In the U.S., ballet companies have to jump through strict hoops to dance Balanchine. In Cuba, as the New York Times reports from the Havanna International Festival of Ballet, the Nacional just copies the steps from pirated videos:

?Only one of the seven pieces performed this week is currently licensed by the George Balanchine Foundation. Two have expired licenses, and the rest were copied from videotapes.

The debate over the authenticity of these productions has emerged at a festival already hurt by the United States government’s restrictions on travel to Cuba. Nine dancers from the New York City Ballet and one from the Dance Theater of Harlem were barred from attending, making this the first time in 30 years that an American has not performed at the festival.?

Several readers on Ballet Alert! have pointed out errors?which I haven?t double-checked myself?but I do know ballets are licensed by the Balanchine Trust, rather than the Foundation. Still, it?s an interesting story, and you have to wonder what Balanchine himself would have thought of the Nacional?s defense, as articulated by the company historian:

? “Here it is considered that Balanchine’s work belongs to humanity. These economic rules civilization has imposed against the spiritual enrichment of human beings, I am 100 percent against.” ?

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