This blog will tell you about my project to raise funds to provide the ProDanza Ballet Academy in Havana, Cuba with ballet gear and other necessary equipment to keep this vibrant school healthy and safe for all of its students.
The Center ProDanza of Cuba was established on December 30 of 1994 under the direction of the Grand Maitre de Ballet Laura Alonso, derived from the Department of Specialized Teaching Ballet Nacional de Cuba, in which they had created the basis for promoting technical Cuban Ballet School.
The center is located in an old country house known as the home fifth in the figures, located on Avenida 51 Esquina a 118, No. 11805, Mariano, La Habana, Cuba. The building is grand, but in need of much repair. The students are eager and hard-working, but in need of ballet clothing. Currently, there is no place in Cuba to buy ballet clothing, so it is imported in the suitcases of travelers, such as myself.
Although the environment is modest, this institution has contributed to the formation of classical dance talents, now recognized figures in various international companies such as José Manuel Carreño, principal dancer ofAmerican Ballet Theatre, Xiomara Reyes, prima ballerina of American Ballet Theatre, Arionel Vargas, solo Royal Winnipeg Ballet of Canada, Yat-Sen Chang, first dancer of the British National Ballet, among others.
I first traveled to Havana in March, 2015 as a student in the Peter Turney photography workshop. We visited ProDanza one afternoon, and I was completed charmed by the students, who were so warm to us, and so dedicated to learning classical ballet. As a photographer, I couldn’t help but notice the dilapidated condition of their tights and shoes.
Upon returning to Virginia, I had the idea to do what I could to raise money for new clothing, and set up an Indiegogo site. I also made plans to return in November, 2015 to deliver clothing. Many friends, relatives and colleagues donated generously to this project, so I was able to take a large collection to the school and personally deliver to Laura Alonso.
In addition, Capezio generously donated clothing for 50 male students, which we had delivered later.
A few months ago I managed to get the school a large screen TV for them to watch themselves performing. Malia Everette and Cicely Sanchez, of AltruVistas were kind enough to help purchase it and deliver it to the school.
We are going back to Havana June 15th and will be delivering more clothing, etc. Some of my regular travelers will be along, including Peg McCarty, Nancy Moon and Francesca Scott. They are such good support!
If you’d like to donate, please click on the Donate button, and the payment will be processed through PayPal.
Thank you for your donation!