of Havana.

A teacher of world-class experience, Ms. Alonso has taught for professional ballet companies all over the world including Cuban National Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Australian Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Tokyo Ballet, the Toronto Ballet, the Alberta Ballet. She was a member of the faculty at the Regional Dance America’s National Festival in 1997 as well as at the RDA/NE Festival 1998 and the RDA/SE 1999. For seven years, she served as the personal coach for international ballerina Alicia Alonso.

Ms. Alonso was honored with an award as the best coach at the Jackson International Ballet Competition in 1990. Her student, Jose Manuel Carreno, won the Grand Prix de Ville, the highest award possible. Ms. Alonso has served as coach, jury member and teacher at the Jackson IBC and as jury member of the Concours International de Dance de Paris, France, the Alicia Alonso International Ballet Competition and other competitions around the world.
Along with her expertise in working with professionals and aspiring professionals, Ms. Alonso is extremely gifted at working with young dancers of all ages and experiences. She is willing to instruct anyone who wants to learn and has transformed students in just a few classes. Alonso’s mission is to bring the highest quality dance to students everywhere.