Cuban Prima Ballerina Viengsay Valdes is representing her home country at the international 15th World Ballet Festival of Tokyo (WBF).
Japan introduced the triennial event in 1976, inviting the world's most talented performers to share in a fortnight of dance exhibitions from around the globe. Both traditional and modern dance shine during the competitions, which began this year on July 27 and will come to a close on August 18.
"The artistic level here is very high and its effects have been exciting: I danced Muñecos, a beloved Cuban piece by the choreographer Alberto Méndez," Valdes said of the dance which won the Choreography Prize during the second International Ballet Competition in Tokyo in 1978.
"I have not done it in a long time and returning to this piece gave me freshness. I also had the pleasure and honor to work the details with Mendez in Havana, and later realize them here with my partner, Brazilian Daniel Camargo, principal dancer of the Danish National Ballet."
Among this year's performers are Maria Alexandrova, Alicia Amatriain, Leonid Sarafanov, Alina Cojocaru, Alessandra Ferri, Marcelo Gomes, Dorothée Gilbert, Mathieu Ganio, Roberto Bolle, Maria Kochetkova, Daniil Simkin, David Hallberg, Tamara Rojo, Isaac Hernández, Polina Semionova and Friedemann Vogel.
"I like being fascinated behind the scenes, it is a pleasure to admire them and share the stage with all of them," Valdes said.
This will be her third time at the Tokyo Bunka Kainkan Theater. Last year, the Cuban ballerina joined some of Paris' most gifted artists on stage with Le Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal Company.
After Tokyo, Valdes says she will return home to prepare for Havana's own International Ballet Festival, which will take place from October 28 to November 6.