Page last updated at 10:26 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010

Dancers from Russia's Bolshoi ballet perform in Cuba

Anna Antonicheva and Dimitri Belogolovtsev of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet perform at Karl Marx theater in Havana.
Six Russian dancers and seven from Cuba took part in the gala show

Russia's Bolshoi ballet has performed in Cuba for the first time in three decades.

Dancers from the prestigious company joined the Cuban National Ballet on stage at Karl Marx Theatre in Havana.

Six Bolshoi dancers performed classic numbers from ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle and Carmen during the gala.

"We are all very happy because there is nothing more beautiful for a country than the union of artists," said Cuban National Ballet director Alicia Alonso.

"This is the beginning of a good friendship," the 89-year-old grande dame of Cuban ballet added.


An audience of 5,000 watched Russian dancers Elena Andrienko, Ruslan Skvorsto, Ana Antonicheva and Dimitri Belogolovstsev take to the stage.

It was the first time the Bolshoi have performed in Cuba since 1980 amid improving relationships between the two countries.

The performance was part of festivities surrounding Havana's annual international book fair, which is sponsored this year by Russia.

More than 200 Russian intellectuals, government officials, writers and artists have travelled to Cuba, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

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