Representing Palm Beach County and the United States, our Ballet Ambassadors went to Cuba on June 14- June 20th as a part of our annual international outreach. The dancers traveled throughout the country and performed in nursing homes, churches, and theaters.
Here’s the play by play of the adventure as relayed by Danielle Glynn, Ballet Palm Beach company dancer and one of the 10 ambassadors.
Day 1: We arrived in Havana in the evening and explored the Old Town before heading to the church-owned hostel.
Day 2: For our first show, we performed at the Salvation Army nursing home. Very depressing conditions there. The roof was metal and needed repair, so when it started to rain mid-performance-it rained inside as well. It was also so loud, we could barely hear the music! But, as they say, the show must go on! I think our audience really enjoyed it.
Day 3: We went to a church-supported nursing home in Havana for a morning performance. We visited the ocean before heading to our next venue. This was a church that was just build this year. That church had partnered with nearby churches to bus children and families in as a part of Vacation Bible School. It was a very lively crowd- they even gave us a standing ovation. Afterwards we met with the congregation, and they prayed with us. It was a touching moment. They were such sweet people!
Day 4-5: We were up early for our performance in a small theater in Havana. Then, we traveled about 2 hours to our next venue- a theater in Pinar del Rio. For that performance, we performed as a part of a mixed bill put on by the local community members. We left the theater at midnight and took an overnight bus-ride to Veradero. We were scheduled to perform at the church there that morning, but the church had flooded. They postponed the show, so we were able to get in some rest as well as explore the local hangout with Dopico and our hosts from the Cuban Council of Churches. They showed us a cute flea market and led us in some salsa dancing!
Day 6: We traveled from Veradero to Havana and were able to explore more of the historical sights of Havana and meet the locals.
Day 7: Left early in the morning for our flight back to Florida.
Although our goal was to inspire others, we returned home feeling inspired ourselves by the appreciation and generosity of the Cuban community!