Artes de Cuba Festival Comes to the Kennedy Center

Artes de Cuba Festival Comes to the Kennedy CenterJohn Rowe's photographs provide a preview of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba's performances in the upcoming 'Artes de Cuba Festival' at the Kennedy Center, Washington DC: "Don Quixote" May 29 & 30; "Giselle" May 31-June 3 2018.

Forty years ago, September 11, 1977, "THE BIG STORY", according to Washington Post dance critic Alan M. Kriegsman, was the upcoming appearance of Alicia Alonso, ballerina, then aged 56, dancing "Giselle" with the BNC (Ballet Nacional de Cuba) at the Kennedy Center Opera House in May 1978. Said Kriegsman, "This promises to be a quintessential Washington-style event, generating equal attention on both diplomatic and artistic sides - the company will be making its U.S. debut here, thus becoming the first major cultural export from Cuba since the advent of the recent political thaw."

The BNC is returning to the Kennedy Center in May 2018 for performances of "Giselle" and "Don Quixote". The ballets are the grand finale of the "Artes de Cuba Festival," and the conclusion of the BNC's visit to the USA. Prior to the Kennedy Center, the BNC will perform "Don Quixote" in Chicago, IL at the Auditorium Theater and "Giselle" in Tampa, FL at the Straz Center.

John Rowe, award winning photographer and filmmaker, was drawn to Cuba more than 14 years ago by its visually rich and engaging culture. Rowe was one of the first American photographers to visit Cuba after the relationship between the two countries was normalized under President Obama. Rowe transports you through his camera lens to Havana, as it is now and was during the Cuban thaw of 2016. A close and ongoing collaboration evolved between Rowe and two of Cuba's foremost artistic entities: the internationally acclaimed BNC, which embraced Rowe as their preferred photographer; and visual artist Manuel Mendive. Rowe's unprecedented access to the BNC dancers offers a glimpse of rehearsals and performances of the two ballet productions, "Giselle" and "Don Quixote", to be seen at the Kennedy Center in May. Rowe was honored with an exhibition of his ballet images at the Gran Teatro, Havana in 2016. He has been commissioned to mount a second exhibition featuring scenes of the life behind the scenes of the corps de ballet, scheduled for October 2018 at the Gran Teatro, in conjunction with the 70th anniversary celebration and the 'Festival Internacional de Ballet de la Havana'.

Rowe also forged a close relationship with Manuel Mendive, the most important Cuban visual artist living today. Six of Mendive's sculptures will be an integral part of the Kennedy the 'Artes de Cuba' festival at the Kennedy Center. In addition, Rowe and Mendive will be collaborating for an upcoming exhibition the Bronx Museum, Manuel Mendive: Nature, Spirit, and Body, scheduled to open in July 2018, Rowe's photography will appear with paintings and sculptures by Mendive.

John Rowe, photographer, documentary filmmaker and philanthropist, was drawn to Cuba with its visually rich and engaging culture over fourteen years ago. Rowe transports you through his lens to the Havana of today with his CUBA NOW work, bearing witness to the Cuban thaw of 2016. Rowe's photos captured an historic 2016 visit by President Obama, the memorials to Fidel, Cuba's National Boxing Team in training, the Rolling Stones' Havana Moon concert and the form and grace of Cuba's own, Prima Ballerina, Viegnsay Valdés and the BNC.

Rowe is an Honorary Professor for audio visual arts and guest lecturer at ISA, The Fine Arts University in Havana. An exhibition of Rowe's images of the BNC, was featured in 2016 at the Gran Teatro during the '25th Festival Internacional de Ballet .' In 2017, the Fábrica de Arte Cubano, a visual and performing arts center in Havana, opened a landmark exhibition of Rowe's Rolling Stones Havana Moon concert photographs.

Rowe has been commissioned to mount a second exhibition featuring scenes of the life behind the scenes of the corps de ballet, scheduled for October 2018 at the Gran Teatro, in conjunction with the BNC's 70th anniversary celebration and the '26th Festival Internacional de Ballet de la Havana'.

In July 2018, Rowe's photography will be intermixed with the work of Cuba's most renowned artist Manuel Mendive at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York's upcoming exhibition, Manuel Mendive: Nature, Spirit and Body.

National Geographic, NBC News, CNN, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, L'Oeil de la Photographie, The Explorers Journal and others have published Rowe's work. Images of his work on Africa and Antarctica were included in the 125th Anniversary of National Geographic Photography and the Power of Photography exhibition at the Annenberg Space in Los Angeles, California. Rowe's work on Africa includes his photography book Omo Valley (released in 2017), and the award-winning documentary film Omo Child: The River and the Bush which has been featured on PBS. The Explorers Club honored Rowe with the esteemed Lowell Thomas Award. Rowe has also taught and mentored emerging photographers as part of the faculty at the prestigious annual Eddie Adams Workshop.

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